Low morale crushes the Russian army and people as the country faces a harsh winter

Russians can expect one of the worst winters in the country, where arctic winds blow below 0°C from December to February.

While in Moscow the mercury column drops to -7°C, at night in Siberia it can reach -60°C.

After nine months of Russia’s war with Ukraine, Vladimir Putin’s initial confidence that the army could capture the Ukrainian capital Kyiv in just two days has disappeared.

With no end in sight to Putin’s military coup, Russia is about to enter its most difficult three months ever, fearing that this is bad news for those on the front lines and for the people at home.

‘Hopeless’: Morale in Russia plummets

With no end date on the horizon, the uncertainty of the ongoing war has had a major impact on the morale of Russian citizens.

Speaking with CNNThe 34-year-old film producer described the mood in the Russian capital as “extremely gloomy, quiet, scared and hopeless.”

“The planning horizon is as low as ever. People have no idea what might happen tomorrow or a year from now,” she said.

A study by Moscow’s independent polling organization, the Levada Center, also showed the moral significance of war for the normal Russian.

When asked whether “such people” are responsible for “the death of civilians and destruction in Ukraine”, about a third of the respondents answered “yes”. This marked an 8 percentage point increase in positive responses between April and May.

“Family Goods Disappear”

With the outbreak of the war, Western countries and their allies attacked Russia’s domestic economy through imports, exports and sanctions.

At the beginning of the war, Russian banks were banned from using the SWIFT system, which disconnected the organization from the international financial network. As a result, the Russian ruble began to fall in a downward spiral, and Russians rushed to ATMs in droves to withdraw cash.

However, the trend has continued. According to ReutersIn September, Russians seeking to flee the country withdrew 458 billion rubles (A$11.1 billion) from banks after Mr. Putin announced a partial mobilization of troops.

Since then, dozens of brands have announced the suspension of their activities in Russia.

Many brands then went out of business in Russia, including brands such as McDonalds, the Mars confectionery company, Sony and Lego.

Lisa said CNN that Western sanctions mean that everyday Western products like Coca-Cola and clothing brands have either disappeared from stores or skyrocketed in price.

“Family goods are disappearing, from toilet paper and Coca-Cola to clothes,” Lisa said. “I don’t really know how it helps in conflict resolution because it affects ordinary people and not decision makers.”

Russian troops suffer too

A report released by the British Ministry of Defense says Russian soldiers fighting in Putin’s war in Ukraine will also suffer. As temperatures drop to freezing, bone-chilling rain can also turn roads to mud before the snow freezes the ground.

Daylight is also becoming a dwindling commodity, disappearing from 4 p.m. in abundance in summer to as little as 8 p.m. in winter.

“Winter will bring a change in the terms of the conflict for both Russian and Ukrainian forces. Changes in daylight hours, temperature and weather will create unique challenges for combat soldiers,” the ministry said in a statement.

“The weather itself is likely to see an increase in rainfall, wind speed and snowfall. Each of them will create additional problems for the already low morale of the Russian troops, but will also create problems for the maintenance of the kits.

The season can also have tactical flaws.

“In addition, the golden hour window during which a seriously wounded soldier can be rescued is reduced by about half, which greatly increases the risk of contact with the enemy,” they tweeted.

“Night vision capability is a valuable commodity, which further exacerbates the reluctance to fight at night.

Significant losses on the battlefield and the mobilization of 300,000 inexperienced conscripts in October further deteriorated the combat strength and morale of the army.

November report Institute for the Study of War (ISW)), the think tank said desertion is also a concern among Russian soldiers.

“The morale and psychological state of the Russian forces in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions is extremely low,” ISW notes.

“Significant casualties on the battlefield, mobilization to the front lines without proper training and poor supplies led to cases of desertion.”

Originally published as Low morale crushes the Russian army and people as the country faces a harsh winter