Police officers detain a protester during the unsanctioned rally in Moscow, Russia, on September 24, 2022.
- A Kremlin spokesman tried to deflect blame over mounting discord following Russia’s draft decree.
- Protests, displays of violence, and reports of mass departures have plagued Russia in recent days.
- There have been reports of defiant civilians refusing the call-up.
- For more stories visit Business Insider.
The Kremlin on Monday continued to defend its recent mobilisation order while acknowledging that the draft thus far has been plagued with problems.
Last week, more than seven months into Russia’s war in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin announced a partial military mobilisation in an effort to address Russia’s manpower problem amid a spate of recent Ukrainian victories.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov on Monday acknowledged disarray within the draft process thus far, but evaded responsibility, instead blaming local authorities who have been tasked with implementing mobilisation among rebellious civilians, according to The New York Times.
The conscription hammered home the realities of war to the Russian people, the majority of whom have been largely unaffected by the conflict until now. The country’s mobilisation will see up to 300,000 reservists called upon to join the fight, many on the frontlines.
Tens of thousands of draft orders have already been issued – the Russian public isn’t happy.
In the days since Putin announced the draft, the country experienced mass protests, displays of violence, and reports of hundreds of thousands of fleeing Russian men. On Monday, satellite images showed lines of cars waiting to cross into Georgia and Mongolia from Russia.
The country’s mounting defiance culminated in a shocking incident on Monday, when a man frustrated by the mobilisation order shot and injured a recruitment officer at a Siberian enlistment office. The suspected gunman’s mother told a local news outlet that her son was infuriated after one of his friends received a draft summons despite having no previous Russian military experience, according to The Times.
There have also been reports that men who are unfit to fight are being conscripted, and several regional governors have acknowledged as much.
In a call with reporters, Peskov said there have been incidents of people violating the decree, but added that regional governors are working to address such occurrences.
He also said that the government is eliminating any cases of “noncompliance” with military requirements among conscripts.
But as Russia endures mounting military losses thanks to depleted personnel, it’s clear that the country is prioritizing soldiers of any skill.
It’s a late-in-the-game adjustment that is unlikely to make a dent in Russia’s military performance anytime soon, experts previously told Insider. The country’s weakened military infrastructure poses significant problems for training and arming conscripts.
“It’s one thing to call up reservists, but to make them combat effective, you need to run them through a training process of some sort that takes several weeks at least,” Simon Miles, an assistant professor at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy and a historian of the Soviet Union and US-Soviet relations, told Insider last week. “But the Russians have basically cannibalised their capacity to do that.”