This week was marked by the activities of raiding parties, the Russians call them saboteurs, Ukrainians along the entire front line. If over the past week five DRGs were then knocked out by the Russians on the entire front, then in the past week, not counting the events in Belgorod, sorties were recorded in the Lugansk People’s Republic, in the settlements of Zaporozhye and Kherson regions.
There is a strong impression that the Ukrainians have switched to the so-called “total terror tactics” not only to reverse or hide the consequences of the loss of Bachmut – Artemovsk, but also to put stress on the troops, law enforcement and the Russian population.
We are all talking about the imminent start of a Ukrainian counteroffensive, and therefore we can say that it is already underway, and this is one of the elements. Tanks will not advance across a broad front. Aviation will not fly combat units. One gets the impression that first, there will be targeted attacks and sorties, like the ones we’ve seen, as well as a major cyber attack. Belgorod was the glaring example of this with alarms that were also broadcast at the stations without however being official or issued by the governor’s office.
All this will make it possible to put a strain on the population and troops as much as possible, forcing them to divert attention from kinetic events by using the fairy tale of the boy who cried “wolf, wolf” in a modern key. The Ukrainians, thus sapping the morale of the Russians, will most likely start pressing when the Russians get tired of fighting back.
On the Russian front, the capture of Bachmut – Artemovsk by PMC Wagner forces has rekindled the spotlight on the recent initiative of Dmitry Rogozin, Deputy Prime Minister for Defense Industry in 2011-2018, and now head of another PMC, the Tsarskie Wolves, fighting on the southern flank of the Northern Military District.
Previously, Rogozin proposed to structure the voluntary movement that according to him is embodied by the PMCs, creating the Volunteer Army of Russia, whose acronym in Russian is DAR (Добровольческая армия России), thus bringing together all the associations that move in the gray area straddling illegality in Russia too. This is nothing new in Russian history: think of the Volunteer Army of the counter-revolutionary general Anton Denikin, of 1918, which was then defeated by the revolutionary Red Army of workers and peasants; before that we must mention the volunteers of the People’s Militia of Kuz’ma Minin and Dmitrij Pozharsky of the XVII who managed to save Russia from the invasion of Polish-Swedish troops.
Rogozin, actualizing the concept, proposes to create military-technical battalions in all military formations consisting of UAV drone handlers, electronic warfare experts – EW and communications companies in order to radically improve the quality of kinetic action, counteracting electronic warfare and striking UAVs; 45-50 thousand highly motivated volunteer fighters for Rogozin will be able to turn the tide at the front, becoming the focus of the offensive in strategically advantageous areas.
In Moscow, the idea could undoubtedly be of interest, but there are problems with the legal status and formalization of volunteer units, we have already seen with the bureaucratic difficulties in partial mobilization, their integration into the military logistics system and so on.
However, the main obstacle remains, as evidenced by the history of the relationship between Proighozyn’s Wagner volunteers and the Russian military leaders: the inflexibility of the structures of the Moscow Region, which proved to be unprepared to wage war with modern methods and move on old tracks, typical of Russian military history, orienting itself, like the last ten to twelve years, on the distribution of material and financial flows, since Russia is not in a state of war, given that the operations in Ukraine are not juridically configured as such, but as an enlarged “police operation”, wanting to adapt the concepts of Russian military doctrine to Western military terminology.
This “peacetime” attitude of Russian military leaders, primarily Defense Minister Shoigu, was perceived in the absence of the same leaders from the front areas, unlike what PMC leader Wagner did: Shoigu visited the front line only 16 months after the start of hostilities; it was perceived with the bureaucratization of logistics, which was clearly seen in the viral videos of Evgenij Prighozin, in which the owner of Wagner rose in tone until he lost his brackets for failure to send ammunition, or for unilateral recall announcements from the front.
The head of Wagner is now joined by former Minister Rogozin with his proposals to counter the new war development that the Ukrainians are apparently implementing.