By word of mouth, Russians have learned that their military in Ukraine are suffering and dying for lack of supplies. Across Russia, grass-roots movements, led in large part by women, have sprung up to crowdsource aid for Russian soldiers. Civilians (with no input from the Russian government) are organizing supply runs, driving hundreds of miles from Russia into Ukraine.
These include medical supplies, backpacks, along with shoes, Q-tips, socks, headlamps, lighters, hats, sugar and batteries. Laser-equipped range finders and night-vision goggles made for hunting from sporting goods stores (not manufactured in Russia). Other “consumer electronics” (could that mean cell phones with GPS?). Consumer drones made by the giant Chinese company DJI which “have become so firmly entrenched in combat operations that it’s become hard to imagine the war without them.” Materials to treat shrapnel wounds and burns were needed “in great quantities” on the Russian side of the front due to American howitzers.
The Russian military’s apparently urgent need for essential medical equipment and basic, foreign-made consumer devices has led some Russians to wonder how the Kremlin has been spending its enormous military budget, more than 3 percent of the country’s total economic output.
Russian generals have treated recruits like disposable cannon fodder for hundreds of years. At least they are feeding them now instead of expecting them to forage for themselves from populations they invade. (At least, they are probably trying to feed them, although the article does mention crowdsourced potatoes.)
The Russian military reminds me of “The Incredible Hulk” (a Marvel comics character). Bang! Smash! Crude force to destroy, with no finesse. From the generals to the supply lines right down to the privates. Is this a cultural attitude? Incompetence? Corruption which diverts the resources that were ordered but not delivered?
It’s amazing how the Ukrainians, with relatively lightweight, inexpensive weapons, are mounting such an effective defense. Amazing that hand-held anti-tank weapons and consumer drones are having such a huge impact.