Russia’s Military Would Fail Against Poland or Turkey

Russia is still slowly taking some smaller cities in the southeast of Ukraine but the Kyiv offensive is bogged down. What we have clearly learned is that Russia’s military and its equipment remain second rate.

Russia has taken significant chunks of Eastern Ukraine but that seems to be the limit of their capability. Russia would fail against Poland or Turkey.

The Polish military has 160,000 active personnel and 100,000 reserves. Two weeks ago, Poland announced an increase defense spending to three percent of gross domestic product next year, Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski announced on Thursday. Warsaw currently devotes 2.2 percent of GDP to the military budget. Poland has declared its ambition to become the strongest military power in Central Europe. Poland is expanding the Polish Armed Forces to 300,000 personnel. This would be about 200,000 full-time and 100,000 part-time forces. This is expanding the 160,000 currently active (113,000 regular active servicemen and women and 32,000 TDF. This would double the army’s size.

The Turkish Armed Forces is the second largest standing military force in NATO, after the U.S. Armed Forces, with an estimated strength in 2021 of 895,000 military and paramilitary personnel. Turkey’s Bayraktar drones have been highly effective in Ukraine.

Russia’s economy is already smaller with the collapse of the Ruble. Russia will probably end up around $1 trillion GDP with virtually no growth. Turkey and Poland will pass the Russian economy in size.

Turkey has over 300 Bayraktar drones. Turkey has a significant and active military combat drone program. The largest operator of TB2 drones is the Turkish military but an export model has been sold to the militaries of a number of other countries. Turkey has used the drone extensively in strikes on Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and People’s Protection Units (YPG) targets in Iraq and Syria Bayraktar drones were used by Azerbaijan in the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war and by Ukrainian forces during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The Institute for the Study of War has the following highlights:

Russian forces are unlikely to launch offensive operations to encircle Kyiv larger than the scattered Russian attacks observed northwest of Kyiv targeting Irpin on March 14 and Guta-Mezhyhirska on March 15 within the coming week but may launch further tactical attacks.
Russian forces continued to assault Mariupol from the east and west.
Russian forces did not conduct major offensive operations toward northeastern Kyiv in the past 24 hours.
Russian forces attempting to encircle Kharkiv continue to face supply shortages, particularly regarding ammunition.
The Russian military falsely claimed to have captured the entirety of Kherson Oblast on March 15 but did not conduct any major operations toward either Zaporizhya or Mykolayiv.

Task and Purpose has sought out direct reports of Russian military success. Russia has captured positions, equipment and destroyed Ukrainian equipment. Slow military advance are still advances. Russia has captured most of the southern coastal areas and small cities and a significant chunk of the east. Ukraine is fiercely resisting Russian advances but has not yet been able to push Russia back from early advances.

This war is again showing that Russian equipment and military is second rate. This was shown over the past several decades in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Georgia and other Russian wars. Most of the equipment on both sides is Russian and Soviet era gear. Ukraine has mostly old Soviet gear. The American stinger and American javelin antitank gear is superior. The Russians have lost nearly 400 out of 1200 tanks.

This shows that Russia would utterly fail to take Poland or any NATO-backed country. Russia can continue to try to modernize and improve gear and tactics but Russia has failed to solve equipment and military logistics problems for the past forty years. However, Germany, Poland, Baltics, Sweden and Finland are all increasing military spending and getting more NATO support. A few dozen A-10 Warthogs would destroy all of these Russian columns in days. The US has 177 A-10 Warthogs that are still in service.

The number of soldiers and the gear in the Russia-Ukraine war is fairly comparable to the situation in the Iran Iraq War (1980-1988). Iran Iraq was a long eight-year between two armies with about 200,000 troops on each side. The Iraqi military made progress for three months and then stalled. Iran launched an offensive about two years into the war. Russia could mostly stall after a few months but Ukraine would not be able to launch effective attacks into Russia. Russia has more heavy weapons and mass destruction weapons. Ukraine could retake lost cities and territories over time.

Russia does not have the Soviet-era war machine which could take and hold half of Europe. The size of the military is less and the equipment and military have not kept pace with precision war. Russia’s military is still superior to any Middle Eastern country. Russia’s military is far less effective at offensive action. Russia would still be able to punish and resist attacks on its own territory.

