“Hysteria” complicates the mobilization of Russian reservists


Those who do not want to go to Ukraine to fight are either trying to leave Russia or looking for a way to avoid the draft. The most daring protest despite police repression. The discontent of the population may end up embittering Vladimir Putin’s military mobilization with which he intends to incorporate up to 300,000 reservists into the Ukrainian front.

Russian citizens, even if they are not opponents of the Kremlin, are concerned that the conflict is beginning to affect them. “My family hasn’t been affected, but at my daughters’ school they have already called one of the teachers,” a Muscovite said ruefully.

The Kremlin considers that the reaction of part of the population has been “hysterical”. “One could somehow understand the hysterical, extremely emotional reaction in the first hours after the announcement, because there was a certain lack of information, but understandable and justifiable,” explained yesterday his spokesman, Dimitri Peskov. That has already been corrected and all information offices “have been activated,” he assured.

The mobilization has brought concern to the entire country. But in some places it has been expressed so loudly that the authorities have had to slam on the brakes. It happened no less than in Chechnya, led by Ramzan Kadyrov with an iron hand. Dozens of women protested Thursday in Grozny to ask that their children not be sent “to their death”.

Hours later, Kadirov published a surprising video on Telegram in which he admitted the celebration of the demonstration, the first public response in the 15 years he has led the region. Kadyrov announced that he had decided to exempt Chechnya from the mobilization, because since the military campaign began in February, it has sent 20,000 men to Ukraine, “more than fulfilling the recruitment plan by 254%”.

Kadyrov exempts Chechnya from recruitment after a demonstration of mothers in Grozny

A student from Buryatia (Far East) denounced in the media The Village that the National Guard arrived at the State University and took the students “directly from classes.”

The Kremlin tried yesterday to contain the discontent that also translates into the exodus of Russians through airports and border crossings with neighboring countries. The Defense Ministry said that some workers in important sectors will be excluded from the draft to “secure the work of high-tech industries and the financial system.” That exception includes certain workers in information technology, telecommunications, financial professionals, as well as employees of state media.

A similar decision was made at the beginning of the intervention in Ukraine, when between 50,000 and 70,000 specialists left Russia, the Russian Association for Electronic Communications estimated. To encourage recruitment, we also try to set an example. Yesterday four Duma deputies asked to be sent to fight in Ukraine.

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But the one who made it clear that he does not want to go is Nikolai Peskov, son of the Kremlin spokesman. On Thursday, a blogger from a YouTube channel created by Alexei Navalni’s team called him on the phone, posing as an official. He told her that they had sent him a summons and that he had to show up the next day. “Of course I won’t go,” replied the 32-year-old Peskov. “If you know that I am Mr. Peskov, you must understand that it is not quite right for me to be there. I will solve this on another level.”

After the conversation went viral on the internet, his father defended Nikolai by saying that “the full text” of the conversation had not been published. One of the niches where Moscow had hoped to recruit troops for his army is that of immigrants from Central Asia.

A good part of this immigration has a Russian passport, but maintains dual nationality. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have warned their citizens that they can go to court for taking part in other people’s wars.

Russia vows ‘quick’ annexation

The express referendums to become part of Russia began yesterday in four Ukrainian territories controlled by the Russian army and its allies: the self-proclaimed People’s Republics of Donetsk (DPR) and Luhansk (LPR), in Donbass, in eastern Ukraine; and Kherson and Zaporizhia, in the south. It is the first step for Russia to annex these regions, in a process reminiscent of the one followed in the Crimean peninsula in 2014. The votes, rejected by the Government of Ukraine and by the West as a “farce” orchestrated by Moscow, will last five days: from yesterday to Tuesday. The Kremlin said that the decision to bring them into Russia would then be “swift.” The referendums were called in a rush this week, a day before Putin called for partial mobilization in Russia.

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