The Home Fronts during the Russo-Ukrainian War – update 1

Even though the war is not going well for Russia right now, that might change. Russia still has more than three times the manpower and almost ten times the economy that Ukraine does. Just to compare:

                                  Russia                   Ukraine                 Ratio

Population (2022)    145,478,097          41,167,336             3.53

GDP (2021)               1,710 billion          181 billion             9.45        

per capita                 $11,654                  $4,380                   2.66

GDP (PPP)                4,328 billion         584 billion              7.41

 

Population counts Crimea in the Russia figures. LPR and DPR are nominally counted among the Ukrainian population figures.

Pre-war figures for their armed forces show:

                                   Russia           Ukraine                Ratio

Active personnel      1,014,000       196,600 (2022)       5.16   

Ground forces             280,000       170,600 (2022)       1.64

Budget (2020-2021)  61.7 billion     4.6 (2020)             13.41

Percent GDP (2021)   4.3%              3% (2020)              1.43        

 

2022 Trends: According to estimates from the World Bank the Ukrainian economy is going to shrink by 45% this year. According to various estimates, the Russian economy is going to shrink by 10-20% this year. So, can Ukraine sustain such a war with the international aid it is receiving? The aid they are receiving is provided in a very incomplete list in the following Wikipedia page: List of foreign aid to Ukraine during the Russo-Ukrainian War. This data is very incomplete and we do not have a valuation for a lot of the equipment and goods donated.

Total military aid to Ukraine is at least 9,291 million (? Albania + 225 Aus + ?? Belgium + 584+ Canada + 17 Croatia + 30 Czech + 81 Den + 230 Est + ?? Finland + 125+ France + 1,040+ Germany + ? Greece + ? Icleand + 9 Ire + 114+ Italy + ? Japan + 208+ Latvia + 104+ Lithuania + ? Lux + ? Mont. + 57+ Neth + 11+ NZ + ? N. Macedonia + 44+ Nor + ??? Poland + 11 Port + 3 Rom + 13 Slovakia + ?? Slovenia + ?? S.Korea + ?? Spain + ?? Sweden + ?? Turkey + 1,600 UK + 3,285 US + 1,500 EU). This is a very rough estimate as I don’t have complete figures for many countries. But this figure of 9.3 billion more than doubles what Ukraine spent for it own defense in 2020. On the other hand, it is a fraction of the 61.7 billion Russia spent for defense in 2020-2021.

Total economic and humanitarian aid to Ukraine is at least 8,558 million (? Argentina + 65 Australia + ? Austria + 5 Azer + 1 Bahrain + ? Brazil + ? Bulgaria + 330 Can +  0.1 Chile + 10 China + ? Colombia + .0.3 Croatia + ? Cyprus + 13 Czech + 27 Den + 26 Est + 89 Fin + 2,000 France + ? Georgia + 519 Ger + ? Hungary + ? India + ? Israel + ? Italy + 200 Japan + ? Kazakhstan + 0.1 Kosovo + 2 Kuwait + 0.5 Latvia + 0.5 Liecht + 4 Lith + 1 Malta + 1 Moldova + 0.2 Mongolia + 0.1 Mont + 2 NZ + 208 Nor + ? Pakistan + ??? Poland + 5 Port + 5 Qatar + ? Romania + ? San Marino + 10 SaudiA + 3 Serbia + 3 Singapore + ? Slovenia + 12 S. Korea + 0.2 Spain + 10 Sweden + 80 Swiss + 32 Taiwan + 0.1 Thai + ? Turkey + ? Turkmenistan + ? UAE + 342 UK + 1,000 US + ? Uzbekistan + ? Vatican City + ? Vietnan + 500 EU + 192 companies + 1,359 charities + 1,500 UN + ? IMF). So, over 8.5 billion in economic and humanitarian aid compared to an economy of 181 billion. Now that economy is going to be down maybe 45% for 2022. The economic and humanitarian aid of 8.5 billion is not going to make up the economic shortfall of at least 80 million, and this was not a rich country to start with. 

