ISW: Reports of poorly staffed Russian mobilised personnel dividing Russian information space

    WORLD  26 November 2022 - 11:42

    Reports of poorly staffed, provisioned, and supplied Russian mobilised personnel are dividing the Russian information space, exposing the tension between milblogger mobilisation narratives, Wagner Group narratives, and actual Russian efforts to alleviate morale issues. 

    Mobilised personnel from Serpukhov, Moscow Oblast, claimed on November 23 that the Russian military command sent them into battle without proper training, uniforms, or protective gear, leading them to suffer mass casualties, Caliber.Az reports citing the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

    This personnel also claimed that command only feeds the mobilised personnel once a day despite having enough food to provide more meals. 

    A Russian source reported that the Serpukhov mobilised personnel now face a military tribunal for desertion, but the men later released a second video denying that they are deserters and stating they are willing to serve on the second and third lines of defence rather than the front line.

    Russian milblogger responses split between calling for compassion for the mobilised personnel and punishment only for leadership, and punishment for the entire unit.

    A Russian milblogger claimed that these Russian personnel abandoned their positions in Makiivka, Luhansk Oblast, and left other members of their unit to be executed when surrendering to Ukrainian forces (an accusation that the Ukrainian government is investigating). 

    Some Russian milbloggers, including at least one channel affiliated with the Wagner Group, sympathised with the Serpukhov personnel and criticised the Russian training and command issues that led to this situation. These milbloggers also criticised other Russian milbloggers who, they say, wrongfully condemned the Serpukhov personnel for Russian military command, training, and provisioning issues out of their control. One Russian milblogger even claimed that military personnel do not refuse to fight, but that they do not want to be “cannon fodder.”

    Alexander “Sasha” Kots, a milblogger whom Russian President Vladimir Putin recently appointed to the Russian Human Rights Council, called for objectivity when viewing the video and said he would raise the issue with Putin in his new position on the Human Rights Council.

    ISW analysts’ key conclusions are as follows:

    • Reports of a group of understaffed and ill-supplied mobilized personnel are dividing the Russian information space.
    • President Vladimir Putin falsely presented a meeting with hand-picked women as an open discussion with mothers of mobilized personnel.
    • An investigation by Forbes’ Ukrainian service revealed that the war in Ukraine has had a serious financial impact on the Russian Federation’s annual budget.
    • The Russian MoD may have increased the frequency of POW exchanges to soothe discontent in the Russian information space.
    •  A Ukrainian official confirmed that Ukrainian forces killed Iranian military advisors in Russian-occupied Crimea and threatened to target Iranian military presence on Ukrainian territory.
    • Russian military leadership may be circulating a document stating that Russia needs to mobilize five million personnel to win the war in Ukraine, which Russia cannot do.
    • Russian forces conducted limited counterattacks to regain lost positions northwest of Svatove and Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations toward Kreminna.
    • Russian forces continued to conduct offensive operations in the Bakhmut and Avdiivka areas, and influential Russian figures may be setting informational conditions to deflect blame for a lack of progress in the Bakhmut area.
    • Russian forces continued to establish defenses south of the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast and around critical ground lines of communication (GLOCs) connecting Crimea to southern Kherson Oblast.
    • Russian sources and officials continue attempts to shape the narrative around a likely second partial mobilization while denying the potential for general mobilization.
    • Russian officials are continuing efforts to stimulate demographic change in occupied areas of Ukraine by deporting Ukrainian residents and replacing them with imported Russian citizens.

     

    Caliber.Az

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