Maria Lipman

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Russian President Vladimir Putin at the headquarters of the Southern Military District, Rostov-on-Don, Russia, December 2022. Mikhail Klimentyev / Sputnik / Kremlin / Reuters

Winning a long war requires a mobilization of troops and supplies that can outlast the other side. Positive objectives and clearly defined goals are the path to victory. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt was able to mobilize American society around the imperative of Japan’s unconditional surrender. After a shocking attack on U.S. soil, Americans rallied around the objectives of defeating Japan, avenging the assault on Pearl Harbor, and eliminating the threat posed by imperial Japan. Those goals would have been sufficient to sustain the U.S. war effort, but Americans had an additional aim: to strike a blow for democracy.…  Seguir leyendo »

A woman says goodbye to a recently drafted man in Bataysk, Russia, September 2022. Sergey Pivovarov / Reuters

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “partial mobilization” intended to shore up his faltering war against Ukraine. The pretense that there is anything partial about this move, however, is about as convincing as Putin’s claim that Russia is merely carrying out a “special military operation” in Ukraine. After Putin’s announcement, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that 300,000 men with military backgrounds would be drafted. But some reports indicate that is not the number stated in official documents authorizing the mobilization, and the parts of Putin’s decree that were made public do not include any restrictions on the Defense Ministry’s authorization to draft people.…  Seguir leyendo »

Russian President Vladimir Putin has landed in an unenviable position. His country has the resources to inflict damage on Ukraine in perpetuity. But because the first phase of the war has been so costly for Russia and because Ukraine’s military is mounting such stiff resistance, Russia faces serious difficulty achieving anything meaningful on the battlefield without committing much more manpower than it currently has available.

Calling up large numbers of reservists while putting Russian society openly on a war footing solves the problem in theory. But it is something for which the Russian public is fundamentally unprepared. To date, Putin has referred to the war in Ukraine as a “special military operation” and held only one mass rally in support of the war.…  Seguir leyendo »