The authorities in the Kremlin do not want to announce a socially unpopular mobilization. President Vladimir Putin – according to the latest report by the US Institute for War Research (ISW) – apparently commissioned local officials to create volunteer battalions in connection with the armed invasion of Ukraine. The independent Russian-language portal Meduza, in turn, wrote that a formation recruiting mercenaries to participate in the war in Ukraine was established in Moscow. It is called “Sobyanin’s regiment” because it is partially financed from the budget of the capital, whose mayor is Sergey Sobyanin.
In the Institute’s report published on Thursday, it points to the accounts of pro-Kremlin journalists and bloggers who inform that in Russia the “mobilization of volunteers” began. According to these reports, “each region (a federal entity, including two in occupied Crimea) is to create at least one volunteer battalion.”
The American think tank reports, citing media coverage, that battalions or smaller volunteer units are already being established in a number of Russian regions, including in Primorsky Krai, Bashkiria, Chuvashia, Chechnya, Tatarstan, Moscow, Perm, Nizhny Novgorod.
According to the media, local authorities recruit men aged up to 50 (in some cases up to 60) for six-month contracts, offering them salaries of between $ 3,750 and $ 6,000 a month (PLN 16,000-28,000). Some regions offer a mobilization bonus and various social benefits.
Doubts about combat capability
The center estimates that Russia may generate around 34,000 forces by the end of August if each region creates at least one unit of 400 people. However, in comments on these hastily mobilized forces, military experts previously assessed that they would likely have little combat capability.
The ISW also cites the opinions of pro-Kremlin bloggers who criticize the centralized command process in the Russian army, which means that from reporting from the front line to the actual artillery attack, it can take from several hours to several days. One blogger pointed out that Russia’s possible use of Iranian drones (information on this appeared on July 12) will not solve the problems of excessive centralization of the chain of command, although Russian forces need more drones to improve artillery accuracy.
Think tank also cites information from the Ukrainian authorities that the occupation authorities in the south of Kherson Oblast intend to take some students to schools in the occupied Crimea. Analysts point out that it is not possible to verify this information, but forcibly taking children to schools would allow them to put pressure on their parents and force them to cooperate with the occupying authorities.
Recruitment to the “Sobianinowski regiment”
On Wednesday, the independent Russian-language portal Meduza wrote that a military formation was established in Moscow, recruiting mercenaries to participate in war in Ukraine. It is called “Sobyanin’s regiment” because it is partially financed from Moscow’s budget, although its mayor Sergei Sobyanin is publicly trying to distance himself from the war, reporters reported. The portal recalled that Sobyanin had hardly commented on it since the beginning of the military invasion, although he had signed agreements on cooperation between the capital and the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic in Donbas.
According to Meduza’s findings, recruitment to the “Sobianinowski regiment” began on 1 July. Most often, residents of other regions of Russia sign up for it, mainly men under 60 years of age. The mercenaries undergo a month of training at the Mulino training ground in the Nizhny Novgorod region.
Meduza established that Roman Wysocki was one of the recruiters for the “Sobianinowski regiment”. This was also the name and surname of the former commander of the people’s militia in the self-proclaimed republic of Lugansk.
“From the beginning of the military invasion of Russia on Ukraine Russian experts pointed out that without additional mobilization the tasks assigned to the army could not be carried out Vladimir Putin. Recruitment to private military companies has become one of the variants of ‘secret mobilization’. And the line between mercenaries, the regular army and the so-called volunteers during the war in Ukraine was completely obliterated, “wrote Meduza.
Main photo source: SERGEI ILNITSKY / PAP / EPA