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All over Russia, mobilization for war in Ukraine is in full swing. A video clip shows families crying goodbye to their parents and husbands being carried away on buses. President Putin announced on Wednesday a “Partial Fill” in. In a speech, he said that 300,000 reservists would be sent to the front.
The question now is to what extent this mobilization is biased, and who exactly should be fighting. According to the independent newspaper Novaga Gazeta, the numbers are much higher. The newspaper reported that Putin’s decision contains a secret paragraph. According to an anonymous source from the presidential circles, it says that up to one million Russians can be recruited. The Kremlin calls these “lies” and denies them.
Shortly after Putin’s speech, recruitment began at a rapid pace. “It’s amazing how fast it’s going. Mobilization is already underway across the country,” says Laura Starink, a Russia expert associated with knowledge platform Raam op Russia.
The night after the speech, videos of men gathered from their village surfaced. Especially this happened at an emergency pace in such remote eastern regions as Yakutia and Buryatia, where many ethnic minorities live.
Russians are divided over the mobilization, with some openly criticizing:
Russians are divided over mobilization: “What are we fighting for?”
The mobilization led to widespread civil unrest, with posts appearing on social media of men appearing to have been drafted with no combat experience. One reason is that local officials have to abide by pre-imposed quotas. “According to the Minister of Defense, it is only about Russians with military experience, but the students have already been taken out of the lectures and random people have been taken out of their beds,” Starink says.
Russian authorities are trying to contain the unrest by assuring that no one without combat experience will be called up. In Russia, every man is conscripted and must serve in the army for a year. An exception applies to students and people with medical conditions.
The scenes remind us of the Stalinist era at the beginning of the 20th century, says Starink. “Putin announced that it is partial mobilization so that the blow does not strike hard. He does it in a threatening manner. Anyone who refuses will be sentenced to ten years in prison.”
After Putin addressed the people, thousands of Russians took to the streets to demonstrate. Believes 1300 protesters They were arrested. Some of them cost the protest dearly. “A number of them were mobilized immediately,” Starink says. “There are stories about protesters who were arrested and immediately afterwards the mobilization papers were delivered with the message: You are going to the front. We don’t know if they are receiving any proper training.”
With the new recruitment of soldiers, the end of the war was not yet in sight. “The people called up now have to keep fighting until the end of the war,” Starink says. This is what the decree stipulates. Soldiers who fought in Ukraine so far were under contract and allowed to cancel. “The mobilization shows that Russia believes that the war will go on for a very long time.”
Also, the packaging did not come randomly. start today “referendums” In eastern Ukraine about joining Russia. There is not much to choose from, because the result is predetermined. “By annexing the territories, Putin expands the Russian territory,” Starink says.
Only contracted and well-trained military personnel are allowed to fight abroad, and reservists must remain on Russian soil. “If you move the border, you can say that Ukraine is fighting in the Donbass on Russian soil. And with that, the West is also fighting Russia.”
Russians say goodbye to their loved ones at mobilization centers before boarding the bus:
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