‘The only resource Russia has is men, and they are not afraid to waste them’

By | January 1, 2023

Boris Dralyuk, editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Review of Books, interviewed by Klaus Stimeder:

Mr. Dralyuk, we are going into the tenth month of Russia’s full invasion of Ukraine. What is your take on the situation?

I am no military strategist, but my sense is that the Russian Army’s chances of defeating the Ukrainian Army on the battlefield are nil. Thanks to its allies, the Ukrainian Army is better trained, more experienced, and far better supplied. Also, we must remember that the war, in which many Ukrainians but relatively few Russian nationals have fought, has been going on since 2014. The Russian Army – like everything in Russia – has been allowed to rot due to the corruption that pervades every Russian institution. Much of the money assigned to defense has lined the pockets of Putin’s cronies, and of those cronies’ cronies, and so on. The only resource Russia has is men, and they are not afraid to waste them.

So Ukrainians are now mowing down, at great expense and great psychological cost, untrained Russians, including, in the case of Wagner PMC, prisoners. These prisoners are essentially slaves of the Putin regime. What motivation do these Russian men have to fight? The promise of a reduced sentence? Fear of execution with a sledgehammer? Maybe a washing machine? While Ukrainians are defending their homeland, their children, their future. Ukrainian men and women are also dying on the front lines, but the number of Russians killed is staggering. All this is very much in the Russian tradition. There is nothing cheaper in Russia than human life. So what is the Russian Army doing instead of fighting with a modicum of honor and intelligence? Attacking civilians. Also a failing strategy. And also very much in the Russian tradition.

You were born and raised in Soviet Ukraine but emigrated with your parents to the US in the early 1990s. What does the perception of the war in the US look like to you?

I am happy to say that I see near-universal support for Ukraine among the US populace. I have witnessed it in California, Florida, and Oklahoma. There are Ukrainian colors everywhere. There are, of course, isolationist voices on the right and the left and useful idiots with big platforms, but I do not see them having much influence on the state’s policies or on the minds of average Americans. Nothing is entirely black and white, but this is as close as we have come to a clear-cut case of good vs. evil. [Continue reading…]

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