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Where Are Vladimir Putin and Sergei Shoigu Leading the Russian Army?

On 21st December 2022, at the extended meeting of the Ministry of Defence college in Moscow, Vladimir Putin and Sergei Shoigu summarized the past 2022 and discussed proposals to strengthen the army.



A special operation in Ukraine was inevitable due to the transformation of Ukraine into a hostile Nazi state. “Conflict with these powers, including Ukraine, turned out to be inevitable. The only question was when. Today is better than tomorrow.”

It is well known that today the military potential and capabilities of almost all major NATO countries are actively used in Ukraine against Russia.

Putin said: “Still, our soldiers, sergeants and officers are fighting bravely and steadfastly for Russia, confidently fulfilling their duties step by step. These tasks, of course, will be fulfilled in the entire territory of Russia, including in the new regions, the safe life of all our citizens will be ensured. Russia will not be completely militarized to the detriment of the economy as in the USSR. We will not repeat the mistakes of the past that we have destroyed our economy – where it is necessary and where it is not – in order to increase its defence capabilities. We will not try to militarize the country and militarize the economy.”

Putin has no doubt that all the goals set by the Russian Joint Operations Command in Ukraine will be achieved.

“Russia has everything needed for this. There are no restrictions on financing the army – the country provides everything the army needs.”

Putin compared the special operations soldiers in Ukraine with the heroes of the war with Napoleon, the First World War and the Great Patriotic War.


The hostilities, of course, also determined the issues we had to work on in particular.  Including the ones we discussed more than once. That is, communications, automatic command and control systems for troops and weapons, counter-battery tactics, etc.

The President pointed out that all the practical experience of the military operation should be systematized and used to train new military personnel. And elite soldiers and officers “should be promoted primarily to command positions.”


“I expect designers and engineers to continue to go to the front lines. They visit there regularly and then make adjustments to new equipment models” he said. 

Putin instructed the Ministry of Defence, the government and defence industries to continue working together to upgrade equipment and technology.

We know that there are no trivial things on the battlefield. First aid kits, uniforms, dry food, everything should be at the highest level. It is necessary to reinforce the troops with night vision devices and sights. Everything a soldier needs should be modern, convenient and reliable, he added.


Putin said that 91% of our nuclear capabilities are equipped with new weapons. The Strategic Missile Forces are already receiving Avangard hypersonic missiles. In the near future, the rocket troops will receive the Sarmat intercontinental missile.

Putin said: “At the beginning of January next year, the frigate Gorshkov, Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union, will enter combat service with the latest, I repeat, Zircon sea-based hypersonic missile systems, which is unique in the world.” 


Putin instructed the army to equip a maximum of different types of drones, from strategic to tactical. And every soldier should have access to aerial data. “We have no funding restrictions. The country gives everything the army wants. I hope the answer is properly formulated and the results are achieved” he said.

Stating that in 2023, the latest weapons supply to the army is expected to increase, the development and use of unmanned aerial vehicles, Putin said: “They must be everywhere, in combat teams, platoons, companies, battalions. The target must be identified as quickly as possible, information for the operation must be transmitted in real time. UAVs must be interconnected, integrated into a single reconnaissance network.”


Putin instructed: The partial mobilization carried out, which must be addressed immediately, has revealed some well-known problems. I know that the necessary precautions have been taken, but we still need to pay attention to this and set up this system in a modern way. “The unity of the army and the people has always been our strength” Putin recalled.

“Volunteers and citizens helping the military are worthy of gratitude by sending warm clothing, equipment, cars.”

The Department of Defence should be wary of criticism, even if it’s emotional.

“Soon there will be nothing but alms in Ukraine and we have everything. What I want to emphasize is that we, namely Russia, and there are very few such countries in the world, not to mention our neighbors, soon they will have nothing, everything will be only in the form of charity, and money, weapons and ammunition, only charity. Everything is completely different in Russia, we have everything.”


Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu spoke after the Russian leaPOINTHe reminded that the West gave weapons, advisors and intelligence information to Ukraine.

It should be known that NATO staff officers, artillery and other specialists are in the combat zone. The Minister of Defence reported that more than 500 US and NATO spacecraft operate in the interests of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, of which over 70 are military, the rest are dual-purpose.

27 NATO countries spent $97 billion to support Kiev. Shoigu did not ignore that weapons could spread all over the world, as happened after America’s escape from Afghanistan.


Shoigu said that it is planned to change the age for military service: “When recruiting into the Armed Forces, the age at which citizens can be recruited should be gradually increased from 18 to 21, and the limit should be increased to 30. The size of the army should also increase.”

