A few years ago, I watched a film “Cyborgs” and wrote an article based on it “Newsreel of the Hybrid War”, in which I analyzed the motivation of the Ukrainian military. Not only, of course, based on the film, but also taking into account our own conversations with Ukrainian officers. And I noticed that the Ukrainian military has everything in order with motivation
We usually talked about the motivation of nationalist volunteer battalions, but there is just a specific motivation: they were good when it was necessary to crack down on poorly organized and often unarmed militias and “nightmare civilians”. Encountered with resistance, they, as a rule, showed themselves not in the best way.
But the motivation of the professional military was normal and long-playing – “I took the oath.” After this motivation is turned on, the further actions of the military are reflexive. Ideally, the military should think not about the order, but about its implementation. Moreover, two points must be taken into account:
a) Ukrainian officers of the middle and lower levels in the bulk did not take the oath of the USSR (23 years have passed, which USSR?);
b) in the overwhelming majority they were sure that they were at war with the Russian army (why and what for is another question).
Naturally, with the beginning of the special operation, the question became urgent: how will this motivation work in the new conditions? Moreover, the forecast was initially unfavorable, because the ideological core remained intact. Other factors could play a role: the cognitive dissonance of the very fact that the Russian army did show up; decisive superiority of the enemy; mass support of the enemy by the population. None of these factors worked to any significant extent.
The first factor turned out to be rather mobilizing (including for the military): “they finally invaded to the fullest, there are no more restrictions (there weren’t any before, but who thinks about it?), and now we will hit them” . The train of thought leading to the conclusion that Ukraine was clearly not at war with Russia for the previous eight years is too complicated, and the result of reflection is ambiguous.
The second played its role to a limited extent, mainly in the case of border guards, who have their own tasks. They did not sign up for full-fledged military operations. It’s funny, but among the Ukrainian border guards who surrendered in the first minutes of the war, there were originals who managed to be captured twice – they were released, they again ended up in the army and, without thinking twice, surrendered again. In the general case, this did not work, because there was no decisive superiority, both in general, due to the limited outfit of the allocated forces, and because of the general restrictions in connection with the conduct of the special operation (civilian communications systems were not violated, attacks on infrastructure were limited, etc.).
There was simply no third factor – eight years of uncontested Minsk agreements disorientated even staunch supporters of Russia.
A somewhat unexpected moment (including for me too) was the surprisingly high degree of Nazisification of the Ukrainian army. Outwardly, this was not observed in any way, although there were alarm bells, but they were associated either with the irresponsible statements of the generals, or with the dispersion of the assets of nationalist organizations among law enforcement agencies. And only the study by the military commanders of the locations of military units led to unpleasant conclusions (although they rather indicate the scope of Nazi propaganda, and not its effectiveness).
The psychological state of the Russian army also played a big role.
Firstly, it is generally very difficult for people to switch psychologically to a military footing. Even the military people. Even people with combat experience – they just adapt faster.
Secondly, it is difficult to understand that in front of you is not just the same person, moreover, often speaking the same language, but an enemy. As far as one can understand, in 2014 the situation was even more complicated (one nation).
Well, let’s not forget about the effectiveness of Ukrainian propaganda, which manages to work miracles not only on solid ground (like the retreat of Russian troops from Kyiv and the death of “Moscow”), but even on facts that simply could not be in reality. For example, a very intelligent Kyiv acquaintance recently told me that he was familiar with one of the prototypes of the “Ghost of Kyiv”. Yes, he knows that this is an uplifting fairy tale and that the “ghost” itself is a collective image, but he does not know that the Ukrainian Air Force, at least during the “battle for Kyiv” (Russian pilots say that during the special operation), did not win a single one air victory.
By the way, about the same nationalists. They still try to keep them in the second line and use them as detachments. At the front, they are still of little use. Azov* is an exception.
As a result, the Ukrainian military is sufficiently motivated, and surrender, in general, under the same conditions under which any military of any armies of the world surrenders – with broken communications and a general hopeless situation.
Vasily Stoyakin, Ukraina.ru
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