Since 2012, the return of Vladimir Putin to the Kremlin and the arrival of Sergei Shoigu at the Ministry of Defense, Russian military programming, organized through multi-year programs called GPV, has been at the heart of the effort to rebuild the armies of Moscow. The latest GPV, begun in 2017, was to enable the Russian armies to consolidate their digital and technological ascendancy over their potential adversaries, with an annual budget of 2,000 billion rubles, or €30 billion devoted each year to the acquisition of new and modernization of equipment in service. Thus, just over a year ago, during the traditional assessment of progress made in this area, Sergei Shoigu announced that the Russian armies now had more than 70% "modern" equipment . However, the facts in Ukraine have largely qualified the Russian minister's comments.
Indeed, based on the visually confirmed destruction of Russian equipment since the start of the Special Military Operation in Ukraine , it appears that half of the battle tanks destroyed, damaged or captured were non-modernized Soviet models, such as the T- 72A/B/B-Obr1989, the T-80BV or the various lost T-62/64s. The same goes for armored infantry fighting vehicles, 80% of the losses being represented by non-modernized BMP-1 or 2, or artillery systems, for which 90% of the systems lost were inherited from the Soviet era. In fact, the rate of 70% of modern equipment is actually only observed in losses for aircraft, ships and anti-aircraft defense and electronic warfare systems. In any case, faced with the terrible losses which have largely undermined the capabilities of the Russian armies, the Kremlin announced, at the beginning of November, that it had repealed the GPV currently in progress , as well as the preparatory work for the next GPV, to take, directly, control of the Russian industrial defense effort, and concentrate investments towards economical, efficient and quickly produced equipment, in order to try to respond to the challenge posed by the Ukrainian armies supported by the West.
The Kremlin's decision, also rushed since it must take effect before November 14, makes sense in view of the situation. While most of the elite Russian troops were dislocated during the first months of combat, Moscow now intends to rely on a defensive strategy based simultaneously on the construction of a vast network of fortifications to block the Ukrainian advance, and on the mass resulting from present and future mobilization efforts to arm these defenses. However, the Russian mobilized, due to rapid training and lack of previous military experience, cannot effectively use modern and highly technological weapons, especially since these materials have not previously stood out for their effectiveness, even in the hands of duly trained soldiers. In addition, the Russian defense industry, exposed to Western sanctions, is struggling to produce this modern equipment, even though it is able, at lower cost, to re-produce equipment dating from the 70s and 80s, less efficient but simpler, and without imported components.
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