A single explanation for how the Russians are performing so incredibly poor in their invasion of Ukraine is probably too simple, and yet there is one that keeps popping into my head:
The Russian society is corrupt to it’s core and everyone is stealing from everyone.
Cases in point:
Russian troops retreating from their attempt at capturing Kyiv steal whatever they can from the Ukrainians. On their way to their new deployment they hurriedly mail whatever ill-gotten loot they have to their families, only to have most of the loot stolen again, this time by the Russian mail-service.
So the next time the soldiers make sure to keep an eye on their loot even if that means taken the stolen dryer with them in the helicopter:
Trucks that could otherwise have transported supplies to the invasion forces are redirected – to steal wheat from Ukraine.
Russian soldiers being tracked by Ukraine because they stole phones from Ukrainians, and those solders hiding the phones from their superiors because otherwise they would be stolen from the thieves.
And so on.
Lack of discipline also means that anyone honest is quickly subdued and forced to act like the worst soldiers.
Corruption is the number one internal threat to a society, and Russia has spent a century immersed in it.
The question is, can authoritarianism avoid becoming corrupt?
Thank you, Mr. Putin, for showing the world that authoritarianism doesn’t work.
— Pedro Domingos