Russians Fear a Wider Call-Up After Putin Orders Reservists to Mobilize

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MOSCOW—Russians began calling thousands of military conscripts, while others tried to flee Russia. army call-up fight for president

Vladimir PutinThe war in Ukraine could be more widespread than originally thought.

Road traffic surged at the border point out of Russia on Thursday, according to local media reports. Air tickets sold out for days after Putin announced the convocation on Wednesday. At least four Russian regions, he said, have banned men from leaving the country without the approval of the local military recruitment office.

A video posted by local media showed a man saying goodbye to his family in a remote part of Russia.

The Kremlin describes it as a partial mobilization to thwart a decades-long Western conspiracy to dismantle Russia, but the ambiguity of the call-up order is growing as Moscow continues to age the military. Wider conscription of men in the United States spreads fear that it beckons. Self-proclaimed special military operation in Ukraine.

Officials said 300,000 reservists and veterans under the age of 36 would be activated. However, Putin’s order, posted on the Kremlin’s website, did not specify how many people would be mobilized, or who would be mobilized, and that it was partial, with the Russian Defense Ministry later claiming the needed recruits. said to disclose the number of

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday, without providing any evidence, that senior NATO officials said it was acceptable to carry out a nuclear strike against Russia. He threatened to use nuclear weapons and ordered the mobilization of the country’s reserve forces.Photo: Russian Presidential Correspondence/Kremlin via Reuters

Subpoena notices began reaching people of all ages and categories from Wednesday through Thursday night, including those who were not reservists, according to rights activists tracking the case.Free Buryatia Buryatia, a republic of less than a million people in eastern Siberia, has unjustly killed a large number of its soldiers in Ukraine, summoning at least 3,000 in the 24 hours after Putin’s announcement, according to the republic. Foundation, anti-war group.

“This is not a partial mobilization,” said group founder Alexandra Garmazapova, who said there were people over the age of 36 who received the notice even if they had no military experience. , and her phone was ringing all night with messages from locals asking how they could get to neighboring Mongolia.

A video released by local news outlets showed a long queue forming at the border crossing, after a Telegram chat group called “Evacuation of Buryatia” was created late Wednesday night. , has grown to over 1,000 users with nearly 2,000 messages.

On Thursday, the Kremlin directed questions about mobilization procedures to the Russian Defense Ministry. In his first 24 hours after the mobilization order was issued, about 10,000 people voluntarily came to the recruitment office and received notice, according to the Ministry of Defense.

In an announcement Wednesday morning, Mr Putin emphasized that he had ordered the partial mobilization of reserve forces “with certain military expertise and relevant experience”.

Some time later, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the order would call for 300,000 reserve troops. Senator Andrei Kartapolov also said his prime candidates for conscription are privates, sergeants, corporals, and cadets under the age of 35 and undergo military training before being deployed.

Most Russians broadly support the war in Ukraine, according to both state-run and independent pollsters, but experts say the support is fragile and could easily be defeated by mobilization. Says.

A poll conducted earlier this month by the independent Levada Center showed that public interest in the invasion was initially high in February but has steadily declined, especially among young people who were believed to have been asked to join the fighting. is doing. Opinion polls showed that young people were much more likely to support peace talks.

Russian riot police detained demonstrators against mobilization for war in Ukraine in Moscow on Wednesday night.


Photo:

Alexander Zemlyanichenko/Associated Press

Thousands of people took part in protests in cities across the country on Wednesday night in what was the first large-scale expression of discontent since anti-war rallies exploded at the start of the invasion. According to three people interviewed by the OVD-Info Rights Monitor and The Wall Street Journal, more than 1,300 people were detained and the man reported receiving a summons at a police station.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday that issuing summonses to those detained at the protests “is not against the law.”

Andrei Shashkov, an 18-year-old college student in Moscow, was detained at the Yuzhnoye Tushino police station, according to a copy of his police record seen by the WSJ. Officers separated the detained man from the woman and told him he could not leave until he signed a summons, Shashkov said Thursday. The Journal reviewed his subpoena.

Shashkov said he was asked to come to the military recruitment center for a two-week military training exercise in the town of Naro-Fominsk, a suburb of Moscow. He said he was not told what would happen next. But Mr. Shashkov did not show up and said he would take his chances. As a student, he may be given reprieve, he said.

Others chose to play it safe.

Alexander Vasilyuka was in the West Siberian city of Surgut when Putin announced an order for the partial mobilization of reservists.

On Wednesday, Russian soldiers smoked and laughed near the entrance to Moscow’s Paveletskaya railway terminal.


Photo:

wall street journal

Vasilyukha, 26, belongs to Category B and is exempt from military service, but is eligible to be called up in times of war. Putin is on the verge of declaring war, but Vasilyuka, who had already planned to move to Finland at the end of the month, decided he would not risk staying. To Moscow he flew three hours, then took a high-speed train north to St. Petersburg, crossing the Estonian border by midnight.

“It’s all very unpredictable,” he said over the phone. “I decided not to play with fire.”

Vasilyukha said four women and 30 men were on board his bus from St. Petersburg to the border.

While this week’s partial mobilization has shocked some, a quieter recruitment drive is already underway in Russian provinces where local governors have filled quotas. Volkov said the rush to win airline tickets and rush through several border points was a predictable response to a more formal mobilization order.

Mr Putin’s personal popularity remains high among Russians and will help the government to vent grievances, he said, with many Russians believing the West to be responsible for the conflict in Ukraine. pointed out that there is

“Mobilization is a shock, but this will soften it,” said Volkov. “Many people see this conflict as an international one, like the West versus Russia.”

A more troubling issue, he said, would be the long-term consequences when thousands of Russians begin to serve in a conflict that showed little interest. A poll by the Levada Center in Ukraine noted that many respondents indicated little knowledge of where the Russian army is fighting in Ukraine, or in how many provinces. “They didn’t really know where it was or what was going on,” he said.

Maxim, 20, who lives in the Nizhny Novgorod region, recently completed a year of military service and said he had not yet received a notice of surrender, but he could and could be seconded. And hope… Don’t try to avoid it. He said he “didn’t go into depth” about the cause of the war, but he believes someone must protect Russia.

Gregory Shevchenko, who runs a digital marketing agency in Moscow, said it was easy for Muscovites to ignore what was happening in Ukraine so far. But since Wednesday morning, his calls, chats, and social media all have been filled with his one topic. Mobilization.

“The war has jumped out of the TV and into the big cities,” he said. “It’s a big change.”

Email to Evan Gershkovich [email protected]Alan Callison [email protected] Yulia Chernova [email protected]

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