Letter to cyber defense: “To understand the Russian strategy, it is enough to know the history of the T-14 Armata tank”

Good morning. I always read with pleasure, Online Defense. I take the courage to make a very small contribution, I hope it is helpful.

As of February 24, all the media are talking about Ukraine, Russia and military operations. The traditional newspapers, as well as all the Talk Shows, are flooded with thousands and thousands of views, reminiscent of the tornado of health experts at the time (not in the past) of Covid-19.
A common feature of all these interventions is the genuine surprise of Western experts who see an “old style”, vintage war.

I will not go into the tactical-strategic crisis of military operations, I would just like to focus on one aspect that no one, even today, has encountered: the perception of the Russian war that has matured since 1999.

After the collapse of the USSR, the Russian leadership had to face a strategic problem of enormous importance, the sum of USSR resources (demographic and economic) was no longer available and the West had begun to move east with its military instrument. as if that were not enough, the Caucasus region has always been an open question.

With Russia lacking the resources to simultaneously build a modern conventional military instrument and at the same time maintain and modernize its nuclear arsenal, the historical Leninist question arose: what to do?

What to do?

In a way, Russia was lucky, the 9/11 Islamist attack focused American attention on the threat posed by bin Laden and related groups. This allowed Moscow to move more flexibly, as it is no longer considered a strategic threat, having been redistributed by Washington, a regional “extra”.

Not being under American pressure, however, did not solve the problem of how to manage the redesign of the Armed Forces, a task that had to take into account three elements: 1) demography 2) economy 3) geography. All the elements that did not play in favor, but that could be improved over time.

We are coming to the T-14 Armata. When the tank was officially unveiled, Pentagon officials said the U.S. military was no longer in control of the armored vehicles. An interesting statement for sure, but the most interesting was the decision of the Russian government to slow down its production and produce a limited quantity and continue to keep most of the armor in the old revised and modernized models.

In the West this was obviously read in an economic key: that is, Russia did not have the money to put the T-14 Armata model on the internet, given its high cost, in the desired numbers.

Fair evaluation? Yes and no. Yes, if everything is based on money, no, if it is based on the strategic vision after August 6, 1945.

In an interview with Oliver Stone, President Putin outlines his vision and it is a very realistic vision, which can be summarized as follows: money should be spent where it really makes a difference and not scattered in a thousand streams. In short, future world wars will begin or end with the use of nuclear weapons anyway, conventional armaments are as nuclear as the armor of medieval knights in firearms, very beautiful, fancy, very expensive things, but essential things.

Hence the economic rationale a T-14 Armata chariot that costs X and on the battlefield has a limited duration as it remains a “neutralizable” object. Question is it convenient to spend a lot of money? Or better with the X-shape to have 5 or 6 tanks of older generation, modernized, but which require less maintenance and in the end do the same support work as the T14 Armata, since on the battlefield the difference will be made by nuclear. head tactics?

The military operations in Ukraine were omitted because the political and social principle was wrong: the Ukrainian “acceptance” of Russian thought and a substantial “brotherhood” of the two peoples. Wrong view. In fact, Moscow was better prepared for a military “parade” than for a war. A political mistake, which, however, does not completely change the strategic framework: the neutralization of Ukraine, which was considered to be costly 1 and instead will cost much more, 2,3,4,5 or perhaps more, but this is irrelevant from a strategic point of view. The result is needed and the result will be.

In war there is only one rule: to win. Violation of this rule leads to results such as Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan.
President Putin once, during a meeting with the workers of the armaments factory, said a person from the past: “It is better to go too far than not far enough” (Iosif Vissarionovič Džugašvili or Stalin).

This war or Special Military Operation, whatever you prefer, can only end in two ways: Moscow will win by getting what it wants and not what the West imagines, or it will start another World War. The West knows this, but pretends that nothing has happened, not having the courage to announce to the public that tomorrow may be double, but still painful, that is, in the first case, only radioactive dust, or, in the second, In this case, I must admit that 1989 was just one episode in a much larger and more complex story, which is in progress and far from over.

conclusion: The conventional Russian Armed Forces were designed for a nuclear war scenario and only after that the nuclear dust was laid, of a conventional nature, where the technological differential naturally loses its operational value.

In Ukraine, we started with the conventional scenario, but we are destined to reach the nuclear one if Washington believes it can turn these territories into a second Afghan quagmire.

Giorgio Resca Cacciari

Photo: MoD Russian Federation

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