Not long after the Russian dictatorship was mocked and ridiculed for coercing thousands of its own citizens to needless deaths — ill-equipped, unprepared and misled conscripts sent into “action” against Ukraine — news started circulating about its “best tanks” loitering empty and abandoned.
Ukraine Just Captured Russia’s Most Advanced Operational Tank: The T-90M is the latest main battle tank to enter front line Russian service, and one has now been captured by Ukrainian forces.
Perhaps it is easy to see why Russia’s “most advanced” weaponry would be just a sitting duck, empty and silent, for its alleged targets as they approached.
This tank’s crew had been abandoned by Russia long before they climbed out and walked away from their poorly maintained armor in a feckless “action”. I’m sure they were thinking “if this isn’t a war, then why am I being asked to die in this dumb box”.
Russians have a far higher chance of living to see another day when they walk away from the false leadership of team Putin.
The Ukrainian army’s counteroffensive around the city of Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine starting on Sept. 6 destroyed half of the best tank division in the best tank army in the Russian armed forces. A hundred wrecked or captured tanks in a hundred furious hours. That’s how much destruction the Ukrainians inflicted on the Russian 4th Guards Tank Division, part of the elite 1st Guards Tank Army, the Russian army’s best armor formation.
A large amount of the “most advanced” technology by Russia in their “best armor formation” was toast within a few hours.
Abandonment in mid September is thus predictable if we believe Russian soldiers in any way were aware of that action let alone initial battle test results five months ago in early May.
Russia’s Best Tank Destroyed Just Days After Rolling into Ukraine […] Kyiv first reported the presence of the T-90M in eastern Ukraine on April 25.
There’s no need to get into the weeds on why this tank is terrible, I mean beyond understanding that Russia delivers sub-par engineering, with unreliable service/support, and non-existent ground leadership (a norm in dictatorships).
From an engineering quality and safety perspective you might say Putin is on par with Musk, driving a Russian tank in Ukraine is about as safe as being in Tesla on public roads.
Or if you prefer history as a comparison instead of “future” cars, Russia appears to be repeating mistakes much like the doomed Nazi crews condemned to serve the hot-headed and disorganized Rommel in WWII.
A detail about Russian tank engineering is still worth noting here, given the increasingly low morale of Russians who expect to die in them. Instead of latching onto an industrial-age fantasy of “automation” that treats its soldiers as disposables, the American tank platform actually is designed to depend on highly skilled and valued operators.
Difficulties fielding the latest and greatest tank led Russia to pivot from the T-14 and reinvest in older T-80s and T-90As. […] “China and Russia are still operating under a three-man crew mindset and maintaining an auto-loader system,” Sgt. Emmett Fulgham, a tank gunner with 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, told Coffee or Die Magazine last summer. “We have a four-man crew with an actual human loader. Most loaders can do their job in five seconds on a bad day but usually in under four. Russian tanks still take 10 seconds to load, if not longer, so for every round they get off, we can fire two or three times.”
Read that again just to be clear on this point. And especially keep in mind Tesla CEO’s false promises of a future with no need for human interaction with machine.
Over-confidence in full-automation has led both to difficulties in the latest generation of technology achieving readiness. And even if it goes to full production in real-world conditions (battle deployment for T90, public roads for Model 3) it’s not even on par with more-reliable higher-performance human-centered augmentation machinery.
To put it another way Russian leadership doesn’t care about humans much, and certainly doesn’t care about quality or reality. This translates into a ruthless bully mindset that targets defenseless civilians, the most vulnerable, as a quick fix to feel artificially powerful.
Bodies recovered from mass burial site in liberated Ukrainian city ‘show signs of torture’. More than 400 bodies said to be buried at site, including women and children, with Ukrainian president likening discovery to massacre of Bucha.
When any real resistance shows up — military force of trained soldiers and modern weapons — the Russian bully melts into a puddle or runs away.
Russia’s latest response to all this, in light of a very public melt-down, brings us to yet another empty-sounding move.
Any Russian citizen who is in the reserve can receive a call-up notice. Basically, this can be any man up to the age of 60. “There haven’t been cases like this in peace time, yet by law it is possible. Generally, soldiers and junior officers in reserve are called up. […] “There is no criminal responsibility for refusing the call-up. Just an administrative warning or a fine of up to $10,” Murakhovsky concluded.
Sorry, my bad, that’s actually a story from 2018.
I guess it’s still worth noting from 2018 that Putin is legally allowed to try and get military reserves to fight during peace-time (keeping up the ruse of not being at war with a foreign country while sending soldiers to predictable death in one) and that there’s no penalty for refusing such a suicidal call.
On that point, here’s the actual September 2022 news story about Putin flaunting a call to action.
One-way flight tickets out of Russia began to rapidly begin selling out following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement of a partial military mobilisation to call-up 3,00,000 reservists to shore up Russia’s manpower-depleted forces fighting a floundering war in Ukraine…. searches for Aviasales — Russia’s most popular platform for purchasing flight tickets, with a monthly audience exceeding 15 million users — spiked considerably immediately following Putin’s announcement.
The migration data is important. It’s a superb counter-argument to hawkish analysts who try to float things like “at some stage, all the ‘dumb Russians’ will be dead and a few good generals will ultimately become replacements”.
Uhhh, nope. Smart Russians are either leaving, if not already gone, or desperately trying to appear dumb to avoid being seen as a threat to Putin.
Perhaps we can say it’s like the American Civil War where Generals on a rather stupid side of fighting to expand slavery became dumber and dumber (brutal, petty and useless) as time wore on.
Soon headlines should read something like this (puns obviously intended):
Put-in something they don’t want, Rushin’ to get away
The Russian soldiers, despite being under Elon Musk-like censorship and propaganda, clearly saw they should be leaving behind Tesla-like death-trap automation boxes. Russian reservists meant to replace them now also apparently think it’s better to leave behind their military duty.
It all shows how Putin’s attempts to play his best hand instead has repeatedly revealed major weakness of the dictator.
“The whole system is in shock and what makes this situation worse is the absolutely inadequate reaction of Putin personally,” [ex-speechwriter to Putin] Gallyamov told CNN, adding that when Putin “is in shock himself” and “doesn’t know how to act,” the Russian leader “is trying to show that nothing bad is happening.”
Expect passive resistance in Russia to soon turn very hot.
No clear leadership transition plan in that context begs the obvious next question.
Who can replace Putin? It doesn’t bode well for Russian stability that a smooth transition isn’t in the deck of cards Putin wants Russia to play with.
Dictatorship suggests a very rough road ahead (e.g. see recent news of “suspicious ends met by those who crossed the Kremlin“), unless maybe Putin takes a note from everyone around him (including his infamous friend Snowden) and runs away.
On a related note, how many innocent people must die before Musk leaves Tesla?