Vladimir Putin is due to give a speech on Wednesday, possibly announcing a second wave of mobilization in Russia, according to the American Institute of War Studies (ISW). Putin will be speaking in St. Petersburg on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the Soviet troops breaking the German siege of Leningrad. The Russian dictator, experts point out, likes to use symbolic dates to address the nation.
Row Russia continues to work on expanding the categories of citizens eligible for mobilization, the Institute of Internal Affairs said. The independent news website Meduza reported on Monday that the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, rejected a proposal to postpone the mobilization of doctoral students. According to the American think tank, it is also possible that Putin will publicly declare war on Wednesday Ukrainestill called a “special military operation” in Russia.
Minister of Defense of Russia Sergei Shoigu announced on Tuesday that between 2023 and 2026 there will be extensive military reforms aimed at building up Russia’s conventional armed forces. It is possible that this is to prepare for a prolonged war with Ukraine, the ISW estimates. Shoigu stated that Putin had ordered an increase in the number of Russian military personnel to 1.5 million from the current 1.35 million, and announced that Russia would recreate the Moscow and Leningrad military districts, set up a new army corps in Karelia on the Finnish border, and new groupings of forces on the occupied Ukraine.
New guidelines for soldiers
In the opinion of the Institute of Internal Affairs, these intentions show the need to reform the Russian army in such a way that it would conduct large-scale conventional operations not only in the current war with Ukraine. It is not clear whether the Russian army will be able to develop as Shoigu described in three years, the American center added.
At the same time, Russia is trying to improve the level of professionalism of its armed forces and the effectiveness of chains of command. The list of new guidelines for Russian soldiers in Ukraine includes limiting the use of private cars and some private electronic devices in the combat zone.
“The Russian Defense Ministry is probably trying to introduce these measures to instill greater professionalism in Russian troops and potentially assess the ability of lower-level commanders to carry out orders in accordance with standards,” the ISW commented.
According to the research center, these are two problematic issues that were shed light by the Ukrainian attack on the Russian military assembly point in Makiivka in Donbass, in which up to 400 Russian soldiers were killed. After the attack, the Russian Ministry of Defense noted the lack of robust operational security practices among Russian soldiers and cited the use of private mobile phones by Russian military personnel as one of the reasons why the Ukrainian attack was possible.
Main photo source: PAP/EPA/SERGEI BOBYLEV/SPUTNIK/KREMLIN POOL/POOL