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Measuring the Unmeasurable Indicators of Russian State Resilience

At the time of this writing, we find ourselves 550 days deep into the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Ukraine’s summer counter-offensive is grinding against the robust Surovikin Line, a multi-layered defense system spanning 1000 kilometers.

This defensive network is fortified with anti-tank ditches, dragon teeth obstacles, treacherous minefields, and an intricate network of trenches fortified by heavy artillery positions.

However, what has become increasingly evident is that Ukraine’s counter-offensive is proving to be more challenging than initially anticipated. All parties involved have reluctantly arrived at a grim realization: the need to prepare for an enduring and protracted conflict.

The illusion of a swift and decisive military operation has been shattered, giving way to a grim reality—a war of attrition lies ahead.

A war of attrition is a strategic approach aimed at gradually wearing down an adversary, ultimately eroding their will to continue by inflicting significantly higher casualties and material losses than one’s own side sustains.

In such a scenario, there is no clear path to military victory for either side, with the emphasis often placed on firepower over mobility and direct confrontation over flanking tactics.

It becomes a test of unwavering determination, resilience, and endurance. This sobering observation highlights that the war has evolved into a grueling endurance and capacity test, the outcome of which remains highly uncertain.

Notably, a war of attrition is only partially determined on the frontlines of battle. Equally critical is the leadership and support from the home front. Can the national economy, the political landscape, and the backing of society sustain the military effort, even when there is no discernible goal or endpoint in sight?

Therefore, a war of attrition tests civil-military relations and political resolve. Do the opposing factions maintain the will to persevere? Do they possess the resilience and fortitude required to withstand this brutal trial?

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