Russian Military Personnel
All Russian men between the ages of 18 and 27 are obliged by law to perform one year of military service. In 2015, the total number of conscripts in the Russian army was 297,100 people - is one of the lowest in the past ten years. The most popular in the twenty-first century was an appeal to the Russian army in 2009 - 576,580 people. Then, 305,560 people were called in the spring.
Russian authorities were apparently grabbing men off the streets - including cafes, restaurants, and workplaces - to replenish their military manpower in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, according to The Washington Post 16 October 2022. The press-gangs appear to descend at random. It is terrifying and, at times, comically haphazard. Police officers have taken many able-bodied men from streets and Metro stations to fight in the war, and have even staked out apartment building lobbies to give military summonses.
Officials even grabbed dozens of men from a homeless shelter in Moscow. Russian army recruiters in St Petersburg have tried to persuade homeless men to sign up as soldiers. The Russian homeless are 95% male and 95% drunk. By 1996, roughly 1.5 million of Russia's 147.2 million population found themselves homeless. In communist Russia, vagrancy and begging were punished with a minimum two-year prison sentence so many homeless were classified as felons. Today, homelessness in the Russian Federation is estimated to be roughly 5 million, approximately 3.5 percent of Russia's population. The Soviet propiska system of residency permits granted housing and employment to individuals only in the place where they were officially registered. One of the most common issues that the homeless in Russia face is the loss of legal documents, such as passports and residency permits. Once Russian citizens lose these documents, they are no longer eligible to receive free social or medical care and have no path to recovering these benefits.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu commented 05 July 2022 on reports of conscripts participating in a special military operation in Ukraine. He said this at a meeting in the military department. According to the head of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, conscripts are not sent to the zone of the special operation. Earlier, the press secretary of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov said that conscripts are not involved in any way in a special operation in Ukraine and are not sent there. He stressed that the previously discovered case of conscripts in Ukraine is under control in the Prosecutor General's Office on behalf of Vladimir Putin. Prior to this, Shoigu said that the Russians, sent to military service this spring, would not be sent to hot spots. He noted that the training of this year's spring conscription servicemen will begin with professional training in training centers lasting from three to five months.
Russia is replenishing its armed forces through covert mobilization, so it makes no sense to wait until its offensive potential is exhausted. This was stated on 25 June 2022 by the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Kyrylo Budanov. According to Budanov, Ukraine can achieve victory over Russia only with the help of military force.
"The strategy is very simple. Stabilize the situation. Get the necessary amount of equipment and prepare the necessary amount of forces and means to launch a counteroffensive to return our entire territory, "he said. According to him, "one should not expect miracles that they will get tired, stop wanting to fight and so on."
"We will return our territory as a result of our counteroffensive," he added. Over 330,000 people take part in Russian operations in Ukraine, which is a third of all the Russian armed forces, and this figure, according to him, also includes non-combat personnel, including members of the rear services.
Budanov noted that he is calm about the possibility of Russia declaring open mobilization , as it will cause dissatisfaction inside the country. "They are really afraid of this - that's why the mobilization is covert, in particular, with the use of (reservists)," he said.
The personnel of the military units that took part in the February 24 invasion have been replaced, sometimes twice, he said. "These are not the well-trained people who have been trained for many years," Budanov explained.
Under Russian law, the idea of regions carrying out their own individual military mobilizations is clearly illegal, said Sergei Krivenko, the head of the Citizen.Army.Law nongovernmental aid organization. "Russia, of course, has a federative structure," he told Current Time, the Russian-language network run by RFE/RL in cooperation with VOA. "But all matters of security and the formation and activity of the armed forces are exclusive functions of the central government. ... Any mobilization or the formation of separate military units outside the Defense Ministry or the National Guard should be impossible and illegal ....But, of course, it is possible, but it is illegal."
The Kremlin said there were no plans to announce a full or partial mobilization for Russia's ongoing unprovoked invasion of Ukraine as Russian troops suffer losses and lose territory in the Kharkiv region to a counteroffensive. "At this point, no, there is no talk about it," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on 13 September 2022, answering a journalist's question about the possibility of a mobilization. Peskov also said that any criticism of Russian military officials over Ukraine's recent successes on the battlefield in Ukraine's Kharkiv region could be made only "in accordance with the current legislation." Peskov warned "But the dividing line here is very thin. One should be very careful here [when criticizing Russian military leadership]," in a thinly veiled reference to a law adopted in March, days after Russian launched its invasion of Ukraine in late February, that criminalized any criticism of the invasion.
The difficulties that have arisen in the process of mobilization in russia – in particular, the large number of people who have fled abroad to avoid receiving summonses – have forced the russian government to use coercive measures and even conduct raids on conscripts. The lack of proper training and the sending of such persons to the front line immediately after mobilization will lead to a significant increase in casualties among personnel, undermining the already low level of morale and poor psychological state and motivation of russian servicemen. The proportion of russians expressing a negative attitude towards mobilization had already increased to more than 70%.
By January 2023 there were signs that Russia was planning another offensive in Ukraine. Ukrainian officials and Russian experts predicted a second mobilization wave. During his traditional evening address 10 January 2023, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Moscow planned to mobilize more troops for a major offensive. Shortly before New Year's Eve, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov had warned Russians the Kremlin was working on another conscription drive, planning to impose martial law and close the border to Russian men to prevent them from leaving.
"We can see there is no decree to end the mobilization drive," says Sergei Krivenko, who heads Russia's Citizens, Army, Rights group, a human rights organization. "The first draft wave happened in October; this was no partial mobilization." He also says "there are reports that some people in regions of Russia are still being called up, maybe the defense ministry is trying to draft specialists — in any case, the mobilization is not over." Russian authorities have labeled his organization a "foreign agent."
In December 2022, however, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced the armed forces would be expanded to 1.5 million soldiers, says Krivenko. This would mean growing the armed forces by 400,000. "This is preparation for a mobilization, I think we should expect a second wave in late January or February." Half of the freshly mobilized soldiers were sent to the front, the other was sent to training camps. "They underwent months of training," says Krivenko. "When the offensive begins that Putin and his defense minister talked about, these soldiers will be sent straight into battle. They will soon need reinforcements, so a second mobilization wave must begin now, so that the conscripts can be trained for several months."
"There will be a second, maybe even a third mobilization wave, because we will be forced to do this," Igor Girkin, the former "defense minister" of the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic said in late December. "To win in Ukraine, we will have to field at least half a million soldiers. Even without this determination to win we will need partial mobilizations." According to Girkin, a second mobilization wave will ensue in January or on February 24, the one-year anniversary of the war.
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