Why Russian army is so weak?

When Russia invaded, experts thought it'd win in 24-72 hours. Two weeks later the war's still going. How come? On paper Russian superiority's overwhelming

Although Russia projects warlike image, its military r weak and don't know how to fight wars🧵
Notwithstanding with its warlike image, boosted by massive PR campaign, Russian military have nearly zero experience of fighting conventional wars against other regular armies. They were quite successful in suppressing civilian riots ofc, in Hungary 1956, Czechoslovakia 1968, etc
Russians were less successful in suppressing guerrilla movements in Afghanistan and Chechnya. Guerillas didn't much heavy weaponry, didn't have proper air defence. And yet, Russians suffered high casualties and lost the First Chechen War, despite overwhelming material superiority
Since WWII Russia never fought a conventional war against a regular army. The only exception was Georgia 2008. Russia invaded to support separatist movements in Abkhazia and South Ossetia and defeated tiny Georgian army. That was the closest Russia had to a real war in last 70 y.
Individual Russian military specialists fought in Korea, Vietnam, Angola etc. But army as a whole did not. Russian military machine, from recruitment to logistics, hasn't been checked in a war against a large regular army since 1945. That's the first experiment we're having now
Since 1945 Russian army fought against enemies neither of which had a regular army of its own. Enemies of Russia had no structure, little training, tiny firepower. To compensate this, Russia heavily invests in propaganda glorifying its military. But what do they really look like?
December 2021. Thieves-in-law imposed tribute on a Russian military base, making NCOs & officers to pay them cash. They specifically target veterans of Syria who earned cash there. They harass, threaten, beat them. Leader of the gang was arrested but released in several months
That's not an exception. That's a rule. Russian military is constantly harassed by thieves and forced to pay money. Just four random headlines on how thieves force literally any military including the ones managing the nuclear rockets to pay them tribute. Russian army is a prey
Let's introduce some sociological context. Russian thieves traditionally portray themselves as the counterculture, the rebels. We don't care about the official law (Law of Cops), we follow only the Law of Thieves. We constitute a parallel state much superior to the official one
Thieves dominate in prisons. Their propaganda is working so well, that many naive prisoners really view thieves as rebels. But then they start doubting the narrative. They wonder, what if thieves play rebels but in reality are actively collaborating with prison administration?
If prisoners refuse to work and try to sabotage the production, thieves will plead, persuade, threaten and then physically force them to resume their work. Thieves may develop very long and complicated argumentation, but with only one imperative - production goals must be met
That's well reflected in culture. Consider, Беспредел - a great movie on how Russian institutional culture (shaped by prison culture) works in reality. A prisoner refuses to work and tells administration. They inform the thieves and that's what happens
And only much later prisoners realise: thieves are not a parallel state. They're just another branch of the same state machine. They're controlled opposition which actively cooperates with authorities, do whatever state commands and never ever cross the line, or they're doomed
Thieves racketeering the military, including Syria veterans, nuke personnel is not an "accident". It's a deliberate government policy to keep professional military low in dominance hierarchy. Russian state purposefully keeps its military in this position. It's all part of a plan
If you want, you can dig further into how harassed, how abused and how low in hierarchy the Russian military are. Of course the lowest position ever is taken by conscripts. There are many publications on how conscripts were forced into gay prostitution to earn cash for higher ups
Ok, that's all part of a plan. But why would they develop such a plan? Well, higher-ups are afraid of the army. Russian thieves play rebels, being a part of state apparatus. The same way Russia plays a military regime being in fact a state security regime https://twitter.com/kamilkazani/status/1496506490202513413
State security are *not* the military. That's another institution which has very uneasy relations with soldiers. That's understandable. State security will easily suppress any civilian revolt and any guerilla. Thus the only inner force that could overthrow them would be the army
