Army reform from Shoigu: ISW analyzed whether this will affect the course of the war
Shoigu announced the reform of the Russian army in the period from 2023 to 2026. However, whether the invaders will be able to do this successfully remains an open question.
The fact is that nominally Russia can form the desired divisions. However, it remains unclear whether the aggressor country will be able to fully equip them and prepare them well against the backdrop of the ongoing war.Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on January 17 said he was preparing to implement a directive from Russian President Vladimir Putin to carry out large-scale military reforms between 2023 and 2026. The main goal is to expand the Russian conventional armed forces and create conditions for a rapid build-up of a stronger Russian military than it is now.
- Increase the number of Russian military personnel to 1.5 million (now about 1.35 million);
- “large-scale changes” in the composition, addition and administrative division of the Russian armed forces;
- restoration of the Moscow and Leningrad military districts;
- formation of a new army corps in Karelia (on the Finnish border);
- creation of new self-sufficient groups on the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine;
- the formation of 12 new maneuver divisions and so on.
Shoigu also added that Russia should increase its capacity for “adequate” training of forces by developing more training grounds and increasing the number of instructors and specialists. Analysts at the Institute for the Study of War believe that such news demonstrates Russia's intention to wage a protracted war in Ukraine and possibly even pose a threat to the countries of the Alliance.
It is not yet known whether the reforms will be successful, because the Kremlin's previous promises have not come true. However, it is likely that Putin will be ready to allocate large sums from the budget to these high-profile reforms.
Reforms and expansions on the scale outlined by Shoigu will not take place in time to significantly affect the war in Ukraine for many months, but it could change the balance of power going into 2024. It could also set the stage for a much more formidable Russian military threat to its neighbors, including NATO, in the coming years, experts write.
Earlier, Shoigu appointed a new commander for the invasion of Ukraine
- < li>Shoigu recently announced that he was “lowering” Surovikin to the position of deputy commander of the invasion of Ukraine. Valery Gerasimov was appointed to his place.
- At the same time, the Russian Ministry of Defense assured that such personnel changes were provoked by “expansion of the scale of tasks”, and not by the failures of the Russians at the front. There is also a theory that the appointment of Gerasimov is a kind of “slap in the face of Prigozhin”.
- The fact is that these two do not treat each other very well. It is known that the Wagnerites near Bakhmut recorded a video message to the new commander, where they called him obscene names in every possible way, and Prigozhin only supported his henchmen in such an “initiative”.