On Wednesday, September 21, in his morning televised address to the citizens of the country, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization. From this day on, citizens of the Russian Federation who have undergone military training and have a military registration specialty can be called up for military service and sent to the front in Ukraine. Citizens called up for mobilization service will have the status of contractors, and contracts will not be terminated until the end of the period of partial mobilization, with the exception of a number of cases – due to age, health reasons, or by a court verdict of deprivation of liberty. Partial mobilization can become massive at any moment, experts interviewed by DW warn.
Who will be affected by the mobilization
The text of the decree of the President of the Russian Federation does not specify what partial mobilization means. The document, signed by Putin, only says that this campaign is being conducted in accordance with the laws “On mobilization training and mobilization in the Russian Federation” and “On military duty and military service.” There is also no definition of partial mobilization in these laws. Who exactly and in what quantity will be mobilized is decided by the Ministry of Defense.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu gave his explanations in an interview on Russian television immediately after Putin’s appeal. “These are not some people who have never seen or heard anything about the army,” said the head of the Ministry of Defense. “These are really those who a) have served, b) have a military specialty, that is, the specialty that is needed today in the armed forces, c) have combat experience”. In total, according to him, it is planned to mobilize 300 thousand people. They do not include students. Shoigu also promised not to send conscripts to the front in Ukraine.
Conscripts can be sent to the war zone
300 thousand – this is more than one percent of the total number of reservists announced by Shoigu – 25 million people. Later, the statement of Minister Shoigu was clarified by the head of the State Duma Defense Commission Andrei Kartapolov. According to him, graduates of military departments can also join the ranks of military personnel. “If they (graduates of military departments. – Red.) military specialties will be in demand, they can be called up. If not, they can safely work for the good of their homeland at the enterprises of the military-industrial complex,” Kartapolov was quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency as saying.
Although Putin and Shoigu deny the possibility of sending conscripts to the front, such a solution is still possible, says Sergey Krivenko, head of the human rights group Citizen. Army. Law and former member of the Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation (HRC). “There is the only restriction that prohibits sending abroad and to the war zone – if there are no four months of conscription service,” the expert explains. “After four months, they can be sent, it’s just not a popular measure in Russia.” He calls the words of the president and the defense minister “cunning” and notes that “with the inclusion of the territories of the south-east of Ukraine into Russia, they will be able to send any military personnel there without any problems.”
Prepared for mobilization all summer
It doesn’t matter what form of mobilization is announced – partial or general, adds Krivenko. “The most important thing is to understand that mobilization announced, he notes. – Partial can instantly develop into a general one. Shoigu today announced the figure of 300 thousand, but it is not in the decree [президента]which means it can be increased or decreased in any direction.
The Russian authorities quietly and in advance prepared for mobilization, says Alexei Tabalov, founder of the Conscript School organization. “All summer long, we observed an active campaign to call up storekeepers for military training,” says the human rights activist. need for repair. Now it is obvious that they were preparing storekeepers in order to call them in the first ranks on mobilization. “
Putin wants to convince Ukraine to sit down at the negotiating table
The decision to mobilize was not easy for Putin because of the potential risks, but he nevertheless agreed to raise the stakes in order to “impress Ukraine with his determination and readiness for escalation,” political scientist Abbas Gallyamov suggested on DW News Show. “What choice does he have? Lose the war – it’s a political collapse, after which he will not be able to continue to be president, – explains Gallyamov. – Ukrainians do not want to sit down at the negotiating table. That’s his problem.”
At the same time, the military personnel called up for mobilization are unlikely to help the Russian army militarily, in solidarity with Gallyamov politician Dmitry Gudkov. “The situation is very serious and speaks of the inadequacy of the Putin regime,” he said. “Taking into account the weapons supplied to Ukraine, we are talking about an additional set of cannon fodder. This is such a new funeral campaign.”
In Russia on the evening of September 21 protests startedannounced by the youth movement “Spring”. Small groups of protesters gather in the main squares of many Russian cities and are almost immediately dispersed by the police. Sociologist from the Levada Center Denis Volkov is sure that the protest in the Russian Federation has no chance of becoming massive.
“A mass protest in Russia is now impossible. This is from the realm of fantasy,” the expert is categorical. “They are not coordinated, and an uncoordinated protest carries a very high price. manifestations cannot be ruled out.