You can read a more detailed account of relations between the Russian state and its army here. But for now I wanna stress, they're very concerned about the potential rivalry from the army and took every effort to prevent it. Thus they castrated the army https://twitter.com/kamilkazani/status/1493968165717561346
One precaution is to do a cleansing after each military conflict. In peacetime, power of military generals is low. They're bounded by instructions, protocols, guidelines, are overwatched by state security and military prosecutors. But during the war this control nearly disappears
The longer the war lasts, the less procedural and more personal military power becomes. Soon nobody cares about procedures. Everything is done by personal oral orders. Troops get used to unquestioning obedience to a general's word. So you have to do a cleaning up after each war
State security fears potential rivalry from the army. So they introduced several mechanisms of control. One is to do a cleaning up after each war killing generals who got too influential among the troops. And leaving the less infuential ones. That's a negative selection mechanism
Kremlin actively promotes state security to the army positions. A typical monologue of a Russian professional military:

1. [Long patriotic speech]
2. Complaints on how he'll never get promoted, cuz all the positions are given to young state security with no military experience
Third layer is extreme, unbelievable antiillectualism among the military officers promoted by the state. If Prussian army was the most intellectual army in Europe, modern Russian is the least. Again, it's not an accident. It's a deliberate policy to minimise this internal threat
Let's sum up. Kremlin is not maxing efficiency, it's minimising the threat. Recruit as low IQ officers as possible, give them very narrow training. If some officers are capable and rising quickly, kill them. Appoint as many state security to the army to make it more controllable
To minimise the threat from the army, the ruling state security attacks the army mythos. Why would mafia even dare to racketeer military officers? Because they know in case of conflict the state will back the mafia. These guys stand much higher in Russian hierarchy than soldiers
This explains all these strange phenomena such as thieves harassing the military bases, soldiers being forced into gay prostitution, etc. I don't think Putin personally ordered that (though he might). But he purposefully destroys the army mythos, to eliminate a rival for power
Words cannot describe how low in dominance hierarchy the Russian army is. To get some idea, watch this video from a Russian official TV channel. An officer asks for a minute of silence for "our special operation boys dying there" and see what happens. Army has no respect at all
Conclusions about the Russian artillery-centric army are not wrong. But they must be considered in political context. You must be artillery centric, if you have low morale troops. Nobody respects them, they have no self respect either. They can't stand the close range fight
If regime trained capable high morale infantry with intelligent officers, it'd constitute a mortal political threat. So it will maintain low morale incapable infantry with the dumbest officers possible and kill brighter ones. Artillery is way to fight *somehow* with these troops
Russian regime pretends to be military. But it's not . Its thinking, language, methods are very state security. On Feb 24 Putin started a Special Operation in Ukraine and on Feb 27 congratulated Russian forces there with the annniversary of the "Day of Special Operation Forces"
Why Feb 27? What happened that day? On Feb 26, 2015 Putin ordered to establish a new holiday, the Day of Special Operation Forces. The first one will be tomorrow, Feb 27, 2015 - and then every year. Next day, Feb 27, 2015 oppositional leader Nemtsov was killed in view of Kremlin
That's their mode of thinking. Killing Nemtsov is a special operation. Invasion of Ukraine is a special operation. Sounds dumb isn't it? Actually it makes sense. Russian regime is regime of cosplayers: state security agents who pretend to be soldiers and desire the military glory
State security playing soldiers launched a Special Operation and accidentally got into a real war. They're scared. You see Shoygu is reporting to Putin "everything's going according to the plan". Watch Putin's body language. He knows it isn't. He doesn't trust the plan himself
Initial Putin's assumptions were wrong. He launched invasion expecting no resistance. 5th Department of FSB which worked on Ukraine reported to Putin that Ukraine is just a cosplay and everyone switches to us the moment we come. Why? They told Putin whatever he wanted to hear
