Putin Orders Russian Army to Expand as Battlefield Failures, Corruption Roil the Military

The decree does not say how the Russian military should increase recruitment at a time its military is suffering from dramatic casualty rates in Ukraine – in part of its own making.

Aug. 25, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order calls on the military to bolster its total force by 137,000 starting next year, which would bring the total authorized strength of the Russian military up to more than 1,500,000 troops.(ALEXANDR KULIKOV/AP-FILE)

President Vladimir Putin on Thursday ordered the Russian army to increase its total number of active-duty troops, a clear recognition of the devastating realities of the deadly quagmire the Kremlin created for itself in Ukraine six months after it began its invasion.

The order calls on the military to bolster its total force by 137,000 starting next year, which would bring the total authorized strength of the Russian military up to more than 1,500,000 troops. Questions linger about whether Moscow’s forces are currently at full strength other than on paper.

Putin in his decree did not say how authorities would increase recruitment at a time the Russian military and general population as a whole are reeling from the death tolls coming out of the conflict zone, which the president insists on referring to only as a “special military operation.” Though prior Russian estimates appear to have low-balled the casualty rate after six months of fighting, recent Ukrainian and Western estimates place the number of dead and injured in excess of 45,000.

Moscow has reportedly lowered standards across the spectrum and offered lucrative incentives to supplement its forces in Ukraine, even as it has dramatically curtailed training in a rush to push new soldiers into service.

“They have a serious manpower issue,” retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, whose last position before retiring included command of all U.S. Army operations in Europe beginning the year Russia first invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea in 2014, tells U.S. News. “Candidly, it doesn’t look to me like there are many people who want to be in the Russian army right now.”

Thursday’s decree did not state that Putin is considering a national draft to support the effort – one of the tactics he appears to be avoiding by not referring to the conflict as a war. However, the Russian military has not ruled out that option, according to state news.

It also remains unclear how quickly the Russian military can train troops to prepare them for fighting or provide them with the vehicles, supplies, rations and other equipment that appear sparse for the currently serving force.

“If Putin were to say, ‘We’re going to do a big mobilization,’ even if he did it would be months before you would have numbers of trained troops and organizations and formations that were prepared to fight. And they don’t have the equipment for new troops,” Hodges says.

U.S. officials note Russia has moved all of its available divisions west of the Ural Mountains in an attempt to bolster its force against the Western-backed Ukrainian military, which has proven remarkably adept at defending against Moscow’s military advances, with 85% of Russia’s land force now engaged in or near the fighting.

Putin’s offensive has also suffered from high-profile embarrassing strategic and logistic failures of its own making, while also exposing endemic rot and corruption within the Russian military itself – to include indications of exaggerated troop numbers. The Russian leader has already purged some top officers from command as a result of these failures.

It also comes at a time the Biden administration is demonstrating its intent to continue supporting Ukraine’s military. It announced Wednesday a $3 billion package of new military support – coinciding with Ukrainian independence day – bringing the total it has provided above $15 billion.

“Vladimir Putin seems to believe that Russia can win the long game — outlasting the Ukrainians in their will to fight and the international community’s will to continue to support Ukraine,” Colin Kahl, effectively the No. 3 civilian at the Pentagon, told reporters on Wednesday. The new package “is a tangible demonstration that this is yet another Russian miscalculation.”



  1. “If Putin were to say, ‘We’re going to do a big mobilization,’ even if he did it would be months before you would have numbers of trained troops and organizations and formations that were prepared to fight. And they don’t have the equipment for new troops,”

    Exactly. The cockroach army is like the rest of the shithole … a run-down, corrupt, dilapidated, outdated, inefficient, incompetent entity. And, a few months of this and that won’t change that at all. It’ll take a through and through change of so many things that it’s hard to decide where to start. Not to mention that we’d be talking of at least five to ten years’ time to usher in a new and better army. But, this will not happen under the current putinism.

    Liked by 5 people

      • At the moment, it’s closer to the first figure. If you include the National guard volunteers, who did so well with very little in Kyiv, it bumps up a bit.
        Ukraine will need a standing army of one million, a modern air force , a navy and a nuclear deterrent to defeat putler and hold filthy orcs at bay permanently.
        The army alone will need an investment of $40bn; a bargain when you consider the cost of a putler victory.
        But does Biden know this?
        Sadly, support from the all-important American people is in decline according to polls.
        Meanwhile in the UK, kremkrapper propagandists are unleashing a hate campaign against Liz Truss. Unfortunately the filthy bastards know that nazi methodologies work quite well.

        Liked by 3 people

        • The democracies know what a ruskie victory means. I think that their support will continue. Ukraine is doing what it can to increase its forces.

          Liked by 3 people

          • A good comment yesterday from a DT reader. I think you will like it:

            James EdwardB:

            “The problem is who was killed or wounded severely. It is important to understand the KIA to serious wounded ratio is very high, probably 1:1, with a low number of wounded returning to duty in 2-3 months. The weapons used against the Russians are either killing them outright or leaving them cripples. The drone videos show Russian wounded are often abandoned to their fate with many examples of wounded Russians struggling to to get to help. Well trained soldiers save their comrades. Armies recover their wounded so they can heal and return to the war. Russians are leaving them to die. Every man for himself leads to a collapse of unit cohesion and the ability to fight as a unit. It is not possible to turn that around without a concerted effort to create effective replacement units at a the regiment level or higher. Yet the very men who should be training the new troops and assume leadership roles are the ones who are dead. Existing units are tied up guarding against China and a few outposts areas like Kaliningrad. It is telling that few troops have been pulled from the Siberian defenses. The Russians have no trust of China, reflecting a reality that their alliance is more like the Nazis-Soviet pact of August 1939.
            The destruction of the supply dumps and force the Russians ration ammunition and weapons. Yet without unit discipline and cohesion, the reduced supplies do not get used effectively and are not distributed to everyone based on need. Vets will grab the better weapons, ammunition, and food and the replacment soldier is left to fend for himself. Add in the ethnic segregation and you have fractured units. Russia is building toward a 1918 German collapse rather than the 1945 German fight to the bitter end.”

            Liked by 3 people

            • Yes, the analysis is a good one, Sir Scradge.
              But, I disagree with the ending. WWI ended with the German army still fully intact and no allied boots on German soil. So, I hope that mafia land will not end this way. And, it cannot end like Germany of 1945 simply because its army is not nearly as disciplined. It will collapse much quicker, given the right beating. That’s my humble opinion.

              Liked by 2 people

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