We are past the point of ridiculous. Western intelligence analysts and pundits who have insisted that Russia is running out of precision missiles have been consistently wrong since March 2022. I decided to dig into this a bit thanks to my brother-in-law, who forwarded me a link to a recent article by Russian born academic, Konstantin Sonin, who currently hangs his hat at the University of Chicago. Sonin wrote:
Economic sanctions did, of course, have other immediate effects. Curbing Russia’s access to microelectronics, chips, and semiconductors made production of cars and aircraft almost impossible. From March to August, Russian car manufacturing fell by an astonishing 90 percent, and the drop in aircraft production was similar. The same holds true for the production of weapons, which is understandably a top priority for the government.https://www.foreignaffairs.com/russian-federation/russias-road-economic-ruin
Sonin apparently wrote this before Russia launched its largest strike ever on Tuesday of this week using precision missiles. Sonin offers as “fact” Russia’s chip shortage when the military facts on the ground in Ukraine show otherwise. Ironically, it is the United States that is suffering from the chip shortage. If you live in the United States and tried to purchase a new vehicle you will find inventories at the new car lots quite low. Why? No computer chips for the new cars. But that is another topic for another day.
So let me take you on a back-to-the-future tour of the repeated, erroneous claims that Russia is running low on precision weapons. Let us start with the clown show known as the Institute for the Study of War:
Then turn the clock back two months. It is early September and the unsuspecting reader perusing Newsweek is told that there is “NO WAY” Russia can replace its dwindling missile supply.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal was quoted in a Politico article published Monday as saying that Ukraine estimated that Russia only had about “four dozen” hypersonic missiles left.
“These are the ones that have precision and accuracy due to the microchips that they have,” he said. “But because of sanctions imposed on Russia, the deliveries of this high-tech microchip equipment…have stopped and they have no way of replenishing these stocks.”
But the claim that Russia was running low came out earlier in the year. In May, for example, the Moscow Times explored the question, “Is Russia Running Out of Precision Missiles” and found a member of the Biden Administration who insisted Russia was on the ropes:
A U.S. official told journalists in a briefing earlier this month that Russia is “having inventory issues with precision-guided munitions.”
These reports are corroborated by a change in Russian tactics, particularly an increasing use of conventional unguided bombs, notably in the port city of Mariupol. Unguided munitions were allegedly used for attacks in Mariupol on the Azovstal steel factory, defended by Ukrainian soldiers, as well as on a maternity hospital and a theater.
Many analysts believe that Western sanctions mean Russia will struggle to replace its reserves of precision missiles.
In particular, the guidance systems for precision missiles require semiconductors and transistors that are neither manufactured in Russia nor available from China, according to expert Lewis.
“So unless the Russians have planned ahead and stockpiled munitions or Western microelectronics, or ramped up production pre-war, they’re going to run out of gas when it comes to precision guided munitions,” Lewis said.https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2022/05/17/explainer-is-russia-running-low-on-missiles-a77704
If you are following along, I suspect you are picking up a theme — Ukrainian officials confidently insist Russia has shot its wad and gullible Western intelligence analysts, pundits, politicians and journalists regurgitate this nonsense. Take a look at April 27, 2022:
Do not forget about March 29, 2022:
Given that Professor Sonin and the other distinguished cretins pontificating on Russia’s missile shortage have been so consistently wrong during the last eight months, I want to encourage them to start offering some investment picks. We have a solid empirical record to conclude that whatever they suggest, do the opposite. They do not have a clue about Russia’s military capability.