Putin has called for partial mobilization. But there are many indications that Russia is assembling a mass army. Is that purposeful? No, military experts believe. One historian even believes it will spell the end of Russia as we know it.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will send well over 300,000 men to the Ukraine war. This is the prediction of military historian Torsten Heinrich, who has dealt with the “partial mobilization” in Russia. “Rather, Russia is setting up a mass army that is supposed to overrun Ukraine with sheer mass,” he wrote on Twitter.

Heinrich is surprised that Putin doesn’t just “send what is absolutely necessary to stabilize the front” and train the rest well. Instead, it is indicated “that Russia simply intends to throw everything it can put in a uniform to the front. There is no proper training, even basic training.”

This is consistent with current reports. The Ukrainian general staff recently reported that Russia was sending recruits directly to the front without any preparation. There are increasing reports from Russia that far more than the 300,000 reservists announced by Defense Minister Shoigu may be drafted. Companies sometimes produce 25 million extra body bags as a preventive measure.

But what purpose would a mass mobilization have? The military expert Brett Friedman analyzes on Twitter that the sheer masses no longer win wars. “It won’t work for the Russians,” he writes. “Mass is one of the most common war strategies. But putting everyone in uniform creates units, but not capable units.”

Armies would not fight in mass formations for a long time. “It’s more about the quality of the troops, the planning, the coordination, the art of warfare,” Friedman said. The Russians, once pioneers, had been shown by the Ukrainians what modern warfare means.

Friedman concludes: “I don’t expect 300,000 hastily trained substitutes to get Ukrainians into trouble. It’s tragic, but they go straight into the meat grinder.”

Defense Minister Shoigu said only reservists with combat experience would be drafted. Experts directly doubted this, because there are not enough such men in Russia. Now it turns out that people are being drafted from all over the world, some men with no prior experience in the army, some old, sick or students who are said to have been evicted.

Military historian Heinrich analyses: “Despite months of preparation, the mobilization is practically completely disorganized and chaotic. That indicates a maximum misunderstanding of the situation on the part of the decision-makers.” It is either a question of incompetence or a rigid structure in the dictatorship, in which bad news is suppressed because it endangers the progress of the bearer.

Above all, Heinrich sees a problem for the troops: the morale of the troops deployed up to now has been bad. The morale of the units that are now moving up “will far undercut this. This should lead to massive rates of deserters and surrendering soldiers.” Especially since they come with the impression that without mass mobilization, victory against a country like Ukraine can no longer be achieved.

However, Heinrich goes one step further and analyzes the effects on Russian society. Many Russian men are currently trying to leave the country. The second brain drain, because after the invasion of Ukraine, some educated Russians went abroad.

Confidence in the regime is waning. In a country that already has major demographic difficulties, this is a problem. In addition, many young Russians will die as cannon fodder in Ukraine. Heinrich concludes that the economy also suffers from the fact that potential top performers end up “in the coffin or on the run”.

The loss of trust could also affect the country’s minorities, who were previously loyal to Putin but are now paying the price of blood in this war. “The moment it becomes clear that the majority is deliberately using up the minority for a war without this war posing a threat to the minority, secession becomes not just an attractive alternative but a practical necessity,” writes Heinrich.

All of that, the starving economy, the collapsing demographics, the loss of confidence in the legitimacy of the government, plus the broken armaments industry and the dwindling support from partner countries, all of this leads to one conclusion, according to Heinrich: “This is (at least) the end of Russia, (as we know it).”