S.A summons delivered to eligible men in the middle of the night. School teachers pressured them to hand out notices of the draft. A man given one hour to pack up and show up at the recruitment center. Women sobbing as they send their husbands and sons into Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The first full day of Russia’s first mobilization since World War II generated emotional confrontations and even signs of protest at the conscription centers.
A woman from a small village in the Zakamensky region of Buryatia in eastern Siberia said she first felt something was wrong when her dog started barking in the middle of the night.
In a community of 450 people, the mayor went from house to house, trying to hand out more than 20 draft notices. When the men gathered before leaving the next morning, some drank vodka, hugged each other and told each other to stay safe. I signed.
“This is not partial mobilization, it is 100% mobilization,” said Alexandra Garmazapova, president of the Free Buryatia Foundation, an activist group that reported on local conscription. The day before, she and her colleagues had received and identified more than 3,000 reports, she said. Povestkaor the draft papers will be delivered in Buryatia within just 24 hours after President Vladimir Putin announced the draft.
Despite assurances that Russia has recently served in the military and is looking for men with combat experience, activists pointed to numerous instances of men in their 50s receiving draft notices.
One woman said a 52-year-old relative had given birth. Povestka Just before the president unveiled the draft the day before.
Yanina Nimayeva, a journalist from Ulan-Ude, Buryatia, complained that her husband, 38, had received a draft notice despite having never served in the military.
“‘Don’t you have five children?’ they asked him. My husband laughed and said, ‘Yes, five children.’ “Well, OK, expect your draft papers,” she said.
“I understand that there is a quota. Our republic needs to raise 4,000 soldiers,” Nimaeva said in a video addressed to local governors. “However, some parameters and principles of this partial mobilization must be adhered to.”
In a television interview on Wednesday, Shoigu said Russia was targeting 300,000 conscripts. However, the actual number of orders signed by President Putin is a secret.
Some believe it could be much higher. The independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta Europe reported that a source in the presidential administration said Russia was trying to conscript more than one million people into the army. The report has not been confirmed by other news outlets.
However, videos and anecdotal evidence around Russia show large-scale drafts taking place even in small towns, suggesting that the numbers could be much higher.
Many of them belong to Russian minority republics, reinforcing the sense that Russia has over-relied on ethnic minorities to provide its main fighting force in Ukraine. Inflicted a disproportionate number of casualties.
In Neryungri, Sakha’s second-largest town, also known as Yakutia, a video shows dozens of men gathering at the Gornyak football stadium and being loaded onto buses to the recruitment center as families bid farewell in tears. It looked like it was on film. Most of them were men in their 30s and 40s.
“They have already distributed draft notices to workers in Kolmar and Mechel, two large mining companies operating in the area,” said the activist who posted the video. “They were putting out draft notices all night.”
In Dagestan, a video was shown at a recruitment center showing people angrily confronting officials who supported the recruitment.
Officials said her son had been fighting in Ukraine since February.
“You are fighting for your children’s future,” an anonymous woman shouted to a crowd outside City Hall.
“We don’t have a present, what kind of future are you talking about?” replied a man in the crowd.
In Moscow, hundreds of protesters gathered on downtown Arbat Street after Putin announced the mobilization. Police reportedly began handing out draft notices to those detained at the protest.
Among them was Artem Krieger, a young reporter for the Sota Vision news outlet, who was detained despite being there to cover the protest.
“All the men, absolutely all, got draft notices,” Krieger said during an interview with TV Rain from the back of a police van. It also included a man who needed to appear at a recruitment center, he said.
In a phone call with journalists, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov appeared to confirm that police were handing detainees draft notifications. “I haven’t broken any laws,” he said.
The breadth of mobilization across Russia is staggering. One video showed more than 100 of his conscription cadets lined up behind an An-12 plane at the Kulba airport in the Khabarovsk region of the Far East.
In Buryatia, activists said they could not understand why local officials were so aggressive in recruiting, having received draft notices while students at local universities were sitting in their classes.
Garmazapova said there was also the idea that the local governor was keen to meet the quota “more like a schoolboy than a schoolteacher, Putin.”
Another theory, she said, was that it was done to “punish the Buryatians.”