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Putin Has a Problem: His Plan To Make Russia’s Military Strong Looks Doomed

Russian T-90 Tank
Russian T-90 Tank. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

After almost a year of defeats in Ukraine, the Russian military is changing.

Or at least that is what its leaders are trying to achieve

Recent statements by the top echelons of the Kremlin reveal that the Russian military might be getting hundreds of thousands of troops as well as a new structure in the upcoming months and years. 

Restructuring the Russian Military 

Last week, Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu announced plans to revamp the structure of the Russian military

The Kremlin plans to increase to 1.5 million personnel, which would amount to approximately 500,000 more troops across all branches of the Russian military.

Moreover, Shoigu announced the establishment of a new army corps in Karelia, near the Finnish border, as well as the re-establishment of the Moscow and Leningrad military districts, partially returning the Soviet Union structure.  

“Shoigu’s plans signal that the Russian leadership highly likely assesses that an enhanced conventional military threat will endure for many years beyond the current Ukraine war.

However, Russia will highly likely struggle to staff and equip the planned expansion,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.

According to the Kremlin’s timeline, the major structural changes will begin this year and will be completed by 2026.

This timeline, however, is suspect because of the ongoing hostilities in Ukraine, which require the full attention and resources of the Russian military.

A few days before Shoigu’s announcement, Andrey Kartapolov, the head of the Russian State Duma Defense Committee, indicated that Russia would stretch the upper age of military conscription from 27 to 30, starting from the upcoming spring draft. Thus far, conscripts have been officially excluded from active combat in Ukraine, though in several instances, that restriction has been violated. 

“Last year, President Putin said he supported such a move, and Russian officials are likely sounding out public reactions. There is a realistic possibility that Russian leaders hope a change of age criteria for routine conscription could bolster personnel available to fight in Ukraine while appear less alarming to the population than announcing another round of the unpopular ‘partial mobilisation’ process,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.

Russia Will Have Difficulties Thanks to Ukraine War

The Kremlin’s plans for enlarging the Russian military are likely to encounter practical difficulties.

The war isn’t going for Moscow, and more than 120,000 Russian soldiers and mercenaries have been killed or wounded on the ground.

Morale is abysmal, and the war is becoming increasingly unpopular in Russia. These factors make it harder for the Russian military to attract new troops. And history isn’t on the Kremlin’s side. 

Speaking to reporters in Germany, U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley estimated that during the partial mobilization of the reserves, the Russian military was able to activate up 250,000 troops, missing its target by at least 50,000 men.

When Russian President Vladimir Putin declared partial mobilization back in September, there was a mass exodus of fighting-age Russian males from the country.

Reports indicated that between 300,000 and one million men fled Russia in an attempt to evade this or any future mobilizations. 

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Expert Biography: A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. 

1945’s Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist with specialized expertise in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.



  1. Serhio

    January 23, 2023 at 3:02 am

    “After almost a year of defeats in Ukraine, the Russian military is changing.”

    Poor, poor Russians. A whole year of defeats. Surprisingly, they still control 1/5 of the former Ukraine. It is surprising that Russia has mobilized only 300,000 soldiers to help the initial forces, while Ukraine has already carried out 6 or 7 waves of mobilization. Where are all these warriors? They were killed by the defeated Russians. The author is an unscrupulous liar and propagandist.

  2. Fred T Adams

    January 23, 2023 at 1:21 pm

    It sounds like Serhio applauds the murderous and inexcusable depredations of the Russians in Ukraine. Who would do that?

    One wonders why the Russians reinforce their border with Finland. Only the stupid would fail to recognize the lessons of the Winter War, so I’m not thinking Russia intends to expand its problems by attacking Finland. Their move must be defensive. But only fools would worry about Finland attacking Russia.

    Unless, like everywhere else, those “Russians” just across the border from Finland have had enough of an unfree life under the Iron Heel of Mother Russia. In which case, Russia may legitimately worry that their border krais to the northwest are inherently insecure because these people, like the Ukraine, like Poland, Czecho, SLovakia, Hungary, Moldova, like the North Caucasus countries, like Georgia do not want to be under the essentially criminal Russian yoke, and are awaiting a momentary Russian weakness to seek freedom. The bolstering of Russia’s Finnish border troops is likely aimed at suppressing future freedom movements in the Russian krais, not Finland.

    Russia is reaping the wage of 500 years worth of aggression and conquest of its neighbors. Pan-Slavism notwithstanding, Muscovy has created a massive backlog of resentment by oppressing and controlling its neighbors. The present-day Russian boundaries may not be sustainable due to Russia’s tendency to nail down their feet rather than to win their hearts.

    I hope for the day that Russians can peacefully co-exist with their near neighbors. That could bring peace and prosperity to all of them, instead of the armed conflict that Russia has given us today.

  3. Serhio

    January 24, 2023 at 2:59 am

    Fred T Adams
    “It sounds like Serhio applauds the murderous and inexcusable depredations of the Russians in Ukraine. Who would do that?”

    Applauding murder is stupid. No matter who gets killed: Ukrainians, Russians, Iraqis, Syrians, Libyans and many others. However, propaganda is pouring from all pages at us: “Ukrainians are winning!!”, “Putin is huddled in a corner and crying!!”, “We need to give Ukrainians as many weapons as possible so that they kill more Russians!!”. In fact, everything is exactly the opposite. They lie to us every day.

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