Russia calls up 300,000 more troops in face of Ukraine pressure

Commentary

Peter Zeihan

Geopolitical Strategist
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In a sign that Russia’s casualties in Ukraine are mounting, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the country will mobilize 300,000 reservists to support its troops. Putin confirmed he promised to use all military means in Ukraine and was “not bluffing” when hinting that Moscow was prepared to use nuclear weapons. Straight Arrow News contributor Peter Zeihan says “throwing bodies” at the problem is a familiar Russian war strategy, but given its delicate demographics, could backfire with serious consequences:

Number one, this is the sort of the war the Russians know how to fight – just throw bodies after it. The Russians have always had a larger population than any of the countries they have gone to war with and so they’ve always tried to win by numbers. And when they have won, that’s usually how it has happened. Second, this isn’t a fundamental break. Yes, the Russians need these troops, and they need them badly. But when you’ve only had 150,000, in theater, and you’ve been fighting for six months, more or less nonstop, and your logistics have been a mess, 300,000 troops doesn’t turn the tide. It just means you’re going to be able to cycle in troops to replace the ones that have become exhausted.

So this doesn’t give the Russians fundamentally more troops in theater. It allows them to rotate troops through the theater and continue fighting the war and more or less the way that they have been now which is to say poorly.

Obviously, it’s still bad news for the Ukrainians. But ultimately, this is getting to one of the core issues that I’ve been talking about since the beginning. The Russian demographic is horrible, and between guts or massive increases in the death rate or massive decreases in the birth rate, or both because of World War One famines, World War Two, the Brezhnev mismanagement, the post cold war collapse, there are these deep gouges out of the population structure across the Russian system, with the deepest one in people aged roughly 15 to 30.

Because you’ve got a stacking up through the generations of bad things that happened in World War One and World War Two and post Cold War. That’s where all these troops are coming from. So we’ve already got about 200,000 men in theater who are in their 20s, we’re now adding another 300,000. And we’re starting to get to the point where the Russians just aren’t going to have any more men in that generation to throw at this at all. And I don’t know if you guys were aware, but people in their 20s are the ones who do have kids. So we’re taking what is already the most demographically fragile demographic, and putting them into an open-ended war, which makes it very difficult for them to father or raise children. This is potentially a country-killer. 

Hi, everyone, Peter Zion here coming to you Vancouver. No backdrop today I just got up. The news that happened in the wee hours of the morning, which unfortunately woke me up at two in the morning was that the Russians have announced a what they call a partial mobilization of about 300,000 troops. So I just wanted to get this out there real quick. So you guys understood the context and the why. So, first touch background, the Russian space is incredibly low value. The agriculture that exists there is very poor by global standards. So they’ve never been able to generate the amount of capital that’s necessary to have a real road network. If you want to get anything moved from A to B, it’s going to almost exclusively go by train, which is part of the reasons why logistics in the Russian army had become so poor, especially in the Ukraine conflict, and why the Ukrainians were able to take a couple of rail depots in eastern Ukraine in Kharkov a couple of weeks ago, and the front just collapsed. In fact, there’s signs that we might be seeing a repeat of that elsewhere in the Donbass as the Russians are now discovering that they’re actually outnumbered locally, and that with all the captured equipment, the Ukrainians actually now have more artillery and more ammo. So if you take a poorly trained, conscripted force in Russia, that is badly equipped and put up against some very motivated and enlarging force, it is getting better training from abroad and better equipment from abroad. In addition to the captured stuff, all of a sudden, at least, for now, the balance of forces has really changed. And the only way that the Russians have ever been able to fight that sort of wars with more numbers. So they’ve had about 100 150,000 troops in area plus the Chechens plus they’re mercenaries. So let’s just call it an even 200 for rounding, they’re now going to add another 300. This doesn’t mean that the nature of the war has fundamentally changed. It means two things. Number one, this is the sort of the Russian of war the the Russians know how to fight just throw bodies after it. The Russians have always had a larger population than any of the countries that have gone to war with and so they’ve always tried to win by numbers. And when they have won, that’s usually how it has happened. Second, this isn’t a fundamental break. Yes, the Russians need these troops, and they need them badly. But when you’ve only had 150,000, in theater, and you’ve been fighting for six months, more or less nonstop, and your logistics have been a mess, three and 1000 troops doesn’t turn the tide, it just means you’re going to be able to cycle in troops to replace the ones that have become exhausted. So this doesn’t give the Russians fundamentally more troops in theater. It allows them to rotate troops through the theater and continue fighting the war and more or less the way that they have been now which is to say poorly. Obviously, it’s still bad news for the Ukrainians. But ultimately, this is getting to one of the core issues that I’ve been talking about since the beginning, the Russian demographic is horrible, and between guts or massive increases in the death rate or massive decreases in the birth rate, or both because of World War One famines, World War Two, the Brezhnev mismanagement, the post cold war collapse, there’s these deep gouges out of the population structure across the Russian system, with the deepest one in people aged roughly 15 to 30. Because you’ve got a stacking up through the generations of bad things that happened in World War One and World War Two and post cold war. That’s where all these troops are coming from. So we’ve already got about 200,000 men in theater who are in their 20s, we’re now adding another 300,000. And we’re starting to get to the point where the Russians just aren’t going to have any more men in that generation to throw at this at all. And I don’t know if you guys were aware, but people in the 20s are the ones who do she’ll have kids. So we’re taking what is already the most demographically fragile demographic, and putting them into an open ended war, which makes it very difficult for them to Father or raise children. This is this is a potentially a country killer. Before I thought that this was Russia’s last war, now I’m certain of it or at least the last word they can find with conventional forces. Now, will the Ukrainians be able to repeat the feats they’ve been doing? It’s entirely possible but keep in mind the scale of what needs to be done here with the size of the territory in question. The Ukrainians need to pull off what they’ve done in the first two weeks of September another 20 times. I’m not saying that’s impossible. I’m just saying that that is the scale of what is going on here. So expect the Ukrainians to do two things number one, continue to hammer as many logistical points that the Russians rely on as possible. Anything they can do disrupt the flow of men material and especially food supplies to the frontline is something that is going to crush the Russian demographic that is responsible for the soldiers and responsible for

sort of looking for propagating the Russian condition in the first place. Second, look for them to reach for specifically for transport nodes, not just ones that are near the front line, but ones that might seem a bit of a Hail Mary not to strike but to capture the one I am mo just interested in of course is Maria poll because if the Ukrainians can reach miriah Pull, they basically isolate Russian forces throughout southern Ukraine. And then you’re talking about 100,000 Russian troops that are just stranded with no hope of resupply at all. If the Ukrainians are going to win this war, they have to take massive bites out of not just the Russian army, but the Russian demographic, and doing that destroying the Kurdish state bridge, isolating Crimea from the rest of Russia. That is how that is done. And now that the Russians have obliged to throw 100 Other another 100 another 300,000 troops in the grinder. We may be seeing the beginning of the Russians and here it is still, the Russians word lose. But they’re following the playbook and that makes them a little bit easier to predict. Okay, that’s it for me. Until next time.