1) It's not 1945 any more. No one has a monopoly on nuclear force. A "limited" nuclear war doesn't stay limited. Five thousand simulations have demonstrated this to the point it's beyond arguing. Pop one nuke, anywhere, and it snowballs in a couple of days until someone shoots their leader in the head, or until everything north of the equator is radioactive glass. Russia pops a nuke, anywhere, they're signaling their wish for an extinction-level societal event.
2) Russian generals know this too. Which makes popping Putin's pumpkin head with a pistol far easier than complying with a nuclear deployment or launch order, and orders of magnitude more likely.
3) We know this too. Which means the odds are, no one will pay any attention to this as anything other than a bluff, on the theory that Russia isn't as crazy as Putin is. If we're wrong, Australia, Brazil, and Argentina can fight over the world in a hundred years. (Related Food For Thought: Different CinC for sure, but when Russia released control of WMDs in Syria in 2017 and used them on rebels there, we wiped out an entire Russian Air Wing there next day with 59 Tomahawk missiles with the hint not to deploy WMDs again. Putin pops a nuke in Ukraine, or anywhere else, and the engines will start warming up at the 509th and 131st BWs in Whiteman. After that it gets ugly.)
4) So his nukes are an empty rattle unless he's got a death wish for the entire Russian people, and Putin's going to have to dance with the gal who brung him: his drunken, incompetent, untrained and ill-prepared Russian Army boobs and bumpkins. Boo frickin' hoo.
1) Putin has plenty of troops already. So why "mobilize" partially?
2) Because he has thousands of miles of hostile borders, with every single nation. Russia has fought China, and incurred thousands of casualties in border skirmishes over the last century. They're not friendly with Iran or Afghanistan either. Turkey, Norway, and the Baltic States are NATO. Finland and Sweden want to be. Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, and Hungary are also NATO, and have no wish to return to the fold of their temporary overlords from Moscow; in fact, they're rabidly strident about that point.
3) More than half a dozen -stans have no wish to be under Moscow's thumb either, and they make that point known to Moscow every few years, violently. St. Petersburg is a looong way from Moscow as well. And even the Russian capital is no hotbed of Putin-lovers these days, or any days.
4) In short, Putin has a metric fuckton of conflicts that need troops to staff them, 24/7/365. None of those guys can be pulled without risking invasion, internal disaster, or even civil war. Bummer, for Vlad.
5) Those conscripts haven't been in the military for months to years. It will be months and months before they can be processed, re-trained, equipped, and deployable to units, whether piecemeal, or wholesale. That's next spring, at the earliest, before they make any difference at all. And then he'll have 300,000 green, untested troops to throw at a problem that 190,000 soldiers have proven unable to handle. Or with people who don't want to be there at all left to guard his vital national interests from actual enemies, while moving, at great difficulty and expense, the better-prepared and more politically reliable units to the Ukrainian meatgrinder. Well-played, MápШaԯ. That will turn out well.
6) Russian doctrine since ever is to reinforce success, not failure. That's true at the soldier level, and the army level. They don't reinforce struggling units, they leave them to their fate, and send fresh troops to make new attacks.
7) The problem in Ukraine is the US, NATO, the whole world, and 3000 satellites, are all watching everything Putin does, live and in color. Elon Musk has single-handedly given Ukraine a first-world satcom comms capability. Putin's a two-dimensional thinker in a three-dimensional battlespace. And he's paying for that now, in real time.
8) His forces right now continue to get rolled back, in most cases faster than they can make defensive lines to hold.
1) Trying faux referendums, among a population that is either dead by Russia's hand, refugees in Poland and Slovakia, or rabidly anti-Russia in the occupied zones isn't going to fly. Nobody will buy the bullshit, and it will be d.o.a. anywhere it's peddled.
2) Putin wants to claim this is about protecting Russian sovereignty. The problem with that is that he thinks "Russia" is any territory he wants to grab ahold of, whether they want it or not. If he and his murderous military fucktards would simply fuck off, and march back to Russian territory mutually agreed upon by all parties as of December 31, 1990, he'd be at peace with the world. Nobody wants to talk about that inconvenient little truth. GTFO of Ukraine, and MYOB, respecting the status quo ante, and this is over by breakfast tomorrow.
3) India has openly rebuked him for the Ukrainian war, and China has "severe doubts and hesitations" about his entire ill-advised enterprise. His alliances of convenience are becoming inconvenient to the only allies he has in the world.
You don't mobilize reserves and send in 150% more people than you started out with when you're winning a war. Look no farther than LBJ or Dubbya to figure out the truth of that statement. So Russia isn't winning this, and they've obviously even gone beyond what the initial troop commitment could get and hold. And they're not done losing yet.
Current Russian losses are lied about by both sides, but anyone who believes Ukraine managed to bum rush a million square miles of territory and more out of Russia's grasp because the Russians were retreating faster than Ukraine could catch up to them, and suffered negligible casualties in such a wholesale rout, is smoking truckloads of hopeium.
If you think Russia is going to strike back, it begs the question: If they were any such competent, and capable, why did they get their asses kicked back inside the Russian border in the first place?
Because they're not that competent and capable. Duh.
The initial offensive has slowed, but not stopped, and Ukraine is putting continual pressure on Russian forces, increasingly against troops poorly motivated, abysmally led, and running out of critical supplies. The retreat and despair grows by the day, which emboldens Ukraine, and encourages the West to continue and indeed increase supplying Ukraine with what they need to humble Russia all the way back to inside their own borders - where Putin should've kept them in the first place.
The losses that have to be the highest now are in Moscow. Anti-war protests by hundreds and thousands of Muscovites who said "Hell no! We won't go!" sprung up within hours of Putin's mobilization. Bombs are being thrown at his motorcade. And at this rate, the only unit taking more casualties than the ones in contact with Ukrainian forces in Kharkiv and Donbas are Putin's food-tasters in the Kremlin. He's probably losing 100 a week at the current rate.
And it's a going to be a long, cold winter ahead of him.
For the midwits out there trying to do this with half the IQ points needed, Putin's a world-class @$$hole because he's a KGB thug and ruthless murdering dick-tater, always has been one (you could look it up) since ever, and not because Poopypants likes him or hates him. You're not right on this because you're opposed to Emperor Poopypants' opinion, you're wrong because you're twenty-five years behind the curve on Vlad. You have enemies closer to home than Vlad, but they're not your only enemies. When you set the problem up wrong, you'll never get the right answer.
50:50 odds Putin never sees Christmas if nothing changes. Even if he does, Santa's bringing him a lump of coal. And if he's very, very lucky, it won't be from the charred remains of his army, or his capital.