Russia: Mobilization Will Lead To Massive Losses But Putin Doesn’t Believe That Will Hurt Him Politically – OpEd


Vladimir Putin’s mobilization by its very nature will lead to massive losses of life among Russian forces in Ukraine, but the Kremlin leader doesn’t believe that will hurt him politically because Russians stood still for the loss of a million of their fellow citizens in the pandemic, according to Anatoly Nesmiyan who blogs under the screen name El Murid. 

Moroever, the blogger continues, Putin has an enormous propaganda machine which continues to insist that Russia hasn’t been taking any significant losses at all, something that is demonstrably untrue but that significant numbers of Russians appear prepared to accept as gospel (

El Murid says that one of the reasons he did not think that Putin would order a mobilization effort is that under Russian conditions it will be incredibly inefficient and lead to enormous loss of life. Once men are recalled to service, they will be divided into two groups. Some will fill in for current losses and immediately go to the front without training and so will suffer accordingly.

Others will be used to form new units with new and inexperienced officers and then will be sent into the front lines when the mixed units fail. They will then suffer enormous losses and have to be replaced, presumably by more mobilized people. It is difficult if not impossible to say which option is worse for those now being called up.

But two things are clear, El Murid argues. On the one hand, this system is so badly designed that far more Russians are going to be called up in the future as first the mixed units and then the new ones fail because of rising casualties. And on the other, Putin doesn’t care. He clearly believes Russians will stand even for this. Tragically, he might be right.

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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