Vladimir Putin (70) invested thousands of billions of kroner in his army. However, Russia is struggling hard in Ukraine. Experts point to corruption as an important explanation.
– I think that Ukraine and we in the West can largely “thank” corruption for the fact that things went the way they did, says Joachim Pacekevi, a teacher at the Swedish Academy of Higher Education.
– What would have been good military departments ended up instead superyachts, he tells VG.
Many claim that the Russian army is moving from top to bottom. From Defense Minister Serge Sjogo to Individual Soldier.
Now imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny and his anti-corruption organization reveal Via his YouTube channel, Defense Minister Sjogo controls a luxury home worth $18 million (180 million kroner at today’s exchange rate). The property is located in the prestigious Barvikha in the west of Moscow.
Shoigu is the only one to have held the position of top management in Russia since Putin took power on New Year’s Eve 1999. He was the first crisis minister, then became defense minister in 2012.
Shoigu has always been one of Russia’s most popular politicians, not least because he’s always been down to earth and helped in his time as a responsible for disasters like plane crashes, forest fires, and natural disasters.
In the past five years, Vladimir Putin has spent nearly $100 billion (just over 1,000 billion kronor at current exchange rates) annually to equip the military, according to CIA Factbook. That’s nearly half of Norway’s oil fund.
– In total, Putin put nearly 5,000 billion Norwegian kroner into the army. A very large portion of this is stolen. Professor Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen of the Aleksanteri Institute in Helsinki tells VG that corruption is an important reason why things are going so poorly in the war.
Putin and many others believed in February that it would be possible for Russia to win the war in a few days. It didn’t turn out that way. The army was not what Putin thought.
Stig Fredrickson, author of a number of books on Russia, agrees:
– I think corruption is very, very important. Russia did not have the weapons and equipment it thought it had. Putin has invested in the armed forces for ten years, but much has been lost in corruption, Fredrikson tells VG.
– How was Putin to stop this?
– I don’t know about him wanted Stop it. After all, Putin is part of the corruption itself. He sprinkled money on the army for many years, but it’s impossible to see that he got anything from it.
– Do you think he knows how bad it is?
– I’m not sure about this. I think it was one of his miscalculations. Al-Suwaidi says he may have thought the armed forces were better equipped than they were.
Joakim Paasikivi in Swedish Försvarshögskolan:
With his military reform, Putin had to create a new and good Russian military power after the collapse of the Soviet Army. We thought that the restructuring would have been good, but in Ukraine it turned out that it did not work. We can largely “thank” corruption for that.
Corruption is very prevalent in Russian society, but perhaps even more pronounced in the armed forces. It goes all the way from top to bottom. From the fact that it is possible to bribe a way out of military service to the fact that the funds intended for the purchase of military equipment “disappear”. Even parcels sent from soldiers’ wives and mothers get lost on the way.
Lt. Col. Bassikevi continues:
– Those who are now mobilized are forced to buy their own equipment to a greater extent, at an exorbitant price, since the money for which it should have been used is lost, and there is no equipment in the warehouses.
Aage Borchgrevink, who is currently working with The Warlord in the Kremlin, says as follows:
It may have become more and more clear to Putin over the past few months how bad things are in the military.
– One of the reasons is that he built his isolation by silencing the mouths of the media.
Milachina, a well-known investigative journalist at Novaga Gazeta, makes the same point to VG:
– It is clear that the Kremlin has not caught up with all the corruption in the army. Because journalists are not allowed to work with this type of material, the leadership in Moscow is not getting the information they should have. The regime did not know how bad things were when the war broke out.
The army is an important institution that I have written about a lot. It is clear that the army’s image of the regime does not correspond to reality. It’s much worse. The Russian journalist tells VG that they have a fictional picture of how this happened.
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