This is a very poor collection of data and much can be done to improve. But it clearly shows that the military aid, along with Ukraine’s own spending may only be matching 25% of the Russia military spending (9.3 + 4.6 = 13.9/61.7 = 0.23). The economic and humanitarian add may only be making up 10% of Ukraine’s economic shortfall. While all these figures are underestimates, none of this looks good for Ukraine if the war drags on for one or more years.

So, Russia is spending 60 or more billion on its military, it could spend more. Meanwhile, Ukraine was spending maybe 5 billion on its military. It may be able to double that, except its economy is looking at an 80 billion shortfall. Therefore, to achieve some kind of balance, it looks like Ukraine needs to receive a 100 billion or more in outside military, economic and humanitarian aid. Right now, I gather it is receiving around 20 billion (maybe more). Ratcheting the aid up to 100 billion a year does stabilize the situation, but it does not necessarily create victory. So, this may have to be something that continues for years.

It does appear that as this war drags on, it does favor Russia unless aid to Ukraine increases significantly.

 

 

The discussion below is an update to my original posting on the home front.

The Home Front: Count of detained protesters is claimed to be over 14,900 since the war began. See: OVD-info. At least 800 people have been detained in Belarus. There have been only limited protests in the last few weeks.

Exchange rate: The ruble is at 64.72 to a dollar as of 10:03 AM EST. This is “better” than it was before the war beganor the last time we reported this. This is mystifying in light of all the other economic news coming out on Russia (see below). The Russian stock market (Moscow exchange) remains closed except for state bonds. As a result of the lower ruble, prices in grocery stores, etc., have returned back to normal. A detailed demonstration of this is provided in this video by Svetlana of Russia (29:36): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HK_BKWTaWoU. There gas prices are lower there than here (see 22:15 in the video). Youtube is still up in Russia, although that may not be for long.

Price of oil (Brent crude): $111.41 as of 10:04 AM EST. Several years ago, if the price of oil dropped below $80, the Russian budget would go into the red.

Note that Russia says it received $3.6 million less (302 billion rubles) than it forecast from March old and gas sales. Russia forecasted energy revenue of 790 billion rubles ($9.4 billion) but received around 488 billion rubles., a drop of 38%. The last report I saw, 52% of the Russian government revenue comes from oil (even though it makes up only 7% of their economy). The current Wikipedia article on the Russian economy says that roughly 40% of Russian federal budget comes from the oil and gas sector.

It has been estimated by the World Bank that Ukraine’s economy will shrink by an estimated 45.1% this year (which is a surprising precise estimate in the middle of a war). 

The Russian Ministry of Economy expects 8.8% contraction in 2022. This is a large contraction than anything experienced by the U.S. since the 1930s. Russian estimates of inflation for the next year have ranged from 12.4 percent to as high as 20.7% for the 2022/2023 fiscal year. An independent Western estimate (Capital Economics) project a decline in GDP of 12 percent this year and inflation at 23%. Other Western estimates say GDP will decline by 8.5% (IMF), 10% (European Bank) or 11% (World Bank). Russian inflation rate is currently at 17.62%.

It does appear that the economic impact on Russia will be longer term, as McDonalds and Renault are selling of their businesses in Rusia is now completely pulling out completely.

The value of the ruble seems to have stabilized for the last couple of months at around 64 to 70 per dollar and oil prices at around $100-110. Lower oil prices do undercut the Russian government budget. To further lower the oil prices probably requires the corporation of Saudi Arabia and OPEC. Right now, they are steering a neutral course between the U.S. and Russia, which is kind of questionable on their part.

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Christopher A. Lawrence
Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience.
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Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation.
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His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024).
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Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

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14 Comments

  1. “But it clearly shows that the military aid, along with Ukraine’s own spending may only be matching 25% of the Russia military spending (9.3 + 4.6 = 13.9/61.7 = 0.23).”

    That is IMHO not correct. Russia spends for her nuclear forces, a navy -kind of white elephant against Ukraine, an airforce with limited impact, and for internal security forces. All these costs are subtracted from the 62 billion USD, the effective budget, i.e the part that is directed against Ukraine in a meaningful way, is smaller.

    The next question then is whether or not Russia could produce more useful equipment or convert material from depots for the war on short notice, or in the medium term. Here the civilian industrial spare capacity is most likely low in Russia.

