Moscow’s ideology leads to problems on the battlefield: the officers are partly based on a template from Soviet times.
Moscow – There has been little movement in Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine for months and there is no end to the large-scale conflict in sight. One reason why things are not going as planned for the Kremlin’s armies could also be the communication structures, with political and ideological commitment also playing a role.
The US Institute for the Study of War reported such problems, which were said to have been identified as early as 2018, with reference to an inside source. Thus, the source claimed that Russian political officers used an outdated “Soviet template” to conduct information operations against the enemy and failed to provide political support to Russian military personnel.
Officers must resolve contradictions between slogans and reality
The inside source further stated that Russian political officers need to resolve the contradictions between the slogans of senior Russian political leaders and reality to ensure that military personnel can distinguish between possible and impossible goals.
The inside source claimed that Russia’s military-political work promotes blind repetition of phrases and orders. This prevents Russian military personnel from understanding and communicating Russian political decisions to their subordinates – or from explaining contradictions in the political leadership’s messages. In war, in which operations have to be carried out quickly, this is actually an intolerable situation.
Colonel General identified problem back in 2018
The chairman of the Russian State Duma Defense Committee, Colonel-General Andrei Kartapolov, identified problems of this kind in a September 2018 essay justifying the creation of the Russian Military-Political Directorate. Kartapolov explained that Russia’s military-political leadership needed to adapt Soviet structures to new content.
The colonel general also argued that Russia needs to ensure the “information protection” of military personnel and create a stable belief among both the military and society about why they need to serve Russia. The issue raised by the insider and Kartapolov does not appear to have been resolved in the last five years.
During the war there was a rare scene that is reminiscent of past wars: the duel between two tanks. Meanwhile, there have been reports that Russia’s soldiers die very young in war. (cgsc)
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