Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Smart Bombs: Military, Defense and National Security

Putin’s Next Giant Ukraine Problem: ‘Fragile Morale’

HIMARS in Ukraine. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
HIMARS. This is similar to what is being used in Ukraine.

British Defense Officials Describe “Fragile” Morale Among Russian Soldiers in Ukraine: An intelligence update shared by the British Ministry of Defence on Sunday offered an insight into the state of Russian soldiers’ morale, describing how the Russian government has established brigades specifically tasked with boosting morale among soldiers in Ukraine. 

“On 14 December, 2022, the Russian Ministry of Defence announced the establishment of two ‘front line creative brigades’ tasked with raising the morale of troops deployed on the ‘special military operation,’” the update reads

The claim follows reports from Russian media that actors, circus performers, and opera singers are expected to be deployed to Russian bases in Ukraine with a view to entertaining troops during the winter.

Russia’s Defense Ministry pioneered the idea after first announcing a campaign for musical instruments to be donated to Russian soldiers.

British defense officials noted that organized entertainment for troops is common in many countries and has a “long history,” but that in Russia, the idea is “strongly intertwined with the Soviet-era concept of ideological political education.”

Will It Work?

Unless entertainers arrive with more advanced missiles and weapons, winter gear, and food, the chances of entertainment significantly boosting morale among Russian soldiers seem slim.

Facing a tough winter ahead, and with a shortage in basic military supplies still plaguing Russian bases across Ukraine, entertainment may only provide a temporary distraction for the soldiers.

The British intelligence update also reflected this, noting that most soldiers’ primary concerns relate to the “very high casualty rates, poor leadership, pay problems, lack of equipment and ammunition, and lack of clarity about the war’s objectives.”

Continued Munition Shortages And More

According to the Institute for the Study of War, Russian forces are still focusing heavily on conducting defensive measures in Ukraine, largely as a result of munition shortages.

The think tank described how Russian troops are building new fortifications in territories still under their control, as well as moving personnel on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast. 

The large-scale withdrawal of Russian troops from the west bank of the river in November has proven a significant advantage for Ukrainian forces, allowing them to strike launch missiles further into Russian territory, though the withdrawal appears to have been tactically necessary for the Russians.

Forced to retreat and struggling to obtain new advanced missile systems and munitions, Russian forces are now also struggling to maintain key logistics routes, Russian troops are likely so overwhelmed that entertainment will only do so much.

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor.

Written By

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive's Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.