By XHABIR DERALLA
The myth of the Russian military power is probably one of the oldest and most carefully created ones in the catalogue of the Russian propaganda. The use of this key disinformation is for both international and domestic purposes, for deceit the potential enemies and self-deceit, i.e. boost the morale of the army and domestic population.
Russian military weakness exposed on the Ukraine battleground
There are numerous analysis of the claims of the Russian propaganda, which lionizes its own military power. However, analysis, intelligence and reports from the battlefields across past decades prove the opposite. The invasion of Afghanistan (1979-1989) provided evidence of the numerous weaknesses of the Soviet military technology.
The post-Soviet era is not much different. Seems that propaganda is the sole real powerful weapon produced by Russia. The military intervention in Georgia in 2008, the two Chechen wars (1994-1996 and 1999-2009) and other war adventures of the Russian Federation have shown a depressing picture of the Russian war machinery.
The most blatant evidence of the real (lack of) power of the Russian military was provided already during the first week of the aggression against Ukraine. Undertrained, underequipped and poorly armed, the Ukrainian army and the civilian volunteers have turned the self-glorifying “unstoppable” Russian armament into rubble. What is going on?
Nonexistent tanks and termination of production and repairs
The spectacularly advertised new Russian tank “Armata” was announced as a technological revolution. The “Armata” program was meant to be entirely different from the past Soviet-styled tanks. It was first displayed during the May 2015 on the so-called “Victory Day Parade” in Moscow. Not much of it was seen since, except for parades, and not at all on the battlefield in Ukraine.
If for nothing else, the shiny “toy”, T-14, is too expensive to be used in a battlefield where Ukrainians fiercely fight to repel the invaders, and turn the endless tank columns into wreckage. Each T-14 reportedly costs $3.7 million, some 20 times the price of a U.S.-made Javelin anti-tank rocket, which comes in at around $175,000.
Furthermore, several reports claim that, due to lack of imported components, the industrial giant Uralvagonzavod has stopped the production of and repairs of all tanks from its production line. Moreover, the company announced that the workers have been dismissed until further notice.
In the Russian media, this was explained by “resetting production and sending employees of the plant on vacation”. It is believed that this is a consequence of the sanctions of Japan, Great Britain and the EU, the main source of components for production of tanks in Uralvagonzavod.
Production of missile systems shut down
Russian manufacturers of surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) were shut down due to sanctions, as well. According to the Ukrainian Intelligence Directorate (GUR) claims on April 17, the Ulyanovsk Mechanical Plant, a manufacturer of SAMs, radars and air defense equipment stopped its production and repairs.
The facility is located in the Ulyanovsk Oblast that was opened by the Soviet Union in the 1960s. It is used to produce a number of different SAMs models, such as the 9K37 Buk, designated by NATO as SA-11 Gadfly, and the 2K22 Tunguska, designated by NATO as SA-19 Grison.
With the factories closed, however, the workers are given one of two choices: Go on unpaid leave or join the Russian army for its invasion of Ukraine, preferably as a SAM operator, and get a monthly salary of 50,000 rubles (around $600).
Most of the Russian military’s electronic components were provided by Germany, but this has stopped due to the sanctions.
(to be continued)