Mobilization in Russia: Who are Putin’s 300,000 reservists | International

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Wednesday in a televised message a “partial mobilization” of soldiers to fight in Ukraine. Minutes later, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu specified that 300,000 people with “previous military experience” would be called up. The Russian president accompanied his speech with the signing of a decree. However, the decree does not clarify who is likely to be mobilized and does not set limits on the number of people available.

Below are the details of Putin’s words and the decree.

The call-ups, according to Putin

Those mobilized will be, in the words of the Russian president, people who “are currently in the reserves, especially those who have served in the armed forces, who have certain military professions and relevant experience.”

The president did not clarify how many reservists will be summoned. But his Defense Minister later provided the figure of 300,000. And he added: “These are not people who have never seen or heard anything about the Army. Students can still go to class.”

The chairman of the Defense Committee of the State Duma, Andrei Kartapolov, has reported that the first wave of mobilizations will include soldiers up to 35 years old and non-commissioned officers up to 45.

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In Russia, men between the ages of 18 and 27 are obliged to perform military service. Its duration is usually one year, although it is not difficult to get rid of this service for medical reasons or because you are studying.

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And according to the decree?

The decree does not specify at any time that only those with military experience can be mobilized. the political scientist Ekaterina Shulman warns: “According to this text [el decreto]anyone can be called up, except employees of the military-industrial complex”.

Nor does the decree provide the figure of 300,000 reservists mentioned by the Defense Minister. The rule leaves the door open to greater mobilization.

Will the decree affect Russian soldiers now fighting in Ukraine?

Yes. The contracts of Russian fighters posted to Ukraine are extended, even if they are about to expire, until the end of the “partial mobilization” period.

How many soldiers does Russia have?

Russia has 25 million people who have completed military service and who at any given time could be called up in a context of general and not partial mobilization, as is the case now. The Russian Army has one million active people (compared to 209,000 in Ukraine). Last August, six months after the invasion of Ukraine, Putin signed a decree, which is scheduled to come into force in 2023, increasing the number of troops by 137,000. Thus, starting next year, the Russian Army expects to have more than 1.15 million members.

The number of reservists amounts to two million.

What preparation do the Russian reservists have?

The reservist corps is made up of former members of the armed forces and those who have had contracts with the State security and emergency services, which includes firefighters and police. The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) analysis center pointed out last March that “traditionally” only 10% of reservists receive training after completing military service. And he cited an analysis according to which the number of active reservists, in the western sense, with regular monthly and annual training, was only 4,000 or 5,000 people.

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The Army’s Southern Military District organized active and paid training for reservists last year. His goal was to reach 38,000 troops.

Nor will it be easy to equip 300,000 new troops. Above all, if one takes into account that precisely the equipment on the ground has been one of the weak flanks of the Russian army in Ukraine.

What results on the ground can the mobilization of 300,000 reservists bring about?

Analysts and experts quoted by the New York Times estimate that the number of Russian troops currently does not exceed 200,000. Seeing more than double this amount with the arrival of the reservists, Moscow would be in a position to better defend the more than 1,000 kilometers of line on the front. “However,” the newspaper notes, “observers say that most of the high-ranking personnel have already been deployed, and the so-called will need more training and weapons.”

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