When her recently mobilized brother called from the front lines last week, Olesya Shishkanova recorded the call – and along with it came a flurry of complaints.
“They didn’t give us any equipment. We had to buy all the equipment ourselves, because the army has nothing,” said Vladimir Putin earlier this month. Vladimir, 23, who was drafted as part of the mobilization, complained.
“We even had to paint the gun to hide the rust. In a phone call he uploaded to her page, he added.
Vladimir’s story is by no means unique. Across the country, newly mobilized men are buying up everything from thermal underwear to body armor. Further evidence emerged that the ill-supplied Russian forces were unable to provide even the basics when they arrived at the front.
In the telegram, dozens of wives and sisters of mobilized men share advice on the best places to buy bulletproof vests and clothing for their families before leaving to fight Putin’s war in Ukraine. A discussion channel was born.
“From morning to night, I scour the Internet to find deals for my sons,” said Anastasia, a member of the Soldier Assistance group based in the Sverdlovsk region of Russia, near the Ural Mountains. rice field.
Anastasia said despite the Defense Ministry’s statement that all mobilized soldiers would be dressed and equipped, the local recruitment office in Sverdlovsk asked newly mobilized soldiers to bring their own equipment. I highly recommend it,” he said.
For some Russians, the lack of basic equipment is the perception that their country’s armed forces, hailed as world-class combat prowess before the invasion, have proven painfully ill-prepared for war. It is contributing to the rise of
“It’s bad enough that our men are being taken away from us,” said Anastasia, a teacher in Bryansk, a Russian city less than 100 miles (100 miles) from the Ukrainian border. rice field.
“I had to spend my monthly paycheck on my husband’s gear so that at least he had a chance to come back. Frankly, it’s a total shame. It’s a mess,” she said. .
The scarcity of supplies is causing shortages and skyrocketing prices in outdoor clothing stores and online marketplaces that sell military gear.
Business outlet Kommersant reports that the price of bulletproof vests has risen by 500% and now sells for 50,000 rubles (£710). A similar price increase is also seen in helmets and basic camping gear.
“Stocks are empty. Sleeping bags were sold out two days after the mobilization was announced,” said Alexei, who runs a hiking and outdoor store in Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth largest city.
“We only have a few pairs of winter boots and two tents. This has never happened to us before.”
The small equipment that the military issues to newly recruited soldiers appears outdated or wholly inadequate.
One video circulating on social media shows mobilized Russian soldiers I complain That he was given body armor made for Airsoft games with no real bullet resistance. He said that there is
Even before Putin’s mobilization, Moscow’s failure to achieve its goal of quickly occupying Kyiv has left the world’s second-largest military force on paper with an annual budget of around £58 billion. The shortcomings were painfully exposed.
After Russia launched a military operation in Georgia in 2008, the Russian Defense Ministry, under President Putin’s ally Sergey Shoigu, aimed to transform the military into a sophisticated and modern one, fighting corruption. Aimed at ensuring eradication.
But since Russian tanks entered Ukraine on February 24, its military equipment has been systematically weakened to a degree that has surprised most Western analysts.
At an intelligence briefing on Sunday, the UK Defense Ministry said “endemic corruption and poor logistics” were still responsible for Russia’s “poor performance” in Ukraine. The ministry said the average amount of personal equipment Russia is providing to mobilized reserve forces is “arguably less than the already inadequate provision of previously deployed forces.”
“I’m not at all surprised to see the military in disarray,” said former Air Force captain Gleb Ilisov, who retired from the Russian military in 2020 and now lives in the United States.
“The military has always been very corrupt and these issues were not properly addressed. While our seniors got rich, they did not spend money on personnel,” he added. .
Opposition leader Alexei Navalny and his team of investigators have linked numerous defense officials to expensive assets and hidden bank accounts, including a 2015 investigation into a £16 million mansion allegedly owned by Shoigu. published an exposure article. Other data show that embezzlement is taking place at all ranks of the military.
A recent study by BBC News Russian found that in the past eight years, military courts handed down more than 550 sentences for stealing clothing from military stockpiles. More than 12,000 corruption cases have been opened, involving the theft of military equipment and equipment, some even after Russia invaded Ukraine.
Russia’s independent military expert Pavel Luzhin said Putin’s massive mobilization has exacerbated some of the existing problems.
“Russia was not ready for a mobilization of this magnitude. It was destined for logistical problems.”
Luzin explained that over the past 20 years, the Kremlin has attempted to rethink its military, moving from a conscription-based army to one that relies on professional troops.
“When the mobilization was announced, there was no mechanism to actually enforce it,” Luzin said.
Obvious equipment and logistical issues have become too serious for the authorities to ignore.
Valentina Matvienko, a senior politician and member of Putin’s security council, on Wednesday ordered the country’s anti-monopoly agency to regulate the market price of military equipment.
“Prices for mobilized recruits’ necessities skyrocketed. It’s not clear why or on what basis,” Matvienko said.
Hours after Matvienko’s statement, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin called on companies to “quickly increase the production of equipment and technology” needed for what Moscow called a “special military operation.”