Russian media shows extensive damage to T-90 tanks and fake unexploded creative armors due to corruption

Russian state media recently showcased footage of a damaged T-90M tank following attacks by Ukrainian first-person view (FPV) drones.

The video footage revealed the extent of the damage inflicted on the tank, which experienced a direct hit by the Ukrainian FPV kamikaze drone.

The footage shows the T-90M tank with visible damage, particularly its protective elements. Additional images highlighted the impact area on the tank’s overhead metal screen, commonly referred to as a “cope cage,” which appeared to have an added layer of fake Kontakt-1 explosive reactive armor (ERA) bricks on top.

Russia’s defence sector is at high risk of corruption, owing to extremely limited external oversight of the policies, budgets, activities and acquisitions of defence institutions. Transparency is also restricted, particularly in procurement and safeguards to corruption for military operations are weak.

Post-Soviet reconstruction in the 1990s marked the emergence of the so-called ‘general thieves’, where billions of rubles were plundered from the military. However, corruption remains a problem within the top ranks of the military, creating a pervasive culture that corrodes Russia’s military capabilities from within.

As a result of the drone strike, some of the protective ERA blocks detonated, leading to the deformation of the protective canopy and damage to the rear of the tank’s turret. However, Russian journalists noted that the tank remained intact despite the attack.

It was separately noted that the damaged tank was evacuated from the battlefield for repairs.

Russian tanks often face challenges on the battlefield and become victims of numerous Ukrainian anti-tank weapons, including kamikaze drones and ATGMs (anti-tank guided missiles).

Shortages cannot be explained away by an accusation that Russia does not spend enough on its military. In 2022, Moscow spent $61.7 billion on its military, the fourth largest military budget in the world according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. But this impressive budget has been hollowed out by a pervasive culture of corruption, where kickbacks and outright theft are commonplace.

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