Analysis: The Ukraine invasion has far exceeded the capacity of Putin’s forces. An expert explains how they have fallen short in the field
Russia-Ukraine war: latest updates
Uniforms are one of the most deceptive trappings of military culture. They suggest uniformity but it is often said of the British army that if two officers look the same, one must be improperly dressed. Armies, and especially professional armies, are more often warring tribes of subcultures, and for commanders it is critical to understand how those cultures interact if the force is to be employed effectively in battle.
When it comes to Russian military culture, the Russian army has been through a period of significant change, with constant modernisation since 2008. The Soviet Union fielded an army of more than 3.5 million soldiers in 1991. The Soviet army was largely a conscript force and lacked an experienced noncommissioned officer corps. This meant that Soviet units had to be treated with a degree of uniformity, since the personnel rotated so frequently that most line units were necessarily commanded using set formulas that formed the basis for unit training.