The Ghost Army

Nadin Brzezinski
6 min readAug 11, 2022
the former head of the Sparta Batallion in the Donbas. He died a while back.

When looking at Russian and Donbas formations, one has to consider the allocation of money. One must also think about how both troops and funds are tied together.

There are connections beyond combat or efficiency. The first thing to realize is that on February 24 of this year, Russia expected a strong, experienced force from the Donbas. I will be referring to this piece throughout this write up. Realize this is not the first time we come across ghost formations. They are common in the Federation.

One reason is that commanders receive money for a full-strength unit, which is not. The practice was transferred to the two statelets. In effect:

Russia has been allocating money for the 70,000-strong LDPR army for six years, in which hardly 10,000 people actually served. The difference was plundering

Think about this for a second. Planners expected a strong force. Instead, they got a few under-strength units. We know the battalions tactical groups are nowhere close to full strength.

We managed to talk to a lawyer from the DPR, who, protecting his clients from among the servicemen of the people’s militia, understood the criminal schemes by which the DPR leadership, Russian curators from the Ministry of Defense and the FSB and local commanders stole money for the army and traded in weapons. Forced mobilization after the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine was organized mainly to cover up the traces of a six-year scam in which Russia allocated monetary and material allowances to a 70,000-strong military group, and in fact there were never more than 15,000 military people (and before the war — 10,000).

So starting in 2014, this was an enrichment scheme by both locals and Moscow. It was a way to loot the state. Yes, the two statelets had some people under arms. Most of them are out of action now. But hardly enough for offensive war.

To cover this up, they ran a general mobilization. Those forced recruits received rifles from the great patriotic war, helmets, when lucky, from the 1960s, and no chest plate. Nor did they get training. They were thrown into the meat grinder, no matter what the consequences.

So now we enter the ground of force motivation.

In 2014–2015 we had a militia, and since 2016 they began…

Nadin Brzezinski

Historian by training. Former day to day reporter. Sometimes a geek who enjoys a good miniatures game. You can find me at CounterSocial, Mastodon and rarely FB