If the people of a target country actively and continually resist, then conquering and holding countries with more than 20 million people is beyond the current militaries of the world. The US was able to semi-conquer Afghanistan (population 40 million) but holding it was very difficult.

SOURCES- Institute of War, Task and Purpose
Written by Brian Wang,

30 thoughts on “Russia’s Military Would Fail Against Poland or Turkey”

  1. A couple of observations
    (1) The US success in Afghanistan relied on gaining support of tribes and factions within the territory of Afghanistan. To put it simply, Afghanistan can either be considered a failed state or a fringe location where the Westphalian nation-state paradigm breaks down. There is little to no sense of national identity overriding tribal identity. This is not the case in the Ukraine, so the comparison is of little value.

    (2) The Ukrainian victory conditions are vastly different from the Russian. They simply need to continue to exist. To put it in wargaming terms – a stalemate in this position is a strategic Ukrainian victory maintaining their capital and the port of Odessa. The only strategic Russian victory would be conquering the entire country.
    Even a rump Ukrainian state centered around Ternopil would be a tactical victory for them and a strategic Russian defeat.

  2. The reason the Russians haven't advanced faster is because they are allowing people to leave. If they just rolled and said collateral damage that would be inexcusable. The Ukraine is now a state in the federation, there will be no NATO missiles stationed there or biolabs. It will be over by the end of the month. Conventional war is old school now its economic, wait until energy increases in Europe and all the metals and grains that don't get exported. Any war is stupid and will be felt by everyone.

  3. I fully agree, just read the Russians are now also hiring Syrian and Chechnyan volunteers. Not exactly a sign of military professionalism.

  4. if a country is serious about defending itself then it would arm and train everyone 16 to 70 women and men. Then organized them in reserve units. They would get a refresher every year for a week.

  5. Hate to say it but this is the same kind of analysis that lead you to think Maduro and Iran on the verge of collapse.

  6. That chart with the upper left starting with "13 Russia" could use some notation at the top of each column. I'm guessing the numbers in the rest of the columns might be GDP in certain years, but a caption telling us what the chart is about would be helpful.

  7. Until Putin is widely recognized as a neurotic mentally ill power addict, he is doing fine, from that big task's perspective. Do you see him as mentally ill? Humiliating himself? Eternally? "scum"?

    It was the latest speech to surprise and alarm many who study Putin. He has adopted what they say is an emotional, ranting tone

    "Any people, and particularly the Russian people, will always be able to
    tell apart the patriots from the scum and traitors and spit them out
    like a fly that accidentally flew into their mouths," Putin said during a televised address on Wednesday.
    "I am convinced that this natural and necessary self-cleansing of
    society will only strengthen our country, our solidarity, cohesion, and
    readiness to meet any challenge."

  8. Is it censored in US? In Russia? Do censors realize they are neurotic mentally ill power addicts humiliating themselves?

  9. Weapons have strengths and weaknesses. Russia have successfully took down lots of tomahawks in Syria and a few Bayraktars in Armenia using electromagnetic pulse guns placed in their military bases. Those guns are cheap, I guess.

  10. Yeah yeah… I cannot wait for radicalized Orthodox Ukrainian terrorists/drug dealers (also nazi), firing javelin ATW in French suburbs…

  11. Pfffff she and her "work" have been thoroughly debunked in France and internationally. A quick look at wiki and stop should convince you.

  12. The narrative coming from western media is highly skewed in favor of one side over the other. There's a lot that's missing from the awareness and discussion among western audiences. Here's a short documentary by French filmmaker Anne-Laure Bonnel which provides another view of the situation:

  13. That's not what happened – that's like saying "South Vietnam lost. They essentially told the world, we don't want democracy, go away." The reality is South Vietnam was being invaded by communist guerrilla forces coming from North Vietnam, who felt they were engaging in a war of liberation and reunification. Likewise, the reality is that Afghanistan was being invaded by Islamist guerrilla forces based in northern Pakistan, who again saw themselves as engaging in a war of liberation against infidel US/NATO occupation forces. Just as North Vietnamese and South Vietnamese are ethnically identical on both sides of the "border", likewise the people in Southern Afghanistan and in northern Pakistan are ethnically identical Pashtuns living on both sides of the "border". In both wars, the US military were unable to seal the "border". Ethnic commonality matters – just like the Russians living in Eastern Ukraine / Donbass and the Russians living in Russia proper. Americans, unable to see the intimate relations among these faraway peoples and their local kinships, are often clueless on their motivations. Guess what's now going to happen in Ukraine? There are lots of Western-supplied weapons flowing into that country, which may prolong the war against the Russians. The war will promote radicalism and even suck in radicals from abroad to fight for the cause, just as happened with Afghanistan. That radicalism will then have spillover effects onto surrounding European countries ('blowback').

