Staunton, July 24 – Since the start of Putin’s war in Ukraine, Russian, Ukrainian, and Western government sources have reported increasing ethnic tensions in the Russian military as well as growing anti-military attitudes among non-Russian communities. Now, Moscow has created a special agency to monitor these things (ehorussia.com/new/node/26437
Stanislav Belkin, the deputy head of the Federal Agency for Nationality Affairs, announced today that the defense ministry, working with his agency and various academic institutions, will begin monitoring inter-ethnic relations in the army (nazaccent.ru/content/38739-v-rossii-nachnut-monitorit-mezhnacionalnye-otnosheniya-v-armii.html).
Such monitoring, Belkin continued, will allow commanders to take timely measures to prevent any clashes and help officials counter what he called “massive attempts to discredit the nationality policy of Russia” and lead non-Russians to refuse to serve in the special military operation for ethnic or religious reasons.
Ethnic and religious conflicts within the Russian military have long been part of the culture of dedovshchina that infects its units. They have come under closer scrutiny as the war in Ukraine has brought what happens in the services closer to home. That Moscow should feel compelled to take this action and to announce it publicly only highlights how serious the problem is.