ISSN 2330-717X

Russia Likely Facing A Very Troubled Fall Military Draft – OpEd

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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.

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

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