Eastern Europe

Russian Military Manning: It Was That Bad

Russian Military Manning: It Was That Bad
General-Lieutenant Yevgeniy Burdinskiy

Another lesson in the value of collecting and following data points over the long term.

On October 24, GOMU Chief General-Lieutenant Burdinskiy made a simple statement to the Russian media:

“The manning of the armed forces is 95 percent, since 2012 this indicator has risen by 35 percent.”

So Russian armed forces manning was only 60 percent of the nominal org-shtat in 2012. The forces were undermanned by 40 percent.


On these pages, reports of Russian military commentators to the effect that undermanning was 20, 25, or even 30 percent have been repeated and highlighted many times. But no one would have written or believed 40 percent undermanning. Now the report has come from GOMU itself.

As recently as seven years ago, that’s how bad undermanning was, and that’s how hard the Russian MOD worked to conceal the state of affairs with its manpower.

Now the MOD can demonstrate how dramatically its personnel situation has changed, but only by admitting just how bad it was in the past.

Russian Defense Policy

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1 comment

Show me from Missouri December 3, 2019 at 12:11 am

I don’t know what’s happening with the Russian military. Certainly they are making efforts toward modernization and upgrading their armaments industry, with some intent of monetizing the industry by selling high quality arms to foreign governments.
There also is a movement toward utilizing mercenaries in foreign service rather than indigenous Russian forces.
I’m not sure if this is an attempt to farm out the armed forces to improve cash flow for the Russian government or actually mercenary forces, perhaps under the control of oligarchs.
There’s some question of just how functional the government in Russia is at this time, if it’s just a facade for oligarchy behind the scenes or if there is actually a functioning democracy with a parliament representing the citizenry.
There are, or have been mercenary groups operating in Syria, and a sustained armored assault by such a group resulted in several hundred Russians being killed. I have also read reports of Wagner Group operating in Moazambique where there is an Islamist Separatist movement, I think in the northern part of the country where there are gas reserves which have great monetary value.
The Russians under Putin don’t have the restraints that many countries have on their military operations, occupying Crimea with “little Green Men”, and Russians on furlough operating in the eastern parts of Ukraine, Donbass region, including heavy weapons such as armor and artillery. There was also the Russo/Georgian war.
The approach has been not to antagonize or threaten Russia, but that seems to be a failed strategy.
Only real strength can confront such activity head on, and that will mean the willingness to oppose Russian aggression, whatever form it takes, and it will take various forms, secret agents, cyber war, confusion, economic challenge, clandestine and overt military force.
Failure to deal with the challenge, or appeasement, will result in failure and even greater challenges and conflicts in the future.
This is especially difficult for democracies to deal with since it calls for sacrifice in service and money from the citizens and there is enormous resistance to any kind of armed conflict unless it is an emergency.
Dealing with crises on an emergency basis will usually result in failure however.


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