Russia Plans To Increase Army To 1.5 Million Despite Falling Revenues, Raising Doubts Over Implementation
Russia plans to increase its army size from 1.15 million to 1.5 million by 2026 in response to NATO expansion. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu cites “military security of the state” and “new subjects” – the areas of Ukraine illegally annexed by Russia – as reasons for the increase.
In addition to the increase in size, Moscow wants to change the organization of the troops by transitioning from brigades to divisions in order to give units more autonomy. It is believed that such a reform could be completed by 2026.
The current age restriction for military service is from 18 to 27 years of age, with 270,000 soldiers recruited each year in the first and last terms. With the new reform, the age limit will be from 21 to 30 by 2024.
However, questions remain on how the Kremlin will recruit the extra 350,000 soldiers in face of the falling oil and gas revenues. Israeli military expert David Sharp says that this is the only good card left for Russia and that the reform could only be achieved with additional mobilization.
Ukrainian expert Andrei Rischenko believes that Russia will not be able to implement its plans due to the losses in stated income. He points out that equipping a soldier with everything he needs costs about $80,000. Many Russians are also not in support of the plans.
Once the additional soldiers are recruited, it remains to be seen if they will be able to bridge the gaps in the armed forces as Ukraine-Russia war has caused heavy losses for the Russian army.