Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Non-Russian Republics among Leaders of Federal Subjects as Source of Professional Soldiers, Russian Defense Ministry Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 10 – Nikolay Pankov, a Russian deputy defense minister, says that Chechnya, Ingushetia, Karachayevo-Cherkessia, Bashkortostan, the Komi Republic, and the Tyva Republic are among the leading federal subjects in terms of fulfilling Moscow’s plans for recruitment of professional soldiers (

            To be sure, Pankov listed some predominantly Russian regions in this regard and did not provide any exact numbers, but his words are certain to alarm some in the traditionally xenophobic Russian army officer corps because even more than the flood of draftees from non-Russian areas, those joining to serve as professionals will change the face of the Russian Army.

            The overrepresentation of non-Russians in the military relative to their share in the population has attracted attention as Putin has ramped up the army for his war in Ukraine ( But most of these men signing up for a single tour will serve only a relatively short time.

            Those signing up to be professional soldiers will typically serve much longer and as such Pankov’s words are likely to disturb many not only because the highlight continuing demographic problems of the ethnic Russians but also because they mean that the Kremlin will increasingly be relying on non-Russians to enforce its will on Russians.

            That is likely to be problematic not only for the Russians who won’t like such an arrangement but also for non-Russians and especially Muslims who are likely to view their new role as entitling them to better treatment and a seat at the political table as well, two things the Putin regime has so far proved reluctant to offer.

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