At this point director of 5th department Sergey Beseda and his deputy are under house arrest. They are charged with embezzlement and "low quality intelligence data" he provided. Beseda hugely exaggerated pro-Russian sentiments and lied to Putin regarding the prospects of invasion
That's why Naryshkin, Chief of Foreign Intelligence Service publicly tried to reassure Putin from escalation. He knew Putin's assumptions are wrong. Putin rebuked him and Naryshkin agreed to everything. Notice how he is trembling and stuttering. He already knows they'r all doomed
At this point everyone with half a brain knows Russia lost. Watch Lavrov's body language in Antalya. Russia tried to project strong implacable image but trembling hands and nervous moves of its top officials including Putin himself speak otherwise. They are mortally scared
A loyalist TV host Vladimir Solovyov is Putin's top and highest paid propagandist. For many years Solovyov launched jingoist propaganda, assured everyone of Russian supremacy over anyone including ofc its neighbours and was lavishly rewarded by the regime
That's a real time TV talk between Solovyov and Kedmi - jingoist pundits who always preached Russia would win. They're devastated and can't come up with anything slightly optimistic. Solovyov tells that continuing this operation will lead to Russia's destruction. Watch it all
Regime knows they're fucked. Rats are already escaping from the sinking ship in huge numbers. The problem is - the larger ones can't escape, nobody's gonna accept them. Only the small fish can. Very Orthodox and patriotic MP Milonov escaped to Armenia for example
Same with oligarchs. Bankers Fridman and Aven are sanctioned and can't leave Russia. But most of their top managers already did (reportedly mostly to the US). Oligarchs are doomed, but their henchmen who were prudent enough to get Western visas or residence are leaving en masse
Metallurgy tycoon Mordashov, owner of Severstal, always projected a very rational, technocratic, no nonsense image. He convened all his top managers who are still in Russia and gave an hour long speech, using the words "to pray/prayer" nine times. Never did before
Officials working in economic policy have very grim view on Russian perspectives. As minister of industry and trade Manturov formulated "import substitution failed because of inability to get foreign components". That kinda sums up the economic history of Putinism
This doesn't meat the regime is delegitimised. I'd say about 2/3 of population support Z-campaign. Loyalists are far more numerous and outspoken than dissidents. They're also much dumber: most of Z folk is just low IQ who don't get what's gonna happen. Smarter ones left already
Listen to this sermon which reflects a message that has an increasing mass support. He's preaching for annexing Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Georgia. "And what is gonna happen with Baltic countries - you can imagine yourself". Public cheers the escalation and imperial expansion
Just a nice illustration of the current phase Russia's going through. This sign Миру - мир! Peace to the World! was standing on this house since Brezhnev's era. It was just an empty feel good slogan never taken seriously. Now they took it off, now it's treasonous
Sputnik and Pogrom - the most prominent Russian nationalist media posted the recording from a captured village documenting "total de-Ukrainisation of everything alive (including the dogs) and absolute Russian happiness". That's far right message, but it's within current discourse
Z-message has a quite wide support among Russian diasporas abroad. See a Z-demonstration in Sydney, Australia
Kazakstan attorney is investigating an ethnic-Russian Kazakh citizen who posted a TikTok video thanking Putin for making her feel safe and believing he'll invade Kazakstan too if Nazism wins here as in Ukraine. However, there are dozens such TikTok's among Russian community there
Of course there are many dissidents in Russia. Here you see a young guy threatening an older driver for putting Z-letter on his bus. He promises to find him later. That reflects a sociological reality: older folk tends to endorse Z-message more often than youngsters
Herr you see a passenger plane pilot protesting against the war. First he talks in Russian, then in English. Some passengers clap to his speech
A guy who tried to burn down a military recruitment staton in Voronezh. Reportedly they managed to stop the fire, unfortunately
A truck driver in St Petersburg put Z-letters on his vehicle and is being publicly beaten for that (a driver who records it from his car is commenting cheerfully). People who hate Z-campaign and Z-message are quite numerous in Russia. Still, they constitute a minority
It would be wrong to think all Russians are endorsing Z-message. Many reject it out of conviction (still a minority though). Some are apolitical, but are smart enough to understand its consequences. Watch this 45 seconds on Russian stock market - it'd be a brilliant comedy sketch
