AGF Management: The Biggest Surprise of the War — The Inept Russian Army

AT THE BEGINNING OF THE WAR, we had no doubt that the brave Ukrainian patriots would fight hard, and we believed that NATO would show surprising unity on the sanctions aimed at crippling the Russian economy.

BUT THE SHOCK has been the heavy Russian army, poorly led, short of essential supplies and facing a morale crisis among soldiers with little enthusiasm
for a war against civilians.

WITH WEEKS OF FIGHTING AHEAD, Moscow seems content to wage war on civilians – not just doing collateral damage, but actually trying to kill and terrorize them. War crimes seem to be Moscow’s preferred option because its military has failed.

THE ARMY IS A KEY PART of Putin’s troika; the other two-thirds are oligarchs and ordinary Russians. The super-rich see the ruble collapse and their assets confiscated in the West, while the general public faces a dramatic collapse in their standard of living.

BUT IT IS THE ARMY that has suffered the most dramatic disgrace. Most experts estimate that Russian casualties topped 5,000 in less than two weeks of war – at least half of them dead. Reports of surrenders and low morale persist, with Russian soldiers shocked to find they are not being greeted as heroes, as their leaders had promised.

THE NEW YORK TIMES REPORTS this morning that some Russian troops crossed the border with MREs (ready-to-eat meals) that expired in 2002, and Western officials report that soldiers surrendered and sabotaged their own vehicles to avoid the fights.

WE ARE NOT NAIVE, WE CONSIDED that the Russian army can bludgeon Ukraine and take most major cities. But as Vietnam and Afghanistan have proven, an insurgency can eventually prevail against the superpowers.

AS THE NEW YORK TIMES REPORTS, European military personnel who once feared Russia say they are no longer as intimidated by Russian ground forces as they once were. Part of this narrative is the United States’ eagerness to supply arms and apply aggressive sanctions (an oil ban is approaching and higher defense spending is certain).

BUT PART OF THIS STORY is that the Russian military has been strategically inept, exposing a 40-mile convoy to relentless Ukrainian attacks. And part of that story is the Russian military’s failure to modernize.

TODAY’S HIGHLY RECOMMENDED ARTICLE quotes a Russian military expert: Much of the money to modernize the military “was stolen and spent on mega-yachts in Cyprus. But as a military advisor, you can’t report that to the president. to him instead. Military Potemkin.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of AGF, its subsidiaries or any of its affiliates, funds or investment strategies.

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