Russia’s claims of mobilization ‘division’ and 300,000 conscripts are likely just political manipulation

Last week of Russia President Vladimir Putin once again tried to draw the attention of the whole world to himself – on September 21, he visited the country announced a “partial” mobilization. The public was comforted by the claim that only men with military experience would be drafted. Moreover, this only applies to a relatively small part of society. The announcement caused outrage in part of Russian society – many resistbet others flee. The “Delphi” portal made sure: several signs show that Putin’s and Defense Minister Shoigu’s promises to call up 300,000 reservists are false.

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Vladimir Putin’s speech last week was awaited all over the world, because even before it there were suspicions that the Russian president might announce mobilization. For reasons known only to the Kremlin, the speech was postponed from the evening of September 20 to the morning of the next day. As usual, justifying his decisions with the fight against the “evil West”, Putin announced a partial mobilization. Respectively, it applies only to reservists – persons with military experience and skills. Specific figures were not mentioned by Putin, but then the Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu claimed to enlist around 300,000 people. However, these statements failed to calm the citizens of the country.

According to Putin and Shoigu, the mobilization would only apply to a relatively small part of the army reservists. According to the Kremlin, there are about 25 million reservists in Russia, of which only about 1% are planned to be called up. In addition, the age of conscripts should be between 18 and 65 years.

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Since the announcement of the mobilization, summonses have been received almost immediately in many regions of Russia with an invitation to come to the military commissariats. At the same time, many reports have appeared on social media that people without military experience are also being drafted. Those over 65 or with disabilities also receive summonses. News of a particularly massive conscription comes from more remote regions of Russia, such as Dagestan, where residents’ protests are also taking place. Foreign media reports that absolutely all men are collected from many villages in the regions. So the claim that the mobilization is only partial is questionable. Putin’s mobilization decree does not specify exactly how the procedure should proceed. This also indicates that the procedure is really not organized in many places, so it cannot be said that the mobilization is only partial.

The claim of 300,000 citizens being conscripted is also questionable. There is no lack of doubt in the public space about this issue either. Especially after reports and video footage of men not being discriminated against in Russian regions. He did not mention such a number in his speech either Vladimir Putin, but after the speech, Minister of Defense Shoigu expressed. Moreover, once again, such a number does not appear in the mobilization decree, which is publicly available on the website of the Russian government. However, one of the points of the legislation is kept secret. A day after the announcement of the mobilization, the media “Novaya Gazeta” reports that the secret seventh part of the decree allows the mobilization of up to one million people, a Kremlin source revealed. Such suspicions have also been expressed by various experts, observing the testimonies of Russian citizens on social media.

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The Center for Eastern European Policy Studies also confirms that there is a basis for suspicions about the truth of these statements. Its researcher Mārcis Balodis explains that the statements were most likely made to comfort the local population. “I think it was said to comfort the public a little bit that it won’t affect everyone. There was that statement that there are 25 million reservists and then if 300,000 are drafted, it’s a very small fraction. I think it’s political manipulation, ” says the researcher.

Discontent in the Russian public has grown considerably since last week’s announcement. A large number of men have tried to leave the country during this time. Novaya Gazeta reports that around 260,000 men have left Russia. The prices of flights to foreign countries have increased significantly, tickets are sold out in many places, but EU countries do not always welcome those who want to enter. However, there are still long queues at the Georgian border, foreign media and eyewitnesses report. After public opposition to Putin’s announcement, yesterday he decided to admit that mistakes had been made in the mobilization process and that they would be corrected.
However, “Meduza” writes that the recognition of mistakes is most likely another attempt to calm the public, and not a true signal of correcting mistakes.

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