A military analyst speaking on Russian state television called for a system of “military capitalism”, arguing that Russia’s current system is not equipped to support its efforts during its invasion of Ukraine.
“Our current economic market system is unfit to meet the needs of our armed forces and the whole country under these conditions. We must move to another system, I will tentatively call it ‘military socialism’ but any other title could also be used,” said analyst Konstantin Sivkov, in a video from a widely watched broadcast on Saturday, adding that “all strategic resources, without exception, such as land, factories and everything else must be brought under the control of the government and develop according to a centralized plan.”
Sivkov also noted the use of ammunition by Russian artillery during the war, and the shells and missiles that “must be produced”.
“We must urgently embrace our industries in a wartime economy,” he said.
A video of Sivkov’s remarks was posted to Twitter by Julia Davis, a Russian media analyst and columnist for The Daily Beast. As of Saturday night, the video has been viewed nearly 250,000 times.
“Meanwhile, on Russian state television, military experts fear that Russia’s current economy will not be able to meet the needs of its armed forces. An expert has argued for the urgent need to move to ‘military socialism’ and a ‘war economy’, responsible for everything,” she tweeted on Saturday afternoon.
The military analyst’s comments come as Russia spends hundreds of millions of dollars to fund its war in Ukraine. According to an analysis provided to Newsweekthe cost of maintaining the Russian military offensive is around $900 million a day.
Sean Spoonts, editor of SOFREP, a media outlet specializing in military news, said this includes the cost of weapons, repairing damaged equipment and paying soldiers.
The analyst’s call for “military socialism” also comes ahead of Victory Day on May 9, an annual Russian commemoration of the end of World War II. There has been speculation that Russian President Vladimir Putin could announce a mass mobilization that day, a move that could mean recruiting thousands of troops to fight in Ukraine. While Russia has denied that it would officially declare war on its Eastern European neighbour, Newsweek reported this week that the Russian government was recruiting personnel for “wartime mobilization specialists”.
A researcher told Radio Free Europe on Friday that he believed that if Putin announced a large mobilization, it could mean losing support for the war among his own people.
“The popularity of the war would fall sharply,” Sergei Zhavoronkov, a researcher at the Moscow Institute of Economic Policy, told the news agency. “It’s one thing to watch it as a fun video game, but it’s another when it directly affects many Russians and their families.”
Newsweek contacted the Russian Foreign Ministry for comment.