Six weeks after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, cool Russian Victory Day celebrations highlighted the shortcomings of Russia’s armed forces during the war in Ukraine. For weeks, Western analysts have theorized about the possible outcome of Russia’s annual Victory Day parade, and in particular what Putin’s speech on his geopolitical prospects and strategic goals could reveal as the war continues in Ukraine.
Many have speculated that Putin will seize the opportunity to bring about a dramatic change in Russia’s defense policy with theories ranging from a formal declaration of war, followed by a general mobilization of Russian military reserves to a veiled admission of failure by declaring a hollow victory after achieving some uncertain strategic goals. However, Russia’s Victory Day parade served as a reminder of their recent strategic failures rather than a celebration of their past.
While demonstrations of modern military equipment such as the OBT T-14 Armata during the Victory Day parade in 2015 have aroused much trepidation among military strategists and technology experts, the grim performance of Russian forces in Ukraine has significantly undermined confidence in the Russian military. capabilities of the Russian defense industry as a whole. As Ukraine has been equipped with Western anti-tank systems such as Raytheon’s Javelin or Saab’s NLAW ATGM, the reputation of the Russian army’s mechanized units has been severely tarnished by their repeated failures to meet expectations. Images of Russian paratroopers flaunting their upgraded RATNIK military systems and AK12 / AK-15 rifles, the latter specially designed with Picatinny rails to include optics and sights, now seem incompatible with the vast video evidence of poorly equipped Russian soldiers. fighting obsolete equipment, some of which dates back to World War II.
The planned overflight of eight MiG-29SMT Fulcrum multi-role fighters was reportedly canceled due to bad weather, although the weather seemed to be better than the bad weather of the previous year, further underscoring their weak efforts to maintain air superiority over air forces. equipped with Western Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS), such as the FIM-92 Stinger, Piorun-M and Starstreak HVM anti-aircraft missiles.
Indeed, Russia’s reliance on symbolic military power seems to have overshadowed Putin.
the administration’s view of how real policy in Russia’s military and defense circles has crippled their forces from within. Although the Russian state has largely managed to preserve the Soviet Union’s propaganda capabilities through complex networks of state-sponsored media, centralized social media platforms, and well-funded intelligence services waging psychological warfare on a global scale, military failure involves change and adaptation to principles. of modern warfare is now easily noticeable to international observers.
In a recent post, retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, who previously served as commander-in-chief of the U.S. military in Europe in the years before Crimea’s annexation, highlighted how several joint exchanges and demonstrations of capabilities with his Russian counterparts made it clear. that Russia’s military infrastructure and training have failed to keep pace with developments in NATO member states since the end of the Cold War. Lieutenant General Hertling describes how before 2014 both the Russian and Ukrainian military were equally inexperienced and stereotyped, with the failure to invest in the development of non-commissioned officers leading to a widespread lack of leadership and innovation, undermining overall discipline and therefore facilitates the rapid spread of corruption among the armed forces.
In summary, the celebrations of Russia’s Victory Day served only to further illustrate the struggles Russia is facing in its conflict with Ukraine. Although they are able to show advanced systems to the world media, even if the equipment on display is nothing new and in smaller numbers than in previous years, this picture fails in Ukraine, where the equipment is older than most soldiers using it. The parade should be seen as an attempt at a Russian military demonstration and provoke the most significant reassessment of Russia’s military capabilities since the end of World War II. However, the failure of the Russian high command to assess the severity of their training and supply failures is likely to continue to affect operations in Ukraine in the coming weeks, a vulnerability that the Ukrainian armed forces have learned to exploit very well.