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Historical corruption in Russia may have hit its military and eroded its ability to sustain its war efforts in Ukraine.
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 and the war did not go as Russian President Vladimir Putin would have liked. The British Ministry of Defense and US officials regularly note that the Russian military has made slow progress, taking several days to even tackle day one objectives.
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But most troubling for Russian troops would be the lack of supplies and equipment: Photos on social media indicate troops were carrying rations expired in 2015and the equipment looks dated, with transmission of radio communications over open channels and lacking in long-range capabilities. Tanks and vehicles abandoned during the fight show signs of lack of maintenance and care.
The budgets of the Russian Federation for about 60 to 70 billion dollars per year to fund its army, which helps fund salaries and training costs, maintain equipment and facilities, and develop or purchase new weapons, equipment, and vehicles. If the military does not translate this into its war effort, it raises questions about whether Russia’s corruption has undermined its combat capability.
Rebekah Koffler, a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer, said Russia used to keep obsolete equipment, but corruption affects “absolutely” everything, including the military, private businessmen and the mafia undergoing cuts.
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“Corruption is so rampant,” Koffler told Fox News Digital. “There’s not the same qualm in Russia – it’s the former Soviet Union, and it’s not even in the culture to check expiration because no one would trust it anyway.”
The configuration in Russia between the oligarchs – billionaires who control swaths of Russian industry – and the mafia is quite unique compared to the West. Retired US Army Lt. Gen. Thomas Spoehr told Fox News Digital that while there is no specific organized crime network in the military, it is “certain” that organized crime is operating. in the Russian army to some extent.
“We talk about how the American military is a reflection of American society, and we had this problem with gangs in the military not too long ago,” Spoehr explained. “By that same notion, it would be amazing if there was no organized crime in the Russian military because Russian society is plagued by organized crime. It’s almost like another economy, the way the Russia works.”
He said the Russian military prioritizes its navy over its army, which could contribute to the poor rations and guns seen on social media. But he added that while the Russian military is ostensibly acquiring new weapons and equipment through its procurement office, there is undoubtedly “some corruption”.
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“There’s corruption, malfeasance, all those sorts of things,” Spoehr said. “So people are skimming off the top, maybe accepting shoddy products in some cases, sometimes getting rich by directing contracts to their favorite oligarch – all of that happens.”
But Spoehr pointed out that strategic problems and logistical shortcomings are probably more responsible for Russia’s shocking performance in Ukraine than any possible corruption.
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Dan Hoffman, a Fox News contributor and former CIA station chief in Moscow, says we can’t know how much corruption has impacted the Russian military — only that the troops are “challenged.” and can’t tell what the cause is.
He argued that it is just as likely that the planned revitalization of supplies and forces after the 2008 invasion of Georgia never happened as it should have, or it could be that the military did not. had not attempted to mount a full invasion since World War II and was unprepared for the realities of such an operation.