The Kremlin’s massive recruiting offensive doesn’t seem to be going according to plan everywhere — and it’s fueling anger.
“Shut up, what are you crying about!” A uniformed man shouts from the stage into the hall. “Game time is over, you players!” A second calls. A commotion in the hall. Videos on social media suggest the mobilization in Russia is chaotic in some places.
Men who refuse or are drunk are dragged into buses. Clashes sometimes occur between the prospective recruits and the security forces accompanying them to the army base.
Meanwhile, reports are piling up that men who aren’t actually conscripted are also being invited: teenagers, pensioners, the chronically ill.
Putin’s security request
Vladimir Putin had announced that partial mobilization would be limited to 300,000 experienced reservists. It is becoming increasingly clear that this is not true. This may be a defense claim that most Russians believe war is none of their business.
We won’t fight, we’re all going home now!
But people’s willingness to follow patriotic propaganda is increasingly reaching its limits. Recruitment offices are set on fire. At a bus station in the city of Ryazan, a draftee set himself on fire.
Dissatisfaction clings to peripheral regions
On Monday, a man shot and killed a commander at a Siberian recruitment center, local media reported. Earlier, the man reportedly shouted: “We won’t fight, we’re all going home now!”. A video from Yakutsk in eastern Siberia shows the protests continuing:
This time the demonstrations were not limited to young, educated opposition figures in the big cities. Even in the outlying areas, people are openly expressing their displeasure with the war.
In Siberia and the Caucasus, hundreds of women protested the hiring of their husbands and sons. In Nalchik, not far from the Georgian border, angry mothers confronted local authorities. “What if your son goes to Ukraine?” asked a woman.
Russia attacked Ukraine, not the other way around!
In Muslim-majority Dagestan, people blocked roads to block the passage of busloads of people. Police fired warning shots, men clashed with security forces – here too, many men protested.
According to Russian media, dozens were arrested. “Russia attacked Ukraine, not the other way around!” A woman told a police officer who confronted her. Then the crowd began a chant that had been heard before in Moscow and St. Petersburg: “No war!”
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