Peter Zeihan: Russia Without Choices

Russians Do Not Make Choices: Elites Make Choices for Them

Putin Now Sending Young Teens to Fight and Die

In the midst of a dark demographic disaster, Vladimir Putin is sending early teens to Ukraine to fight and die — in a vain attempt to retain power in the Kremlin.

‘They have been doing military training and there have been deaths among these teenagers [in Ukraine].

‘Now they are promoting the entry into the army of civilians, including children in the temporarily occupied territories.

‘In doing so, the Russian Federation has violated the laws and customs of war provided by the 1949 Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians… and the rights of children.

‘The recruitment of children is a violation of international law.’

Children as Cannon Fodder

Why is Putin reduced to sending children and old men to fight his vile genocidal war in Ukraine? Because he did not have enough men of normal fighting age to send. Too many of them have already been killed or disabled as a result of Putin’s miscalclulations.

Most of the combat units sent into Ukraine were composed of contract troops who were killed in large numbers. When the survivors got back to Russia, either because of wounds or because many combat battalions returned because of heavy losses, there was a sudden shortage of contract soldiers. That was because most contract troops were near the end of their two-to-three-year contracts and refused to renew. The army had signed up many soldiers for the new (since 2016) short term (six to twelve month) contracts for former soldiers or conscripts willing to try it and found that there were far fewer vets willing to sign these short contracts because so few recent short-term contract soldiers had survived service in Ukraine.

Mistakes Mount

Low Skills, Low Quality Equipment

More than 40% of funds allocated to the military were stolen outright by siloviki and high ranking officers. That is not counting all the functioning equipment that was stolen, leaving mostly low quality equipment for the troops. Training for the troops is even worse than the low quality of equipment.

There are skills that are important to an army’s fighting ability but are difficult to test. For example, how accurately on average fighters shoot. In the Russian – and before that in the Soviet – army, cheating was very common, so that there were excellent reports of the troops’ ability to shoot accurately. But in fact, those targets were being hit by snipers who were sitting somewhere else out there. This practice still lives. We talk to soldiers, and they tell us about specific examples of how they organize all this to get a normal result at the inspections. But in reality, no one knows how to do anything. 

Institutional corruption is also to blame. Corruption [in the army] manifests itself not only in money but also in all sorts of ranks. That is, military exercises and trips to Syria are all for service stars, and medals because they raise your salary and provide other benefits. During military maneuvers, there is no goal to really work everything out to the last detail and learn. Instead, it is all about getting a higher rank or a monetary bonus.

Russian soldiers’ first-aid kits are from the 1970s; they contain bandages, painkillers, and that’s it. This is because a modern first-aid kit costs a lot of money, and the Soviet first-aid kit is already in stock, there is no need to buy it, the army was not planning to fight anyway. Such a first-aid kit is not useless, but it is much worse than the ones the Ukrainians have. As a result, the killed-to-wounded ratio is about one to three…

…soldiers in the Russian army were not sufficiently motivated. Before February 24, the army thought it was just a training exercise and they were about to go home. In the first days, they realized that the war had started, but they thought that after all, the Russian army was big and powerful, “we will take a quick ride, and the victory will be ours”. In reality that was not the case: there were no supplies, no communications, the artillery was tearing things apart, everything was bad.

A Stinking Decay that Grows Worse

Why have most Russian troops always been so brutal and undisciplined? For the same reason so many Russian men become so brutal and cruel with time. It is just how things are in Russia.

25 girls and women, ranging from 14 to 24 years old, were locked in a basement and gang-raped repeatedly in Bucha, a city near the capital of Kyiv. Nine of the victims are now pregnant. “Russian soldiers told them they would rape them to the point where they wouldn’t want sexual contact with any man, to prevent them from having Ukrainian children,” __ Source

Russian troops forced to use civilian vehicles co-opted from civilian fleet. Truck drivers also being conscripted from civilian population. Backlogs and shortages ahead. Yet more hardships coming as Russians pay for Putin’s mistakes.

Meanwhile, Ukraine considers how to organize its civilian populations into active defense forces, militias, and trained reserve forces. In Russia, top down dictates of corrupt elites control society. In Ukraine, the people actually have a stake in the outcome, which is reflected in better morale and greater voluntarism.

Covert Special Ops Drones From US to Ukraine

Phoenix Ghost provides similar, “but not [the] exact,” capabilities as the AeroVironment Switchblade tube-launched loitering munition, Kirby said during a call with reporters on April 21, the 57th day of Russia’s war on Ukraine. There are differences “in the scope of capability for the Phoenix Ghost,” but what those differences are is unclear. It will be useful against different types of targets, he said.

Phoenix Ghost Loitering Suicide Drones

Brand new classified drone systems for land and sea are going to the fight against Russian tyranny in Ukraine. Very little is known about the capabilities of these drones, but it is likely that they are meant to be used against Russian armor in the Donbas and Russian ships in the Azov.


Russia cannot produce its own oil:

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