Russian President Vladimir Putin made a desperate move on Wednesday, calling up 300,000 reservists and enacting draconian laws for members of the military. And by all accounts, it did not have the desired effect and may actually be backfiring on him.
With the war in Ukraine going badly for Russia’s military, Putin tried to evoke nationalism among the Russian people, similar to what Stalin did in World War II, now painting a picture of his “special military operation” as one of an existential threat against Russia’s motherland. Long gone are the calls for de-Nazifying and demilitarizing Ukraine. His ploy has seemed to fail.
Ordinary Russians weren’t buying his message that Russia was being attacked by the West. Russian men of military age began voting with their feet to his call to defend the motherland. One-way tickets for flights out of Russia were quickly sold out, sending the cost of a ticket skyrocketing out of control, with tickets to Dubai rising to $5,000 and later to over $9,100.
Worse still, protests against the war and the reserve call-ups erupted in 38 Russian cities, resulting in nearly 1,500 detentions. One monitoring group, OVD-Info, said that many of those detained were served with a notice to appear for conscription.
Low Morale Among Military Reaches Critical Point
Putin conducted the first callup of reserves since World War II, and Russian lawmakers enacted new laws determining that “voluntary surrender” would become a crime for Russian military personnel, punishable by 10 years in prison.
As part of the new laws, additions were made concerning mutiny, “using violence against a superior,” and stealing while in uniform. It paints a picture of a military that is in a crisis situation both in the field and within the ranks, as morale plummets.
Valery Gerasimov, the Russian Chief of the General Staff, had supposedly modernized the Russian Army to become what would be equal to that of the West. But the plan to invade Ukraine was rife with overconfidence and flat-out blunders. The training and professionalism of the revamped Russian military NCO corps were vastly overrated. The top-down leadership of the Russians, in place since the earliest days of the Soviet Union, was an albatross for junior leaders and tactical units.
Troops weren’t properly trained, equipped, or led. Most of the Russian troops who invaded Ukraine were told that the Ukrainian people would welcome them with open arms. They invaded with an army of 200,000 troops, which is no small number. But the Ukrainians have been preparing for an invasion for some time. They had the advantage of knowing the terrain, the people, and the likely areas to defend. In the opening hours of the war, the Russian attack on the Hostomel Airfield was a disaster. Several aircraft carrying Russian paratroopers were shot out of the sky before they could allow the airborne forces to deploy. The air assault attack with helicopters fared badly as well.
Russia’s “modernization” did not address the needs of a military that is practically incapable of supporting an invasion logistically. But as Russia’s doctrine spells out, attacks against civilian infrastructure have been ongoing since the beginning of hostilities. In a ludicrous lie, Moscow has constantly stated that the Russian military does not attack civilian targets, and yet this strategy is clearly written in its doctrine.
Putin’s Allies Are Growing Impatient
Much was made of Putin playing the waiting game for the West to lose its will to continue with support for Ukraine. But at this point, the West’s support has been resolute with continued shipments of weapons, supplies, and intelligence pouring into the embattled nation.
But now, it isn’t the West who is suffering from “Ukraine Fatigue” but Putin’s allies. China and India are growing impatient because the economic sanctions levied against Russia are also affecting them.
At a recent summit meeting in Uzbekistan, Putin was rebuked by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who told him that “today’s era is not an era of war.” Putin admitted that Chinese leader Xi Jinping had “questions and concerns” as the sanctions were hurting the faltering Chinese economy.
Perhaps the biggest rebuke came from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Turkish and Russian leaders have had a “complicated relationship” (as many Facebook users will recognize). They’ve had close cooperation on some issues and very contentious issues on others.
Erdogan said to PBS after the summit meeting that he urged Putin to end the war and return all occupied areas to Ukraine.
“The lands which were invaded will be returned to Ukraine.” He added that those lands should include Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014. Crimea was incorporated into Russia after a sham referendum, much like the ones he’s preparing to conduct now.
Putin’s war in Ukraine is failing, and his bluster in his comments hides the fact that he’s being increasingly backed into a corner with no place to go.
Expert Biography: Steve Balestrieri is a 1945 National Security Columnist. A proven military analyst, he served as a US Army Special Forces NCO and Warrant Officer in the 7th Special Forces Group. In addition to writing for 19fortyfive.com and other military news organizations, he has covered the NFL for PatsFans.com for over 11 years. His work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.
Dr. Scooter Van Neuter
September 22, 2022 at 2:53 pm
Putin has sealed his legacy forever with this ill-fated, ill-conceived military, logistical, and political disaster of biblical proportions. Good.
September 23, 2022 at 5:39 am
breaking Russia up into 1000 pieces is necessary for the world peace
we need to kick Russia into the stone age once and for all
they have been doing this s..t for 70 years
enough is enough
September 23, 2022 at 9:22 am
All the little Socialist hebrew hivemind still want Russia to fail and to keep their criminal slush fund state Ukraine going. If you really think Putin will fail and that Crimea will be taken you are so delusional that it is beyond mental illness.
September 23, 2022 at 9:59 am
Putin’s failures on the battlefield have backed him deeply into a corner. His vision for a renewed Russian Empire are faltering and that is a scary thing for the west. It is my sincerest hope his recent rhetoric does not lead to an escalation which potentially can include the deployment of tactical nuclear munitions.
~ De Opresso Liber
September 23, 2022 at 10:33 am
Dag: welcome to reality. Russia is a pariah state and will be for generations to come. Until you are no more than a Chinese province, at least.
September 23, 2022 at 10:42 am
“Putin’s Allies Are Growing Impatient”…
Russia has chosen its allies badly: a country that depends on what it sells to the West and another that is only part of the third world with a large population and some large companies that extract and process raw materials.
That none of them have been willing to give it what it needs to stay in Ukraine is demonstrated by the fact that russians are acquiring military equipment from, wait… north korea!!!
September 23, 2022 at 11:55 am
It’s really amazing how people writing on this blog are so completely detached from objective reality… Comment section is delusional as well…
September 23, 2022 at 2:03 pm
Russia must return all seized lands to Ukraine, including Crimea…and pay reparations for the damage they have caused.
Russia must be punished for their illegal aggression, and that will be the price of allowing them out of this war they have started.
Otherwise, the west should begin supplying Ukraine with missiles than can hit targets deep inside Russia, and begin consideration of returning Ukraine’s nuclear arsenal…which they voluntarily gave up in return for assurances of protection from the west AND Russia.
Now Russia is threatening to use those nukes against them. If Russia threatens to use nukes, they need to know it will come at a horrific cost and Ukraine has a right to defend themselves, against both conventional, and nuclear attacks.
Russia needs to know it can still extricate itself from this war, but the price tag will increase as time passes.
September 23, 2022 at 8:05 pm
Dag calls out the “Socialist hebrew hivemind”… and somehow this type of blatant ethnic slur at Jews made it past the moderator on 1945? Will 1945 be allowing the ‘N’ word next?
Not sure if it’s more shocking how long it took for a Putin apologist to reach into their blame the Jews bag of cheap tricks to excuse Putin’s fascist failings, or that 1945 actually allows it.
Face, meet Palm.
September 23, 2022 at 8:35 pm
Enlighten us with your wisdom, Al Bundy….
September 24, 2022 at 3:28 am
Is this supposed to be a serious site, or comedy? Ukraine, and NATO have had 0% of sucsess since day 1. I come on here from bongino, and can`t believe the bullshit this site reports, and I have family in Ukraine!