Staunton, Dec. 28 – Vladimir Putin is seeking to have it both ways concerning the possibility of another mobilization, commentator and former Putin speechwriter Abbas Gallyamov says. On the one hand, media leaks about that sends a message to the West that he is prepared to fight on in Ukraine for an indeterminate future.
But on the other hand, he adds, the Kremlin leader’s insistence there won’t be a new mobilization and that the media shouldn’t be talking about it are intended to reassure war-weary Russians that there is no danger that they will be forced to serve (apostrophe.ua/article/world/ex-ussr/2022-12-28/zachem-putinu-nujna-mobilizatsiya--est-dve-prichinyi/49568).
In this as on so many other occasions, Putin is trying to have it both ways, Gallyamov continues; but it is clear that plans for an additional mobilization have been developed and could be put in place at any point when the Kremlin leader decides he needs more cannon fodder. All his denials are intended to distract domestic attention, while the leaks are for foreign ears.
This strategy may not work as Putin hopes, however, according to the commentator. Russians are less isolated from foreign news and less influenced than they were by domestic propaganda than they were. And consequently, the leaks Putin welcomes for foreign consumption may further undermine his standing with Russians at home.