      • “Yes, but they can reorient their budget or increase it.”

        Yes, but they also need the ability to convert more money into more weapons. Does Russia have this in short or medium term? What is the impact of more weapons, if the issue are lack of infabtry and faulty training?

        • All significant concerns. If the issue is infantry and faulty training… then this is not solved overnight. It may mean that Russia may not be able to conduct any crippling offensives until next year.

          If that is the case, do they negotiate a cease fire (while they rebuild?) or do they drag the war out into 2023?

  2. At the expense of the population… The mood seems to be more negative than Russia shows us to the outside world. First, there are the returned, spent and injured soldiers. Then there are the generals, who currently present a horrible picture. And last but not least there are the families of the dead soldiers, with the questions that are not answered or only answered with lies.

    The time is approaching when even Russian propaganda will no longer be trusted by the population.

    It is difficult, even for Russia, to play down and even deny such a war with so many Russian losses over several months.

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    • That is the hope. Not sure of the reality. There is Moscow and St. Petersburg, and then there is the rest of Russia. I don’t see a lot of interviews and information from the rest of Russia.

      As I was pointing out to someone yesterday, World War I started in August 1914. It was over 31 months before the February revolution. They then continued the war until they were overthrown in the October revolution over seven months later. The new Bolsheviks then went through rounds of negotiations, punctuated by war, that produced the Treaty of Brest Litovsk in March 1918. So, entire process from war to peace was 43 months and three governments.

      This may go on for a while. Who knows when and how it ends.

      • This is the first war that has such a wide media reach, like never before. The power of communication has a huge impact on the outcome of this war, I believe.

        Now is also the time when the Russians’ outdated, disorganized, artillery-heavy warfare falls on their feet. That their strategy and tactics no longer work can be seen in part now. I have the impression that the Russian side makes the same mistakes over and over again. Either they are unteachable, ignorant or can’t do better. In contrast to an opponent (Ukraine) who exploits these mistakes and, depending on the situation, adapts to the opponent and thus makes life difficult for him.

        The Russians have never faced such a challenge of having to think strategically, which they seem never to have learned.

  3. That Mikhail Kodaryonok was permitted publicly to state (https://twitter.com/francis_scarr/status/1526293852704890882) on Russian national television that the public should refrain from taking “information tranquilisers” and that the high morale of the Ukrainian armed forces reflects a determination to defend their homeland is hardly reflective of the narrative that has until now emerged from the Kremlin.

    • Thanks for the link. Not sure of the significance or meaning of this. Garry Kasparov’s comment on twitter was “This is relevant, likely as part of a broader Kremlin campaign to manage expectations at home and encourage its international appeasement brigades to push for ceasefires and off-ramps to salvage Russia’s remaining gains.”

      • It’s the positive portrayal of the Ukrainian military that seems so out of character. If Kodaryonok had confined himself to explaining their success in terms of Western aid (which is a significant factor) it would be one thing, but he treats them as fellow professionals willing to die for their motherland.

        Given the recent Russian narratives informed by selective memories of the Great Patriotic War, portraying Ukraine in such terms seems unlikely to inspire the latest cohort of Russian recruits.

        • Or it could be interpreted as a set up for reforming the Russian military, increasing their budget, expanding conscription or creating an all volunteer force. In the end, it is one guy talking on one show one time. I would be afraid to read too much into it.

          Right now, Russia controls the better part of four Ukranian provinces and Crimea and Sevastopol. They may be willing to negotiate now. But, are they willing to give up in those negotiations some of that territory? Is Ukraine willing to accept a settlement without some or all of that territory back? The negotiations could drag on for a while even if both sides were serious.

  4. I swear some of these guys are reading this blog. Article today in USA Today here: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/us-aid-to-ukraine-could-hit-53b-here-s-what-it-covers-how-it-compares-and-who-pays-for-it/ar-AAXmOYk?ocid=msedgntp&cvid=e694d26b4f1447c49a457199d517eae4

    It says: “Along with the $13.6 billion passed in March, the combined $53.7 billion is about 81% of Russia’s 2021 defense budget.”

    And: “It’s more than one-quarter the size of Ukraine’s pre-war economy.”

    Anyhow, I do wonder.

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