Saturday, January 20, 2024

Ukraine and West Can’t Count on Collapse of Russia’s Military-Industrial Sector as a Result of Sanctions, Inozemtsev Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Jan. 16 – Western analysts and politicians cycle between viewing Russia as too strong for anyone to do anything about it to considering it so weak that its key sectors are about to collapse and therefore to argue that no radical steps are necessary to force Moscow to change its positions.

            That general conclusion flows from an analysis of Russia’s military-industrial sector by Russian economist Vladislav Inozemtsev in which he argues that “it is dangerous to suggest that [Russian military] production is about to collapse” and that in any case, that sector “won’t be able to boost” output needed for a long war (

            The fact of the matter, he continues, is that “Russia can produce standard military products on a fairly large scale” for a long time to come, even though “it is incapable of modernizing them or even producing state-of-the art design in mass quantities.” But those standard products may be sufficient if Kyiv and West fail to respond adequately.

            On the one hand, Russia’s military-industrial complex is today “a serious driving force in the economy” and thus promotes economic growth. And on the other, “at the start of the third year of the war, the position of the Russian army looks more solid than it did in 2022 or 2023, the economist says.

            “Moreover,” Inozemtsev says, Moscow has “learned to recruit people into the army without mass mobilization while the military-industrial complex has sharply increased its output and is ready to work without large-scale purchases from other countries.” And it has decided that it doesn’t need new weapons but more older ones, something the defense sector can provide.

            “Does this mean that Ukraine will not be able to turn the tide of the war in 2024? he asks rhetorically. Not necessarily, but that will depend not on the collapse of Russia’s military and defense sector but on whether the West provides more assistance and whether Kyiv can mobilize enough additional soldiers.

            Those experts “who talk about the limited potential of Russia’s military industry inevitably support those who favor exerting pressure on Russia through sanctions rather than by providing additional military aid to Ukraine.” They believe that will be enough to “change Putin’s course or undermine the Russian economy.”

            Those outcomes are possible, but the question is “when?” Russia continues to destroy Ukraine and will continue to do so “if Ukrainian and Western politicians continue to hope for the exhaustion of Russia’s military potential … In the current situation,” Inozemtsev says, suggestions that Russia is weak leads to the wrong strategy. They must be abandoned.


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