Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Moscow Using Voluntary Detachments to Dispose of Potential Protesters, Zhdanov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Aug. 21 – It is common ground that Moscow is using regionally complected national battalions to solve its military manpower shortage without a mobilization declaration and that such units are more often made up of non-Russians whose standard of living is so low that military service is attractive and of older Russians who remember Soviet times.

            And it is also generally agreed that Kremlin prefers to have those from the non-Russian republics and distant predominantly ethnic Russian oblasts and krays suffer disproportionate combat losses because such places at least in the short run are less likely to stage the kind of protests that might threaten the Putin regime.

            But Oleg Zhdanov, a Ukrainian military analyst, argues that Moscow has yet another reason to use this method of mobilization. Moscow is seeking to recruit the least passive part of the population, those committed to supporting the Kremlin but who could easily turn on the regime and protest against it (idelreal.org/a/31994447.html).

            Getting such people into uniform, he says, has the effect of depriving anti-war activists of the possibility of mobilizing such people and thus making anti-war protests less likely at least in the short term. He offers no specific evidence for this but argues that this is clearly part of the logic of the situation. If some of these active young people don't return from the battlefield, so much the better for the Kremlin.

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