A "split" in the Russian information space over the assessment of Putin's army: ISW explains what is happening

Maryna LisnychukNews
Russian propagandists criticize Russian attack tactics that lead to infantry losses

Against the backdrop of the ongoing war against Ukraine, the Russian information space is characterized by contradictory rhetoric about the Russian army. In particular, between narratives that seek to portray the Russian Armed Forces as more combat-ready than the Ukrainian Armed Forces and criticizing the Russian army for shortcomings that lead to large infantry losses.

This is stated in a report by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW). Analysts have suggested that such contradictions may be beginning to affect the broader Russian understanding of the war.

For example, several Russian bloggers have recently discussed and criticized the tactic of the Russian military command of moving infantry in armored vehicles to the front lines before landing for a frontal attack.

"This is not a new tactic for either Russian or Ukrainian forces, but it is one that has recently seemed to attract more attention from Russian military commentators," ISW noted.

On April 8, the Russian Defense Ministry published footage of units of the 98th Guards Airborne Division apparently using such tactics on the outskirts of Chasovyi Yar, east of Bakhmut. In the "nice" video, armored vehicles transported infantry to the front lines, the soldiers disembarked, and the vehicles quickly withdrew.

But, commenting on this video, one Russian blogger told a different scenario of the occupiers' "journey" in armored vehicles. According to him, about 25 Russian servicemen were riding aboard a tank in an unspecified area before Ukrainian forces either hit it or it hit a mine, forcing the Russian Armed Forces personnel to quickly flee across the road without any shelter.

The propagandist called these Russian soldiers "lucky" because they were not covered by Ukrainian artillery at the time, and he characterized the tactics as "extremely crazy." However, another of his colleagues disagreed, saying that the use of armored personnel carriers and tanks to quickly transport and land infantry was more indicative of the lack of Russian armored vehicles in certain areas of the front than of the basic tactics of such attacks.

Another blogger noted that it was actually Ukrainian strikes that significantly reduced the number of Russian armored vehicles, especially near Avdiivka (Donetsk region) and Krynok (Kherson region). According to him, for this reason, Russian troops have to be content with a very small number of armored vehicles to transport personnel to compensate for the losses in vehicles and prevent further developments of similar events.

Another blogger wondered why the Russian media focused on footage of "unsuccessful" Ukrainian armored attacks during the counteroffensive in the summer of 2023, although Russian troops themselves face many of the same tactical challenges in conducting such attacks, especially due to the saturation of drones on the battlefield.

He acknowledged that the reality of the presence of Russian soldiers on the territory of Ukraine is strikingly different from the talk promoted in the Russian information space. He also emphasized that Russian commentators can "laugh at Ukraine's counteroffensive in the Zaporizhzhia sector" and then lose many more of their soldiers in the Avdiivka sector. The propagandist suddenly concluded that Russia was lying to itself about the losses it had suffered in the war against Ukraine.

A ''split'' in the Russian information space over the assessment of Putin's army: ISW explains what is happening

"The discussion among Russian bloggers about the use of armored vehicles and their survivability on the battlefield, as well as the conduct of attacks, highlights arguments that many propagandists continue to make about how the war is being fought. This suggests that many bloggers in Russia are very aware of the impact these conversations have on the broader Russian understanding of the war," ISW concluded.

As reported by OBOZ.UA, some units of the Russian Armed Forces fighting against Ukraine use violence against their colleagues. Drunkenness, extortion, and torture prevail in the ranks of the occupiers, which ultimately end in murder.

Only verified information is available on our Telegram channel OBOZ.UA and Viber. Do not fall for fakes!

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