Sergei Shoigu said: “To ensure the solution of the tasks of ensuring the military security of the Russian Federation, it is necessary to increase the number of armed forces to 1.5 million soldiers, including 695.000 contract soldiers.” In addition, he called for a gradual increase in the age for conscription. The start should be increased from 18 to 21, the upper limit from 27 to 30. (We can say that it will happen in 2023, in our opinion.) And he noted that it is necessary to provide conscripts with the opportunity to conclude a contract from the first day of service.

“I agree with the proposals for further structural changes” replied Putin, intervening. The Minister of Defence continued that the digitization of military registration and recruitment offices needs to be completed.

However, the proposal to increase the conscription period, which is still 1 year, which was voiced by Senator Vladimir Dzhabarov in the autumn and actively discussed in the media and social networks, was not mentioned in the board.

NOTE: (The Ministry of Defence claimed that it only relied on volunteers in Ukraine and that conscripted conscripts were not involved in the fighting. Before entering Ukraine, the Russian army had about 400.000 contract soldiers, of whom about 150.000 were in the ground forces. It is stated that approximately 120.000 people are recruited to the Russian Armed Forces every six months to perform their compulsory military service. 240.000 people per year. Considering the length of service, it is understood that approximately 240.000 conscripts serve in the Russian army each term. With the new structuring, it is planned to increase the number of compulsory soldiers to approximately 730.000 people in the army. This necessitates an increase in the number of conscripts in each period or an increase in the duration of military service.)


 All three were listed by Sergei Shoigu:

 1. Special Operations in Ukraine will continue until they complete their mission.

 2. Russian troops must maintain peace in Nagorno-Karabakh and Syria.

 3. Increasing the number of military personnel under the contract to 521 thousand by the end of the year, taking into account the replacement of citizens mobilized in troop groups and the recruitment of new formations.


“If we didn’t take appropriate measures in February, everything would have been the same for us, just from the worst positions.  The situation in Ukraine has been dragged by his so-called friends to a deadly stage for Russia and suicidal for the Ukrainian people.  And we see this even in the nature of hostilities, what happened there (Donbas) is simply unbelievable, the Ukrainians are thrown into a furnace as if they didn’t exist at all, and that’s it.

He added: “They (West-Ukraine-USA.) followed their interests, weakened and disintegrated historical Russia. And today they are absolutely ruthless towards their compatriots, constantly supplying Ukraine with weapons, transferring mercenaries there. At their own expense, they support their geopolitical goals, which have nothing to do with the interests of the Ukrainian people. It also aims to weaken, dismember and destroy Russia.”

“Partial mobilization has been carried out to stabilize the situation, protect new territories and conduct further offensive operations. The Russian armed forces are taking comprehensive measures to prevent civilian deaths in Ukraine, and special operations will continue until 2023, until all targets are achieved.’’

The president eventually assured them that he had no plans to militarize the economy. The development of the armed forces will be calm and orderly, the state will fulfill all social obligations.

‘’We have everything. Every opportunity to grow your potential. We will certainly do this without any discounts.” Moreover, unlike many other countries, the head of the country assured on the basis of his own scientific technological production and personnel.

NOTE: (Note that 30% of Russia’s 2023 budget is reserved for the Ministry of Defence.)


In his speech, the Minister of Defence called for the re-creation of the Moscow and Leningrad military districts, the creation of new divisions and brigades, including two air divisions.

The size of the army will be increased to 1.500.000 people, 670.000 of whom are contract soldiers. Tank armies will be supplied with their own army aviation.

Outsourcing will be abandoned, as there is no other unit, no one to feed the troops, no equipment repaired, no fuel and lubricants delivered to the combat zones.  

“The transition to outsourcing in 2008-2012 led to the virtual extinction of military repair establishments, as measures have been taken to recreate them since 2012.”  

(This means that full-time military maintenance units, food control systems in canteens have been restored, and all military camps will be equipped with modern systems for common resources.)

The minister believes that it is necessary to create two special strategic regional units, he explained that these are the Moscow and Leningrad military districts. The reason for this is due to the intention of Finland and Sweden to join NATO.

