Motherland Calls Again

Putin tightens the screws, exacerbating Russia's internal conflicts.
All Russian men who have not yet left Russia are being
pushed out into Ukraine to die for his greatness.

Collage by author from works of (CC BY 4.0) and Irakli Toidze, Public domain via Wikimedia

On April 14, 2023, Mr. Putin has signed the so-called “digital conscription” law and now it will be almost impossible for all Russian draftees and reservists to avoid conscription and, most importantly, mobilization for the war in Ukraine. The law allows now to send electronic conscription notices instead of paper summons as it used to be.

Thus, the "partial" mobilization which started in Russia on September 21, 2022 was not over, as it had been announced on October 28, 2022. It goes on.

The front line in Ukraine has barely moved for over a year, i.e. the forces of the sides were basically balanced. The Ukrainians are on the defensive and they have at least two times less casualties comparing to Russian’s ones as it should be in a defensive battle. Ukraine doesn't need a total mobilization yet, but it will if Mr. Putin increases the number of his troops as the penultimate way to win the war. This is the only way the Russians can fight - by piling the enemy with the corpses of their soldiers. There has always been plenty of soldiers in Russia.

The new “digital conscription” law is designed to find and send to Ukraine the maximum amount of fresh «cannon fodder».

Mr. Putin's last resort to defeat Ukraine is the use of nuclear weapons. The West is a little afraid of this, but nevertheless it keeps supporting Ukraine.

So what is new “digital conscription” law?

Until now, draft notices in Russia had to be delivered in person (preferably) or by mail. People who are a subject to military service have always tried to avoid them and simply ignored mailed summonses. Now they are doing so even more. Mr. Putin personally promised many times that only contract servicemen and officers will fight in Ukraine. However, as it is often happens with Russians, they say one thing, think another, and do the third. The Russian Ministry of Defense constantly sends conscripts to fight in Ukraine, and it will keep doing so.
Many savvy Russians, knowing this peculiarity of their motherland, left the country immediately after the announcement of “partial” mobilization on September 21, 2022. Those who shared Mr. Putin's viewpoint on their leading role in the world and those who had no opportunity to leave were forced to hide to avoid mobilization. Many Russians obviously don't want to fight because it's one thing to be proud of Putin's invincible Russia, watching TV from the couch, but it's quite another thing to die for it in person.

The new law is written just for them.

Russian government is setting up a new unified military register, which will collect information of all Russian draftees and reservists. The registry will store full information of each conscripted citizen - personal data, passport, individual tax number, etc. Military cards and conscription certificates will now include data about passport, driving license, cell phone number and tax number. Thus, the military ID becomes more important than the passport of a Russian citizen.

All persons liable for military service will be able to see the necessary information in their personal dashboard on the website of Ministry of Defense and at "State Services" portal. Military registration offices will now mail draft notices and duplicate them electronically. Paper notices are considered (!) served on the day of delivery. A refusal to receive a notice is also considered (!) to be served. Also, an electronic draft notice will be considered served from the moment it is placed in the personal dashboard of a person in the information system.

Russian citizens who have received a draft notice will not be able to leave the country from the day when the notice is deemed to be served. In addition, if a conscript does not show up at the military registration and enlistment office within 20 days, the "temporary restrictions" will be imposed: the prohibition on buying or selling real estate, driving or registering a car, or taking a loan.

Some human rights activists and lawyers in Russia consider these measures a violation of the Constitution, criminal and administrative laws.

And there's something else which is very important. Previously, any draft decision was automatically suspended if appealed. The most unpleasant thing about the new law is that even if a draftee is appealing a draft decision in court, the decision remains in force during the appeal. This actually means that the new soldier is immediately sent off to the army barracks and he simply may not see the court decision. Mr. Putin needs him for 2-3 days of active combat, actually almost nobody can survive there longer. Thus, the new law helps Mr. Putin to send all the Russians he can recruit quickly and legally to the slaughter.

An honorable duty of every Russian to die for Mr. Putin in Ukraine.

Thus, the cage has been shut down. Those who didn't leave Russia timely would pay for the mistake with their lives. Maybe this is how natural selection is supposed to work. It is absolutely clear that very few people want to fight for Mr. Putin, otherwise Russian government wouldn't have introduced electronic military notices. Unwillingness of Russian soldiers is a chance for Ukraine.

Mr. Putin seems to be very much counting on the new conscription law. Yes, the losses of the Russians are now higher than Ukrainian ones, but if Mr. Putin keeps throwing more and more "cannon fodder" into the fight, there will be not enough Ukrainians. Ukraine had, I think, about 30 million people before the war. In Russia, there were around 147 million people at that time. Ukraine is also losing soldiers, and the time may come when there will be a lack of them. And the collective West will not support Ukraine forever, every country has enough problems of its own.
It seems Mr. Putin decided to wait, which was unpleasant thing, but what to do... He has set himself up for a long war, there were plenty of "cannon fodder" at his disposal and thus good chances of winning.

The next big step to Russia’s collapse.

However, Mr. Putin is taking a risk, too. The new law is a double-edge sword. Applying the “digital conscription” law can be the last straw, which may lead to the overthrow of his regime.

