Staunton, Jan. 14 – The Kremlin wants to expand the Russian military by 350,000 men but is constrained by two factors that limit its options. On the one hand, demographically there are only a few more than half as many potential draftees now as there were only a decade ago; and on the other, there is widespread opposition to another mobilization.
As a result, the Russian authorities are not only working hard to correct the mistakes they made this past fall when they combined a partial mobilization withthe draft but also employing tricks to achieve Kremlin goals while deceiving the population, IdelReal commentator Ruslan Aysin says (idelreal.org/a/32223383.html).
He and Georgy Aleksandrov of Novaya Gazeta each have surveyed the expert community about what these tricks are or are likely to be in the future (novayagazeta.eu/articles/2023/01/14/voiuiut-vse). Among the most likely steps the experts say Moscow is likely to take in the next draft which begins on April 1 are the following:
· Raise the upper age limit of those to be drafted to 30 but not raise the lower age limit from 18 to 21 as many had assumed;
· Allowing the military to recruit professionals from all draftees and not just a limited number as now;
· Increasing the length of draft service from one year to 18 months or even two years; and
· Requiring those over 30 who have never served to receive some training so that they could be called up.
None of these measures will be popular once people see how these government moves impact their lives, but all of them are likely to be necessary if the Kremlin is going to expand or even maintain its level of aggression abroad.
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