It is also necessary to improve the structure of individual units:

– Each combined armed army should have a mixed aviation division and an army aviation brigade containing 80-100 combat helicopters,

– It is also necessary to create three aviation division directorates, eight bomber regiments, one fighter aviation regiment, six army aviation brigades,

– Five divisions will be formed in the navy, based on the existing brigades in the coastal units of the navy,

– Five artillery divisions of military districts as well as artillery brigades with high firing and effective power will be formed,

– As part of the combined arms formations in the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions, a Corps will be formed in Karelia – the region in the Finnish border region – and the Corps will consist of three motorized rifle divisions,

– Two air attack divisions of the Air Force will be formed,

Combat Service Support units and their activities will be improved, and special measures will be taken for the security of the rear area. Three maintenance-repair facilities will be established next year and relevant units at the military level will be strengthened. The goal is to fix bugs.  According to the minister, military repairs were almost destroyed due to the transition to outsourcing in 2008-2012. This skill has been lost.


The Board reported on weapons entering service:

– One of the main innovations is the Generalissimo Suvorov nuclear submarine with Bulava ballistic missiles, a fourth-generation nuclear missile carrier.

– After successful tests, they began to deploy heavy missiles of the Sarmat complex. It was also loaded with nuclear trio Tu-160M ​​bombers.

– This made it possible to equip the regiments of the Strategic Missile Forces with Avangards, as well as to increase the share of modern weapons in the strategic nuclear forces to 91 percent. 

– Shoigu stated that overall, over the past year, the military’s combat capabilities have increased by 13 percent.

– And in January, the sea-based hypersonic missile systems “Zircon” and the frigate “Admiral Gorshkov” will be put into service. The renewal of the armed forces will continue.


Shoigu outlined plans to create new troops and force groups in western Russia, including a Corps to be deployed to the northwestern region of Karelia, near Finland.

The plans marked a return to the Soviet-era military structure that Russia had abandoned during the recent military reforms that created smaller, more mobile units (the creation of TTG-Battalion Tactical Groups made up of professional contracted soldiers after 2008, when Divisions were converted into Brigades).

Some Russian military experts have argued that such small units intended for use in local conflicts are inadequately manned and equipped for mass conflicts, such as the action in Ukraine.

Shoigu explained that the existing infantry, air and naval brigades will be reshaped into divisions, which are larger units that Russia had in the past and are still owned by the United States and some NATO allies. It also announced that several new divisions will be installed. As part of a planned reform, some air force units will be subordinated to ground forces groups in order to increase coordination between them, which many observers say remains inadequate during the conflict in Ukraine.


“Many of the military reform decisions that began in 2008 will be rolled back. The special military operation has made it clear that the compact and mobile professional army previously relied on is not sufficient to protect such a large country.”

Expert Boris Rozhin believes: “These are the outlines of the future army.” He states that the funeral of the Amphibious Operations Units is early and does not have much place in today’s battles.

According to him, there will be no agreement because the West is not ready to recognize Russia’s right to an equal agreement with itself. The expert writer made the following statement:

“We did not fit into the civilized world. The military expects a very important reform as a result of both the various shortcomings that have emerged in the Ukrainian operation and the increasing threat from the United States and NATO.”

“Very soon all expectations and maneuvers will end and movement will begin on all fronts. And what they expect and where they expect will not be. Soon” military blogger Alexei Zhivov said on the TG channel.

We understand that Russia will increase its military power, try to create a stronger offensive force, take precautions against new threat areas such as Finland, and benefit more from technology through its military restructuring. However, we could not fully understand why he abandoned the Regiment-Divisional structuring, which he passed in 2008, from the Battalion-Brigade structuring.  

The vehicle-equipment-weapon equipment of these troops could not be fully understood in the battlefield, as it may be due to the problems they encountered in managing the Brigades that they used in large numbers in the Battle Field, but in our opinion, the problems were not fully analyzed and their inadequacy in combating the tactical level unit trainings could not be revealed. We would also like to point out that it is in technology that cannot be met.

In summary, it is necessary to understand that we are heading towards a future where peace will increasingly be a dream, tensions, crises and wars will continue to take place in the world.

(E) Brigadier General Levent Köse

About the Author: Born in 1960 in the Beykoz district of Istanbul, Levent Köse’s hometown is Giresun-Görele. After graduating from primary and secondary school, he graduated from Kuleli Military High School between 1977 and the Turkish Military Academy between 1981 and served as Team and Company Commander in various units. Between 1992 and 1994, he completed his education at the Turkish Military Academy and served as a Staff Officer in various units as Branch Manager, Battalion Commander and Regiment Commander. He was promoted to Brigadier General in 2010. He retired in 2014. He taught at the Turkish Military Academy between 2017-2021. During his duty, he studied at the Armed Forces Academy, the National Security Academy, and completed his master’s degree in the Faculty of Communication at Selcuk University.  

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