The Russian army has always lacked weapons in all its wars
For those who favor simple solutions, let me remind you of history
For the past several centuries, Russia has had the largest army in Europe. And they have always used this advantage.
However, despite this numerical advantage, they often lost wars to European countries with smaller armies that were more economically developed.
First of all, because Russia's main problem has always been its inability to provide its army with the necessary number of weapons.
In wars with undeveloped countries, this issue was less apparent as they faced similar challenges. But it became very noticeable in wars with more efficient European economies.
For example, in World War I, Russia had the largest army of any country. And while Germany mobilized 3.8 million people at the beginning of the war, Russia mobilized as many as 5.3 million people. Yes, on the Eastern Front, Russia also fought against Austria-Hungary, which had an army of 2.3 million.
But we should not forget that Germany was fighting on two fronts at the time and in the first year concentrated the lion's share of its forces on the Western Front against France and Britain.
At the same time, Russia fought on only one front, having a total advantage in manpower over the enemy. However, it lost the war, primarily because of its own inability to provide the army with the necessary weapons. And there were two reasons for this: weak production + long distances multiplied by an underdeveloped railroad, which led to delays in deliveries.
Speaking of production, the simplest example of weakness is the production of rifles.
The Russians promised their allies that they could mobilize an additional 2 million people, but their industry was only capable of producing 40,000 rifles per month.
The situation with artillery was no better. Before the war began, no country had any idea of the future nature and intensity of the fighting. Nor did anyone expect artillery to become so important. And almost every participating country faced the problem of “shell famine” in a short period of time.
However, while Western countries quickly overcame this problem, Russia was unable to solve it until the end of the war.
This circumstance, in turn, resulted in Germany, engaged on two fronts, having an overall advantage in artillery over Russia. Consequently, Germany effectively leveraged this advantage to push its forces eastward.
Nominally, Russia did not acknowledge its defeat, but the war, marked by the loss of territory and immense human casualties, triggered a revolution. This revolution ultimately resulted in the emergence of an independent Ukraine. Unfortunately, owing to challenges inherited from the empire, Ukraine struggled to sustain its independence.
And with this example, I just wanted to show the nuance that is constantly ignored in our country for some reason. Supporting the army is no less important than the army itself.
About the author: Pavlo Vernivskyi, economist, expert at the Oleksandr Pol Institute.
The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by the blog authors.