By: Mia Allen
The highly publicized war between Ukraine and Russia, which began on February 24 of this year, has been raging for about seven months now. Vladimir Putin has recently sent out a draft that will add 300,000 people to the Russian army. Firstly, what is a draft? Usa.gov states that a draft is “The mandatory enrollment of individuals into the armed forces.” This draft came as a surprise, causing many Russians to resist their government. The draft was originally put off because of potential backlash, but Putin was pressured by pro-war supporters. The pro-war Russians are not pleased with the way that Putin is implementing the draft because they feel that the draftees lack proper military training.
The draft is affecting more indigenous Russian groups like the Yukaghirs and the Sakha’s. The main problem in these areas is the numbers of which these men are being drafted. The New York Times stated, “And even a member of the Russian parliament who represents the region, Sardana V. Avksentiev wrote on social media on Thursday that she had heard of a 300 person village in which 47 men were called up.” (Troianovski,10) This is leading to a sense of panic for the smaller communities. In another statement made by the New York Times, “Kirill Shamiev, who studies Russian civil-military relations at the Central European University in Vienna, said that it was because remote areas and marginalized groups were seen as less likely to protest.” (Trioanovski,15)
The draft has also caused a state of fear among the Russian people. Massive amounts of people are leaving Russia. New York Times wrote, “Protests have erupted in far- flung cities, recruitment centers have been the target of arson, and thousand of military-age men have packed planes and vehicles to flee across Russia’s borders.”(Hopkins, Bengali, Yuhas, 3) It is now estimated that over 260,000 men have left Russia because of the draft. Russian men are crossing the border into Mongolia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Finland. Now the amount of Russians entering Georgia has doubled since the implementation of this draft. The president of Kazakhstan, Kassym Jomart Tokayev said, “ In recent days, many people from Russia have been coming to us. Most forced to leave the country because of the current hopeless situation. We must take care of them and ensure their safety. This is a political and humanitarian issue.” Kazakhstan also is not sending any refugees back that are coming from Russia. There are also rumors that Russia will close their borders to Military aged men. In a region called North Ossetia they are setting up draft offices at the border so they can hand people draft papers forcing them to stay in the country.
The Kremlin is taking into account that there are problems with the draft, but they are placing blame on local officials for trying to mobilize resistant citizens. Some other regions are taking matters into their own hands and are trying to fix the problems. Citizens of Russia are retaliating because of the draft order. In Irkutsk there was a shooting at a draft office and 18 arson attempts at draft offices and government buildings across the country. As we watch from the other side of the war, we shall witness if this draft is successful or if Putin’s military plans will be impacted by a lack of new personnel.
Troianvski, Anton. “Putin’s Draft Draws Resistance in Russia Far-Flung Regions.” nytimes.com, 23 Sept. 2022, www.nytimes.com/2022/09/23/world/europe/russia-draft-ukraine-putin.html.
Hopkins, Valerie, et al. “Russia Admits to Draft Problems as Anger Flares Into Violence.” nytimes.com, 26 Sept. 2022, www.nytimes.com/2022/09/26/world/europe/russia-draft-ukraine-shooting.html.
Light, Felix. “Desperation on Russia’s Borders as Draft-Eligible Men Flee.” reuters.com, 27 Sept. 2022, www.reuters.com/world/europe/desperation-russias-borders-draft-eligible-men-flee-2022-09-27.
Romashova, Olya. “I Won’t Go and Kill My Brothers! Russians Set Fire to Draft Centres.” opendemocracy.net, 29 Sept. 2022, www.opendemocracy.net/en/odr/russia-mobilisation-ukraine-draft-centre-arson-protest.
usa.gov. “Selective Service | USAGov.” Selective Service | USAGov, 21 June 2022, www.usa.gov/selective-service#:~:text=The%20Draft,case%20of%20a%20national%20emergency.
Leave a Reply