The Russian government is not likely to admit that it has gone broke. That’s a huge assumption, as many may say, but we mean this in a sense that most of their war chest has either been spent already, running low, or locked up and tangled within Western-levied sanctions. With rising evidence that the Russian military has no financial capability to keep up this war in Ukraine, it has now been reported that Russian citizens have been crowdfunding their own military.

Yes, we know what you’re thinking. This “crowdfunding” phenomenon is something rarely seen in the world’s top military forces. Now do not get us wrong. There is nothing wrong with supporting your country’s servicemen and women. We support our military too here at home by having donation campaigns and celebrations to help fund military vets’ financial and medical needs.

When it comes to weapons, we’re sure that the American people would go out of their way and support our troops when the circumstances require it, but this is something you would not see given our budget and capacity to support our armed forces. These expenditures are carefully researched and planned and not just randomly decided on.

It’s a little bit different in Russia, apparently, as it’s been reported that a grassroots movement has been brewing these past few months where Russian citizens are pulling their resources together and donating badly needed items to Russian soldiers headed to Ukraine. This grassroots movement is largely led by women.

The New York Times reported that a certain Natalia Abiyeva, a real estate agent, had already raised $60,000 to support the Russian forces going into Ukraine. They used the money raised to buy food, radios, first-aid gear, binoculars, and even a mobile dentistry kit.

Some of the pictures online of this gear show basic VHF Airband Transceivers by Kenwood and Yaesu from Japan for aviation units flying helicopters and SU-25 Frogfoot ground-attack aircraft.  This level of communications gear is basic for civilian aircraft, while military aircraft would have broadband, encrypted transceivers with high output.  Using cheap, off-the-shelf handhelds suggests none of that equipment is working in Russian aircraft.  It’s pretty stunning actually.

News of them having no food to eat is not new. The Russians have been known to send their troops to Ukraine with expired MREs, even talking to China to donate MREs to address the lack of supply at one point. The news of radios being donated was also not new. The Russians were reported to be having tremendous difficulty with their communication systems in Ukraine, with many troops using local sim cards or unencrypted radios that are easy to tap into.