  14. "After Tuesday’s negotiations, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
    said a neutral military status for Ukraine was being “seriously
    discussed” by the two sides, while Zelenskyy said Russia’s demands for
    ending the war were becoming “more realistic.”" -AP

    Now, a neutral Ukraine with Swiss style defensive military would be an improvement over even more NATO, from my libertarian perspective. Censors must be destroyed.

    edit: A testable claim! He will be remembered for saying it. ""It will not work – Russia has the might to put all of our brash enemies in their place," Medvedev said."

  15. The US lost to some sandal wearing farmers and left behind 80 billion dollars worth of equipment …

  16. In numbers they haven’t but they wouldn’t and couldn’t empty their entire military into Ukraine. What I mean is that the common claim that Russia has held back the most capable, best trained and professionally armed forces for an impressive second act is unlikely. Whatever gets mobilized from now on will be, at best, equal to what they have sent before and more likely a hastily unplanned mess. I’m not calling a loss yet for Russia by any means but whatever they win, respect for their military capability won’t be part of the prize.

  17. This article is absolutely right that Russia would fail against any significant NATO presence given their performance against Ukraine. However, that's really the only lesson we can take away from this war, and I think it's dangerous to conclude much other than that. Actually Iran and Iraq was a good comparison in that that war had absolutely no impact on the tactics of Nato forces when they later invaded Iraq. This war will have close to no meaning on how modern Western militaries operate.

    The US is still capable of projecting power basically anywhere it wants and is quite capable of conquering territories of much more than 20 million people. Now holding it for several years or decades on end might be a different story, but there's a whole another reason for that besides just it's offensive military capability.

  18. Have they even called up their reserves yet? If not, and the situation doesn't dramatically improve for them within the next week, Ukraine has likely won this war. This is certainly looking like one of the biggest military blunders in history.

  19. The key concepts here are synergy and force multipliers. The US military has become expert in these but Russia seems quite lacking.
    Based on the latest battles, I'd say 10,000 US troops would win against 100,000 Russian troops.

  20. They haven't deployed 10% of their actual capabilities, unless their 'actual capabilities' are really a Potempkin military.

  21. Putin on the Blitz. Not "holding back in hopes for a swift . . .". Unless he has even crazier plans than so far.

  22. People keep saying this and it sounds like it might be true at first but:

    1) Some of their top forces and equipment have been seen in action in places and it hasn’t made a great difference.

    2) High level brass has gotten killed because they were sent close to the front to straighten things out. Putin wouldn’t have done that if the plan was to grind out the B team as cannon fodder.

    3) They are pleading for Chinese supplies and Middle East mercs. That doesn’t suggest they have a big A team in the wings who isn’t desperately needed in other parts of the country to maintain stability.

    I accepted this theory at first but I’m less convinced now.

  23. Russia has still to this day deployed less than 10% of it's actual capabilities. The truth of the matter is simply this: Russia's holding back in hopes for a swift diplomatic victory or holding out to launch an all out offensive to leave nothing but scorched earth in Kyiv.

    Now considering Ukraine's economy and it's treasuries that are vital to Russia, do you really think Putin wants to destroy all the infrastructure he needs to rebuilt the Soviet Empire?
    At best he's going to completely annihilate Kyiv in a couple of weeks in order to decapitate leadership and hope for a surrender of the rest of the armed forces of Ukraine.

    Western propaganda has completely skewed the view here and is at full play. For the same reason you've been banned from Twitter Brian….wake up.

    I'm not saying Putin is any better, he's just the 1984 version of the world we live in, the west representing Brave New World. Considering this both factions are extremely good at what they do. The real loser here is neither but the population of both factions. We pay the price, quite literally.

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