Status: 24.09.2023, 10:06 a.m.
By: Christoph Gschoßmann
Moscow's ideology leads to problems on the battlefield: the officers are partly based on a template from Soviet times.
Moscow – Little has been moving in Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine for months and an end to the large-scale conflict is largely not in sight. One reason why things are not going as planned for the Kremlin's armies could also be the communication structures, with political and ideological commitment also playing a role.
The U.S. Institute for the Study of War, referring to an insider source, reported such problems, which are said to have been identified as early as 2018. Thus, the source claimed that political officers of Russia used an outdated "Soviet template" to conduct information operations against the enemy and failed to provide political support to Russian military personnel.
Officers must resolve contradictions between slogans and reality
The inside source further stated that Russian political officers need to resolve the contradictions between the slogans of high-ranking Russian political leaders and reality in order to ensure that military personnel can distinguish between possible and impossible targets.
The inside source claimed that Russia's military-political work encourages the blind repetition of phrases and orders. This prevents Russian military personnel from understanding Russian political decisions and communicating them to their subordinates – or explaining contradictions in the messages of the political leadership. In war, where operations have to be done quickly, this is actually an intolerable state of affairs.
Orders from Russian officers can cause confusion. © Dpa
Colonel-General identifies problem as early as 2018
The chairman of the Defense Committee of the Russian State Duma, Colonel-General Andrei Kartapolov, identified problems of this kind in a September 2018 essay in which he justified the creation of the Russian military-political directorate. Kartapolov explained that the military-political leadership of Russia must adapt Soviet structures to new content.
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The colonel-general also argued that Russia must ensure the "protection of information" of military personnel and create a stable conviction among both the military and society about why it must serve Russia. The problem raised by the insider and Kartapolov does not seem to have been solved in the last five years.
During the war, a rare image reminiscent of past wars occurred: the duel between two tanks. Meanwhile, there have been reports that Russia's soldiers are dying very young in the war. (cgsc)