The tightening of the screws leaves no choice and could turn into an uprising of the people who do not want to die for Mr. Putin's greatness. Now Russian people have two options – they are almost guaranteed to die in Ukraine or rebel against Mr. Putin and maybe end up in a jail. The attitude of the Russians to the war should change greatly because of the new law, which really affects everyone, and not everyone wants to go like a sheep to the slaughter, especially from the regions of Russia.

Partial mobilization in September 2022 was basically aimed at the national minorities - the mobilized men were mostly from the regions and hinterland of Russia. The new law will affect everyone, and mostly the Russians in the cities. Finally a justice will be restored, and Moscow and St. Petersburg will also be receiving “killed in action” notices, not just Buryatia and Dagestan. So the risk of a popular uprising against Mr. Putin increases much. It will be the biggest and most effective conflict in Russia. But for now, it looks like ordinary people prefer to be killed in the war for Mr. Putin's greatness than to go to a jail for refusing to fight. There is no limit to the blindness and stupidity of most Russians and Mr. Putin has a very large pool of "great Russia" fans because he has been building it up for a very long time.

All Russia's internal conflicts are now escalating.

It is actually because of the failed war in Ukraine. Illusion cannot stand the test of reality.

The "war of the Kremlin towers" breaks out. Powerful Ministry of Defense and the Federal Security Service (FSB) shift blame to each other of failing to prepare and conduct the "special military operation", concealing the real losses.

Russian elites are shocked by the course of the war, management of the troops, sanctions, Russia's current situation, and Putin's personal contribution to all of that. Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close Putin’s ally, businessman and owner of the private military company “Wagner”, recently spoke online. His soldiers have been fighting with the Ukrainians for a little city Bakhmut in Donbass for months, so he is well acquainted with the situation at the front and the sentiments in Russian society.
Mr. Prigozhin unexpectedly stated in his blog post that the special military operation in Ukraine should be ended and Russia's victory and achievement of all its goals should be declared. He explained that by "many of those who yesterday supported the special operation today either have doubts or are categorically opposed to what is happening."

Russian national-patriots and military bloggers are quite sharp in their criticism of the military and even Mr. Putin personally.

Now many people in Russia are expecting Ukrainian counteroffensive and are afraid of it, as they understand that almost any military success of Ukrainians will destroy the myth of "great" and “misunderstood” Russia, and the country itself along with that.

Many Russian top officials must have realized after the issuance by International Criminal Court of the arrest warrant for Mr. Putin and Russian Commissioner for Children’s Rights Maria Lvova-Belova, that they would now be personally responsible for carrying out the orders of a war criminal. Now the excuse like "I was only following orders" will not work.

Meanwhile, Mr. Putin is reshuffling his senior officers in the hope of improving the situation at the front, which shows that he has no strategic vision of the warfare. He is considered a good tactician, but a bad strategist. That's right. A good strategist would not have gone to war.

Thus, Russia is quickly losing ground. The new law engages all Russian men in an unjust war of invasion, which is now represented by Mr. Putin and Co as a struggle for survival. This is true, because it is the survival of Putin's Russia, and many Russians are being insistently "invited" to pay for that with their lives.

There is no good way out of the situation in which Mr. Putin has driven himself and Russia since the war began. He and his entourage are indeed living in a parallel world if they have started a war with the West in Ukraine.

Russia’s collapse is gaining momentum.

I wrote in my article «Russia’s collapse has began» in October 2022 that
«… mobilization will affect almost every Russian family with men of conscription age, i.e. entire Russia. Losses cannot be concealed … anymore, and this will lead to people’s discontent. People's discontent together with long-term deception is fraught with revolution and the collapse of Russia.»

It hasn't happened yet, but Russia’s collapse really began then. With the announcement of the “partial” mobilization in September 2022, Mr. Putin acknowledged that he had failed to defeat Ukraine with the army alone as he promised. That’s why he needed help from Russian people, which was a violation of the treaty with them. So the collapse of Russia is postponed to an unknown time, but that's just because of the fact that a state consists of the people and its decay takes longer. There are too many internal conflicts in Russia, losses in the war and Western sanctions are making things worse, so the country cannot last long (although "long" is relative).

The anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive (now or later) will be a trigger for the end of Putin's Russia. So far, Mr. Putin seems to be holding the Russian people with an iron hand and pushing them to die in Ukraine. Hundreds of thousands of Russian men realized that in September 2022 and quickly fled to Georgia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Finland, Mongolia... But there are millions left and many of them will not be able to leave the country. The “Kremlin towers” are fighting among themselves. The elites no longer want to participate in all that and are afraid of Mr. Putin, the Ukrainians, and the West. People's attitude towards the war in Ukraine should also change after the launching of the “digital conscription” law (in February 2023 most Russians still supported the war in Ukraine). In the end, only Mr. Putin and a bunch of his courtiers will be in favor of the war.

The necessary conditions for the overthrow of Mr. Putin's regime are slowly but surely being created. Russia’s collapse is gaining momentum. Quantity will transform into quality soon.

P.S. Dear Reader! I am very much interested in your opinion on the subject of this article. Please, write a comment or ask a question if you want to clarify something.
Igor Chykalov
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