Z-folл constitutes majority. Still, almost all of them are *really* dumb and have no idea of price they're gonna pay. Like an elderly woman who told she supports invasion and doesn't care of sanctions because she is a pensionary and Putin "will not leave her". Soon she's know
Now Putin is desperately trying to find new manpower for his war. Here you see Assad's Z-troops in Syria who are reportedly preparing to be transported to Ukraine
It's important to note that Russian "Wagner" mercenaries are present in many conflict zones, including Africa. Reportedly they're recruiting Central Africans to send them to Ukraine as well. That might turn out to be logistically difficult however
Why would Putin need it? Primarily because all the Russian support for Z-campaign is based on assumption, they're not gonna pay for it. If they are, support will disappear quickly. Putin not only denies he sent conscripts to Ukraine, but orders to investigate those who sent them
If Putin admits he's sending conscripts to war, they'll be dodging en masse. So he denies. And that works. Anecdotally: one boy is gonna turn 18 in few weeks. Dad wants to sneak him to Azerbaijan. His mom objects: she trusts Putin and doesn't want her son to go to "Churkestan"
Masses support Z cuz they believe they aren't gonna pay a significant price for it. Z-policy works, because it's based on realistic assessment of human intellectual abilities. And vice versa: policies that are based on exaggerated estimation of mass intellect are doomed to fail
I got a reliable info that officials are working hard to supply the supermarkets and to avoid "empty shelves". They think empty shelves will have a really bad impact on the regime's image. Well, good luck with that. They can keep the illusion of business as usual but not for long
Russian narrative looks quite funny. Now Russian trolls are talking of "the biological weaponry" allegedly developed by American labs in Ukraine. However, if you look at old Russian headlines, you'll see they used the same justification when intervening Kazakhstan this January
You can't imagine the damage to Russian mythos. Consider Peskov's speech "Real Russia is not ashamed he's Russian. If he's ashamed, he isn't Russian". Analyse the content, ignore the message. Putin's secretary is discussing shamefulness of being Russian. That's on the table now
One obvious consequence of this war is a complete and irreversible de-Russiphication of Ukraine. For many decades Ukraine was polarised between the Russophone East and the Ukrainian-speaking West. That's how pretty much any electoral map till 2014 looked like
There were many grudges between the East and the West. East often felt that the West didn't consider them as "true" Ukrainians. Even though most of East was settled by farmers from Central Ukraine, especially Poltava and Chernihiv, these areas were overwhelmingly Russophone
Language-wise, culture-wise, way of life-wise, Eastern Ukraine used to be much more like Russia than like the West (despite largely being settled from the West, well, Centre). There was a lot of tension, a lot of grudges, a lot of critical attitude towards Ukraine in the East
One underrated aspect of Z-campaign is that it overwhelmingly devastates the Russophone East. West is fortunate enough to be far away from Russia and gets few bombs as a result. Meanwhile, that's what's happening in Eastern Russophone areas (notice the swearing is in Russian)
That's what Z-campaign is doing in Russophone Mariupol
Russophone Chernihiv after Z-bombings
I've been long reading a blog of one Russophone from Kharkiv. It wasn't pro-Russian, but it was critical of Ukrainian state and policies. The effect of invasion was striking. Now he writes that invasion created Ukrainian unity. Nowadays, the West and the East will speak as equals
Z-invasion broke ties between Russia and East Ukraine. They used to travel, intermarry, befriend across the border. Now their kins in Russia are endorsing Z. "I don't blame them - writes Kharkiv guy - they're propagandised. But I'll never think of visiting St Petersburg anymore"
Why are the pushing Z so hard? Russia has official fla which isn'tt used much un Ukraine. Why? And the answer is - they made up Z *after* invasion went wrong. They'll try to abandon and forget it later. They don't want to connect Russian flag with a tainted and failed cause
Sounds good, doesn't work. Russian Federation is over. It's not gonna survive the war in Ukraine and certainly not gonna survive the defeat. However the political landscape of North Eurasia will look like after the war, new order will be built on completely different principles
You can follow @kamilkazani.
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