Large numbers of Russians are expressing some form of sustained opposition after Russian leader Vladimir Putin recently announced a mobilization — meaning a conscription, or draft — for the war in Ukraine, where the targeted country’s defenders continue achieving significant successes against invading Russian troops.
Ukrainian soldiers recently retook Izium, which is in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region and was a hub for Russian military activities in the area, and Ukrainians are engaging in new counteroffensive operations from Luhansk to Kherson, with increasing rates of fire on Russian military positions — to which Russian troops are responding by increasing their strikes on civilian locations inside Ukraine, U.K. defense authorities said. In Russia, everyday citizens are facing draft orders as part of a mobilization aiming for a specific number of new troops obscured from the public. (That portion of the mobilization order was identified as classified.) The number, however, is no doubt huge. In Ukraine, hundreds of thousands of Russian soldiers have already participated in fighting, with tens of thousands killed. Alongside the fatalities are substantial (even if unconfirmed) numbers of wounded, many of whom were no doubt put out of service by the impacts of their injuries.
“Airline tickets out of the country sold out within a matter of hours,” The Daily Beast summarizes. “There were myriad reports of men of conscription age being barred from buying bus and airline tickets, and human rights groups reported that draft notices were already being handed out to people at bus stations and train stops in some areas. Street cleaners and homeowners associations were reportedly tasked with delivering the notices in other areas.” And there were protests: Russians took to the streets in Moscow and across Russia, in cities including Ulan Ude, Izhevsk, Irkutsk, Chelyabinsk, and Perm. There were hundreds of detentions of demonstrators after Putin made his draft announcement, and some of those detained were provided with their conscription orders while in custody, according to available information. Even medical workers are among those receiving draft orders. On Wednesday, protest-related arrests passed 1,300.
“The crazy old man is going all in, his bets–are our lives,” a message on the website of the St. Petersburg-area Pulkovo Airport said after a hack. “They promised us to take Kyiv in three days. The Ukrainians took in three hours what we took in three months. Now there is a mobilization for ‘fresh meat’ in order to bomb civilian sites.”
On multiple levels, it’s easy to imagine Putin’s decision for a nationwide mobilization will impose significant impacts on the Russian population. How many people who otherwise could have helped with community-level progress — or something on a broader scale — will instead die in Ukraine? What kind of unrest will follow inside Russia as the reality of the fatalities Putin is forcing Russia into sustaining become more clear? In Putin’s mobilization order, or at least the parts of it publicly available, there are no limits on the overall number of those getting summoned for military service.