Belarus · Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Scare Tactics 101: Russia deploys ten times declared number of troops…

A good friend sent me the below article today.  

I was gobsmacked (a real word, look it up) by the number of Russian troops pouring into Belarus.  

230,000 to 240,000.  

Shades of the Mongol Golden Horde dashing across Europe and Asia hundreds of years ago…  

…wait a minute, full stop.  The highest predicted number I saw previously was 100,000. The latest numbers predict 10,000 to 13,500.  This is a huge leap in numbers, along with associated equipment and an astronomical increase in associated logistics. 

I also don’t believe the deployments for Zapad 2017 have yet started, so how are they seeing this kind of number?  It starts on September 14th, 15 days from now. Countdown clock here, at the top. 

I can’t find any corroborating or verifying articles.  None, zero, zip, nada.  Everybody else is saying between 10,000 and 13,500 Russian troops. Nothing like 230,000 – 240,000.  How in the heck they came up with that number FAR in excess of anything else I’ve seen is a mystery.  

There is no author name…

I checked out a few of the other stories in  They seem to be a tabloid, mostly all fake or inflated news. 

If we start to see numbers well above 100,000 troops, believe me, that would be on the front page of every Western news source in the world. Projections in the past month, the ones screaming bloody hell about subsequent Russian actions, have been saying 100,000 troops are expected – which is a helluva increase from anything we’ve ever seen before.  But 230,000 to 240,000?  If Russia was to deploy that number into Belarus, they’d have to absolutely strip their presence elsewhere and have no strategic reserves. Ukraine would see a huge decrease in Russians on their border. We might see the one battalion in Transnistria vanish. Internally to Russia, units would just…  go West. 

Another big clue was a statement attributed to Oleksandr Turchynov.  How he knows that Russian cyber troops are going to participate in Zapad 2017 is beyond me, I can’t find that anywhere else. 

Again, don’t forget the lesson of the boy who cried wolf.  This might be just what the Russians want, to lull us into complacency.  Reflexive Control?

I have to wonder if was paid to run that story.

I’m throwing down the BS flag. It’s sensationalism to get readers. Probably click bait, too., you should be ashamed. 


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Russia deploys ten times declared number of troops for West-2017 military exercise in Belarus

Tuesday, 22 August, 2017

The total number of troops to take part in the West-2017 joint Belarus/Russia military exercise in Belarus is estimated at 230-240 thousand or ten times the officially declared amount, chief of Ukraine’s Security and Defense Council Oleksandr Turchynov says. Originally, the organizers declared that 13,000 troops, including 3,000 from Russia, 280 heavy weapons and 25 aircraft are to be involved.

However, the actual number of troops reaches 230-240 thousand, 10,000 heavy weapons, 100 aircraft, and 40 vessels and submarines, Turchynov says.The exercise will take 2 months.

The exercise will cover the European part of Russia, Donbas and Crimea as well as the Mediterranean and Syria, he says. Apart from the troops, Russia’s executive structures, Russian Guard, police and FSB will take part.

The military will assume control of railways in the area.

Russia’s cyber troops will also be involved, Oleksandr Turchynov says.



3 thoughts on “Scare Tactics 101: Russia deploys ten times declared number of troops…

  1. Cyber is an interesting thing to contemplate at this time since such forces will be involved and as pointed out elsewhere, Russia has not lost opportunities to turn these exercises into cover for real world military operations. Many times they seem like “distractions”, and in this sense, all of the manpower would make a good distraction from some kind of cyber play. Just something I will be watching for as I have seen the bear likes to get into the cyber honey.

  2. Caveat on raw numbers — according to at least two other analyses online ( and ), the _total_ number of participating troops may include troops nowhere near Belarus training/exercising at the same time elsewhere in Russia. Still, 1) no small group “fraternal” neighbour’s troops dropping by Belarus, and 2) can’t blame any Ukrainian analyst to be at least a bit nervous about that many Russian troops dropping by for (what one hopes to be only) a visit to the neighbourhood.

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