Russia’s special military operation – one year on

Regardless of whether the reports about the upcoming major Russian offensive are true, at worst, Moscow certainly has the capacity to continue and maintain its special military operation.

Drago Bosnic, independent geopolitical and military analyst

After Russia decided it had had enough and on February 24, 2022, launched its counteroffensive against decades of NATO aggression in Europe, it had been 33 years since its military fought a major ground war (Afghanistan, 1979-1989) and approximately seven years since the start of Moscow’s antiterrorist operation in Syria. The last 365 days ushered a tectonic shift in the international geopolitical arena, with Washington DC and Brussels showing their true colors, as they pledged what US President Joe Biden called an “unwavering support” for the Neo-Nazi regime in Kiev. Apart from the full-blown economic siege of Russia, which includes attempts at illegal seizure of its massive forex reserves, the political West also launched an unrelenting propaganda campaign to discredit the Russian Armed Forces.

So, how exactly did the Russian military perform during its special operation in Ukraine? First of all, it should be understood that the Eurasian giant is a military superpower, meaning that its armed forces are a massive, multifaceted system that requires a deep understanding of its many aspects. The Western mainstream propaganda machine continues to push the false narrative that the Russian military allegedly “failed”because it didn’t take nearly 600,000 km² (Ukraine is the largest country wholly in Europe) in just two days while avoiding civilian casualties (unlike the Neo-Nazi junta) and being outnumbered approximately 2:1. Secondly, we should also take into account the task president Putin gave to the Armed Forces on February 24, 2022, best illustrated by two words — demilitarization and denazification. According to reports citing Israeli intelligence, both tasks seem to be going exactly as planned.

The staggering losses of the Kiev regime forces (including the virtually total annihilation of a number of purely Neo-Nazi formations) have no parallel in any conflict in recent memory, anywhere in the world and most likely since the end of the Second World War. And while Russia’s losses are certainly not negligible, the casualty ratio with the Neo-Nazi junta forces is simply incomparable. If nearly nine Kiev regime soldiers dying for every Russian serviceman killed means “defeat”, then yes, the political West’s mainstream propaganda machine is certainly “right”, the Russian military is most definitely “losing”. However, in all seriousness, as previously mentioned, being one of the largest and most important systems of Russia’s state apparatus, its armed forces have made some pretty dramatic changes to enhance their capabilities.

A somewhat similar scenario happened after Russia intervened to stop Mikheil Saakashvili’s NATO-backed attack on Abkhazia and South Ossetia in 2008. The Russian military performed all the given tasks in mere days, but the operation prompted the much-needed reforms that created the Eurasian giant’s modern armed forces. And while the discrepancy between the Russian military before and after 2008 was much bigger than it is now (before and after 2022), valuable lessons were learned and, most importantly, they’re being promptly implemented. In addition to enhancements in logistics and other crucial optimizations, new ideas are being adopted while the operational doctrine is being adjusted to meet the ever-changing requirements of the 21st-century battlefield.

This is particularly true in regard to unmanned systems and ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) capabilities, both tactical and strategic. Having the ability to locate and continuously observe enemy forces is of crucial importance for improving the precision of both the frontline troops and the unitsoperating long-range weapons. The more traditional approach of pummeling the enemy with massive amounts of firepower, while still useful, is slowly giving way to surgical strikes at ever longer ranges. In addition, Russia’s already top-of-the-line air defense units gained invaluable insights and experience on how to better counter hostile long-range precision weapons and munitions. This is particularly true for short-range/point-defense systems such as the already legendary “Pantsir” which is now starting to implement crucially important updates to counter weapons such as the US-made HIMARS.

Other important changes include the comprehensive revamping of Russia’s military industry, which is now getting upgrades faster than at any point in the last 30 years. Many of the Soviet-era facilities have been restored and restarted (or are about to), which is also helping the Russian economy to become even more self-sufficient. The massive 1990s economic contraction in defense production and procurement (halted only in the early 2000s) is now being completely reversed, which will ensure Russia’s strategic security in the foreseeable future and beyond. As previously mentioned, it’s virtually impossible to avoid problems in such a massive system, but these issues are being tackled. This is particularly true in terms of the removal of decades-old bureaucratic procedures that were slowing down the necessary reforms.

With such obstacles (soon to be) largely eliminated, the command structure will surely become even more efficient, particularly as the flow of real-time battlefield information increases due to enhanced ISR. In turn, improving such capabilities will likely push further investments in Russia’s space sector, as space-based systems will become increasingly important. Additionally, although NATO’s vast satellite network has been preventing a complete defeat of the Kiev regime forces for an entire year now, this gave the Russian military precious experience to develop successful counters to such capabilities, including improvements to Moscow’s ASAT (anti-satellite) weapons. This could very well undermine NATO’s capabilities in the long run, drastically reducing the chances for a potential “Barbarossa 2.0” against Russia.

All things considered, the Russian military is continuing its well-over-a-millennium-old tradition of quickly adapting to new conditions and enemies. Regardless of whether the reports about the upcoming major Russian offensive are true, at worst, Moscow certainly has the capacity to continue and maintain its special military operation. Having destroyed over 70% of the original Kiev regime forces, the task of demilitarization continues unabated, which also explains the Neo-Nazi junta’s frenzied attempts to acquire ever more weapons. And while the mainstream propaganda machine will surely carry on with its attempts to discredit and denigrate the Russian Armed Forces, the Eurasian giant will continue to fulfill its primary tasks in Ukraine — the thorough demilitarization and denazification of the historically Russian lands occupied by a NATO proxy.

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