By Paul Goble
Even though Vladimir Putin has declared that his partial mobilization will end in two weeks, Russia faces another set of military-related problems because at exactly that moment that country will begin its fall draft, slated to take in some 120,000 men at a time when resistance to military service is clearly growing, Darya Talanova says.
The Novaya Gazeta.Europe journalist says that few believe official assurances that draftees won’t be sent to fight in Ukraine and notes that “the war and mobilization have intensified the unwillingness of men to serve in the Russian army,” an unwillingness reflected in growing complaints against the system (novayagazeta.eu/articles/2022/10/17/rotnyi-refleks).
Consequently, even the end of mobilization will not mark the end of tensions between the military and the regime, on the one hand, and a Russian population opposed to having their own relatives fight in Ukraine, on the other. Most earlier viewed military service as an obligation and honor; but now, Talanova indicates, many view it as an unwelcome or even unbearable burden.
And coming on top of the partial mobilization campaign, the fall draft which was delayed by Putin’s partial mobilization order appears likely to be the most troubled in recent years, with officials scrambling to meet quotas and men resisting in the courts, by flight abroad, or even by more attacks on military intake centers.
“Now,” the Novaya Gazeta journalist writes, “the military commissariats are overloaded with work because of the mobilization. That became the reason for shifting the fall draft from October to November.” But there is already a bureaucratic problem: the draft boards haven’t been given direction on how to divide the flows of the mobilized and the draftees.”
According to Talanova, “legal specialists expect that the additional burdens on the draft commissions combined with the unwillingness of young people to go into the army will provoke a record wave of violations of the rights of draftees” – and likely a record number of suits against the government from men who don’t want to serve.