Russia’s mobilization is a ‘desperate’ Kremlin’s war-losing act

Vladimir Putin’s September 21 order to mobilize Additional manpower is already being executed for Russia’s unprovoked war in Ukraine. How quickly new troops can be trained and deployed, in what quantity and with what effect, are questions that only time can answer.

But for the time being, the clearest consensus among observers in Russia, Ukraine and the West is this: these are steps from a country that is losing the war.

Only two weeks earlier, General Ben Hodges (retd), the former commanding general of United States Army Europe, predicted that Ukrainian forces would retake Russian-occupied Crimea. “within a year.” Yesterday’s announcement from the Kremlin only served to reinforce that expectation.

“The announcement of partial mobilization lacks a coherent explanation and suggests that President Putin is aware that the situation in Ukraine is deteriorating,” Hodges said. newsweek, “The Kremlin is desperate. Because of this announcement, I am even more confident in Ukrainian success.”

Russian military expert Vladislav Shurygin, a supporter of his country’s political leadership, nevertheless agreed with the retired American general that the Russian army in its current form was not capable of prevailing in the war.

“If we had tried to keep up with our current level of forces, the war would have dragged on endlessly,” he said. newsweek, “The Ukrainian military has improved to such an extent that it needs more numbers than Russia is currently deploying.”

Shurygin notes that Putin’s order does not have the ability to immediately affect the balance of forces.

“In the next four months, at least, the situation on the ground will not change,” he said. “These new call-ups will need to be armed, dressed, trained and integrated into units before being sent to the front.”

Moscow's protest against mobilization
Russian police officers detain a female protestor during a demonstration in Moscow on September 21, 2022. More than 1,300 people were detained across the country during protest rallies against the military mobilization announced by President Putin on Wednesday.
Contributor / Getty Images

For Ukraine, the reality is that Russia no extra soldiers Provides a window of opportunity ready for immediate deployment.

Oleksiy Honcharenko, a member of Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada, said, “Now is the time to provide Ukraine with all the weapons it needs to end the war before winter, when Russia’s newly mobilized forces begin to advance to the front lines.” Will do it.” newsweek,

“The mobilization on Putin’s part is a desperate gesture,” he said. “It may prolong the war, but it cannot change the end result. And if Ukraine is provided with sufficient aid immediately, we can be sure that it does not prolong the war either.”

The Kremlin had long opposed it political risk Even to announce a “partial” mobilization. As long as Russia’s campaign to abolish Ukraine’s statehood continued television abstract For most Russians, the prospect of mass resistance from Russian society remained negligible.

for seven months, as Russia sent a mix of contract troops, semi-private mercenaries, Chechen militiamen and Donbass residents were forcibly recruited to do looting And dying, Russian society remained largely untouched by war,

That situation may eventually change. Hours after the announcement of “partial mobilization”, “how to break someone’s hand” started trending on search engines in Russia. Telegram channels showed videos of protesters “Putin in the trenches, Putin in the trenches.”

Russian cars formed long lines at the country’s borders with Mongolia, Georgia and Finland as military aged men took refuge abroad. In Dagestan, a group of older-looking military-aged men argued publicly with an employee of a military enlistment office.

On September 22, Mash.ru published a video from Magadan’s Sokol airport, showing hundreds of mobilized reserves waiting to board the Russian Army An-12. The footage was reportedly taken on the intervening night of September 21-22.

Nevertheless, many Russian men were already back in uniform, despite acts of resistance from some potential call-ups. Telegram channels also showed videos of Chechen men gathering peacefully at their local recruiting office. Bus loads of reservists can be seen shipping with their duffel bags in Blagoveshchensk.

Scenes of tearful farewell to the country’s impoverished Far East’s Sakha Republic, which has so far suffered a disproportionate share of Russia’s casualties in the war, also spread on social media. TV Ren spoke with a worker in Ulan-Ude, who said that many locals, who lacked military experience, were being ordered to report to duty anyway.

Lev Schlossberg, a political activist of the liberal Yabloko Party, told newsweek That the impact of Putin’s announcement was already being felt in his native city of Pskov.

“People are very scared,” Schlossberg said. “Military recruiters are visiting workplaces of potential call-ups, and managers of these firms are obliged to participate by handing over their employees.”

“The fact that Defense Minister Shoigu disclosed 25 million because of the amount of available reservoirs demonstrates the scale of his discovery,” he said. “They’re looking for people with special military skills, preferably with combat experience, and they’re looking for them among a wide pool of people.”

But Schlossberg said it remains to be seen whether the military is capable of dealing with such an onslaught of recruits.

“It shows the scale of their ambitions,” he said. “But no one outside the military can know how many new soldiers the military is really capable of training, arming, and dressing up.”

The order to mobilize Schlossberg who opposed Russia’s “special military operation” did not come as a surprise. After the success of Ukraine’s recent counterattack in the Kharkiv region, even the Kremlin still could not be sure that its campaign was going as planned.

“The events around Kharkiv made it clear that the army in its current form cannot hold the front,” he said. “On February 24 we were told that the fighting would be over within a few days. The political leadership of the country clearly did not have an accurate picture of the situation at that time, and we cannot even imagine the number of events inside Putin. What picture exists. Now the head.”

“Still, the fact that they’re talking about calling 300,000 reservists confirms that they understand that the military was not coping with the situation,” Schlossberg said.

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