On my mind: with half the Russian army deploying near Ukraine, there are few errant social media posts for such a large force. Whether this force is contract (or even conscript), little is coming from the families or remaining Russian NGOs. Silence is odd but many factors why 👇
Phone policy: The MOD has spent years cracking down on unauthorized soldier phone use, especially on deployments. I believe they recently offer their own MOD smart phones to certain groups, and encrypted phones to intel types (/2)
Law: foreign agent laws target and bully media, NGOs for several reasons, causing many to stop or reorient their activities (like committees of soldiers mothers).This matters b/c when conscripts are sent illegally into battle these locations are where the families can report (/3
Also in 2021, the FSB can target those who report on military locations or dispositions. Bloggers, analysts, maybe even families themselves, which leads to self-censoring. (/4) rferl.org/amp/russia-for…
The families of Russians soldiers often know when things shift operationally. They are quiet too. I’m surprised because I doubt there are ZERO conscripts near Ukraine right now. Russian military policy is no conscripts in combat zones but they’ve broken that promise before (5)
You’ll know it’s serious when Russian mil HQ reminds people that conscripts don’t serve in hotspots.That’s for the families to keep them calm. I wouldn’t believe them though if it was my son/husband/brother. I’ve seen that song & dance before from them & it’s deceptive (/6)
There’s a lot of silence now for a force this big & with so many questions about its purpose. Silence from HQ down to soldier/ family level.The amount of opsec & other ambient threats on this many relevant people and organizations to make that happen is noteworthy (/7)
Opsec is one thing -I’d argue they are good at it right now and there’s good discipline on the whole. But is it really worth the legal threats and lack of transparency (again) to their troops and the families? At what cost? (8/end)

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More from @MassDara

21 Dec 21
MOD collegiums are not usually a forum for launching major updates. Mostly they are updates mil policy and modernization. Today's event was a little different and Putin again laid down his thinking on Ukraine. Storm clouds gather. My observations below (1/x).
1st: Putin's remarks are not new but lately but when you hear the tone and the alignment of forces behind it - it's an old pain & old frustration w/the security situation near Russia's border. Through his "doorstep" remarks he's all but saying he's unwilling to be cornered(2/x)
Shoygu's assessment that 120 American PMCs in Donetsk w/chemical weapons of some kind. Pardon my skepticism but don't Russian proxies and or Russian intel or others control that area? If so why would they NOT seize said actors for the PR alone? Unless it's a total canard. (3/x)
Read 9 tweets
21 Nov 21
Lots to unpack from today’s Military Times interview - Ukrainian Military Intelligence assessment on Russian forces and what they might do. They predict a winter-spring offensive (/thread)
Here is the link (/2) : militarytimes.com/flashpoints/20…
Ukrainian Intel predicts an offensive January and February. Some of the items on this map I am assuming are future assessment — for example multiple airborne forces in Belarus (/3)
Read 9 tweets
5 Jul 21
I compared Russia’s new National Security Strategy with the 2015 NSS and other recent RS strategies.The new NSS incorporates familiar concepts. It reads as very closed off: more survivalist in tone and all refs to cooperation with the West were deleted. Observations below. /
There’s been some reorganization throughout, and IMO not to the betterment of the document. What’s new in the 2021 NSS: ✅ 2/
✅ New ‘bottom line up front’ paragraph that is perhaps a mission statement of sorts: Russia is a sovereign state that has resisted external pressure, economic resilience in the face of sanctions 3/
Read 19 tweets
8 Jan 20
I’m not an Iran expert. But I am a military analyst. When I see the impact points of Iran’s strike on Asad air base, I don’t see purely symbolic strikes designed to avoid casualties, as some have speculated. The strikes appear to target the base’s military capability.
The missiles struck equipment and storage buildings on the infrastructure (populated) side of the base. The impacts *are not* scattershot across empty fields or airstrips on the southern side of the base (image from December)
There aren’t public U.S. confirmations about the number of Iranian missiles launched that failed to arrive on target. Without knowing where other missiles would have landed, it’s hard to assess the full targeting strategy.
Read 4 tweets

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