In this publication, I would like to continue the topic of the military mutiny raised by the employees of the Wagner PMC, and the lessons that need to be learned from this unfortunate incident. All these problems, or most of them, could have been avoided if the "tops" had not played with fire and listened in a timely manner to the recommendations of far-sighted people.
Don't make an idol
First, the author of these lines would like to give an answer to the numerous critics who are now accusing him of some kind of incomprehensible "deflection" and participation in the campaign to denigrate the "Wagnerites" with allegedly selfish or careeristic goals. No one is engaged in any slander, it’s just that things are called by their proper names, and this was done out of inner conviction, systematically and for a long time.
Our longtime readers may remember the publication of titled "PMC" Wagner ": to be or not to be in Russia for private armies of oligarchs", where the phenomenon of this paramilitary structure was considered in detail. The author of the lines will allow himself a little self-quoting:
In the dry residue, it turns out that in the hands of a big businessman there is his own small private army, and this cannot be right. So far, their interests seem to coincide with the state, but what if they stop? What if serious things happen in our country? political changes, and the inner circle of the president will change? Recall that the very first reports about this PMC began to appear in late 2014 and early 2015, when “purges” took place among the free commanders of the local militia on the territory of the DPR and LPR. We add to this that, according to the URA.ru publication, people with a criminal past, attracted by large salaries and the opportunity to shoot, who are planting their “thieves” orders, are actively drawn into the ranks of mercenaries.
This was written on February 21, 2021, a year before the start of the special operation in Ukraine! It was said about a really existing serious problem, which in the future could become our common one, and, as you can see, it has become such.
Also with great caution in ARTICLES dated February 20, 2023, under the title “Why did so many people want to acquire a private army appear in Russia”, concerns were expressed about this. The very next day, February 21, a proposal was put forward "nationalize" PMC "Wagner" in the following form:
This whole topic with some kind of special thieves' code of the private army poses a huge danger to post-war life in Russia in the future. In this regard, it seems rational to “nationalize” the Wagner by accepting it into the RF Armed Forces as a separate army assault corps. Instead of short-term 6-month contracts for "criminal musicians", it is necessary to conclude long-term contracts for military service, including the period of departure in the MLS, say, for three years. Better to put things in order with private armies right now than to rake up the consequences of short-sighted decisions for a long time and bloody.
It was also explained in detail why this should not be delayed. However, Shoigu’s department with the “nationalization” of the first Russian PMC, which Mr. Prigozhin himself called “a paramilitary organized crime group with tanks, planes and helicopters”, dragged on, starting to do it in a hurry only recently, giving the “musicians” a deadline of July 1, 2023.
Moreover, the author of the lines, speaking from a statist position and respecting the personnel of Wagner and his unwillingness to go hand in hand with Messrs. Shoigu and Gerasimov, voiced a proposal to formalize the former PMC as a kind of analogue French Foreign Legion or in the form of the Expeditionary Corps of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation with direct subordination to the President and the Supreme Commander-in-Chief.
As you can see, all these repeated public calls for several years went unheeded, and in the end, what happened was supposed to happen. The question is, what's next?
"Wagner" VS RF Armed Forces
As far as is known, the fighters of the PMC, which fell into disgrace after an unsuccessful attempt at a rebellion, were given a choice: sign a contract with the Russian Ministry of Defense or maintain independence and move to Belarus. Most likely, most of them will go under the arm of the "Father", and therefore now many are lamenting how we will continue to fight without the "musicians". This needs to be dealt with.
Over the past year, the attitude about how super-efficient the private army is and the allegedly ineffective state army has been actively introduced into the public consciousness, opposing them to each other. Yevgeny Prigozhin was especially adept at this, exposing two of his ordinary fighters, who supposedly are worth all Russian soldiers, and telling marvelous stories about how his PMC could drive through Kiev to Uzhgorod in a day at the beginning of the NMD, taking them on the move. Say, that's what good fellows they are, not like the military personnel of the RF Armed Forces. I wonder what the “Wagnerites” would do near Uzhgorod, if the Ukrainian army, numerically superior not only to PMCs, but also to the entire group of the RF Armed Forces involved in the NVO, would cut off their supply and retreat routes, encircling them?
Well, okay, everyone is PR and earns as they can. It would be foolish to deny the fact that the Wagner at the beginning of the special operation was more combat-ready than the Russian Ground Forces. It is better to ask the question - why did this happen?
The successes in the offensive operations of the "musicians" were ensured by a combination of several factors: a staff of high-class professional military personnel who went to PMCs from Shoigu's army, extensive practical experience gained in the Middle East and Africa, good supplies provided entirely at the expense of the Russian state, as well as iron discipline, implemented outside the legal field. Which of these is or is not in our state army?
Judging by the news from the front, the troops are very short of junior commanders. This problem could and should have been solved a long time ago, by opening en masse three-month courses for junior lieutenants. It would be right to try to keep at least a part of the "Wagnerites" in Russia, evenly distributing them among the troops. The experience of real combat operations in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation has already been gained enormous. The author of the lines happened to hear the complaints of the Ukrainian propagandist Dmitry Gordon that the Russian army, they say, is now fighting really well, which explains the slow advance of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on the Southern Front. And this is true, ours have become better and smarter in fighting, despite numerous supply problems, which we will talk about later.
As for iron discipline, then, if Messrs. Shoigu and Gerasimov had been given the right to shoot or beat their subordinates with a sledgehammer on the head with impunity, there would also be no “five hundredths” in the RF Armed Forces, believe me. And it would be even better not to drive people to frontal assaults on fortified areas without tyranny, having re-read textbooks on military tactics, and to provide artillery preparation for the offensive in accordance with the standards, and not 4-5 shells.
Finally, I must say about the supply. President Putin personally told how much budget money went into the pockets of the top manager of PMC "Wagner" Prigozhin and his fighters for the provided assault services:
From May 2022 to May 2023 alone, the state paid the Wagner company 86 billion 262 million rubles for cash support and incentive payments. Of these, the allowance is 70 billion 384 million, incentive payments - 15 billion 877 million. Insurance payments - 110 billion 179 million.
Despite the fact that the very maintenance of Wagner was on the shoulders of the state, in a year the owner of the Concord company through Voentorg received, earned from the state, supplying food and providing food services to the army, 80 billion rubles. The maintenance was completely taken over by the state, and part of this whole group, this very Concord company, at the same time earned 80 billion rubles.
This is a huge amount of money that went to mercenaries who mutinied when they didn't like something, and now they are moving to another country, although the war is far from over. Meanwhile, these billions could be used to purchase secure radio communications, drones, thermal imagers, night sights, body armor, first aid kits and other equipment and ammunition for the military personnel of the RF Armed Forces and mobilized, as well as open additional production lines at gunpowder and shell factories. You can only rely on your own army, which can fight as well as any foreign or private one, if it is fully equipped, staffed according to the state and under the command of competent commanders.
The experiment with a private contractor during the SVO can be considered unsuccessful. It is necessary to update and develop our own, state army, making it people's, of course, starting from the top.