Anyone who is called to go to Ukraine in Russia these days will receive an urgent warning from the defense ministry: the use of a mobile phone is strictly prohibited. Nevertheless, countless videos from training centers and barracks from all over Russia are published. It provides an interesting insight into Russian mobilization.
For example, “mobiks”, as the mobilized are called, are called upon to take care of themselves and arrange their own sleeping bags, mats and first aid kits. “And ask your girlfriends and wife sanitary pads and tampons. You stick them in gunshot wounds and suck up all the blood,” says an instructor in a video from the Caucasian Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria.
Other videos reveal appalling conditions in training center barracks. Footage shows dorms without beds. Furthermore, recruits lie side by side on the floor and there are extremely primitive toilet and shower rooms.
It looks like this:
The images underline that the first mobilization in Russia since 1941 has been messy, and that there is a great shortage of equipment such as helmets, shards and winter uniforms. Furthermore, everything is wrong with the weapons, if they are already available.
“Mobiks are told at the mobilization centers to buy weapons themselves,” says authoritative Russian vlogger and military analyst Majkl Naki via Skype from his current home town of Tbilisi, Georgia. “They take out loans or get the required amount through crowdfunding.”
mobilization is being made in a hurry. From day one, loads of mobilized people are transported by bus or plane to military training camps across Russia. A week after Putin‘s decree on partial mobilization, tens of thousands of civilians were called up, according to Naki.
In daily reports on the website of the independent Russian research organization Conflict Intelligence Team, Naki publishes numbers of mobiles collected by him from the various regions.
Regions have different criteria
According to him, there is a lot to wonder about the term “partial” in relation to mobilization, no matter how much the authorities insist on it. “It’s not about the 300,000 men the Ministry of Defense cites,” says Naki.
“Sources in the Kremlin are talking about numbers from 1 to 1.2 million. They would be called up in three waves. The first wave, in autumn, is now underway. This is followed by waves in winter and spring.” Publications in independent Russian media confirm this view.
Local mobilization centers also do not apply the age, military experience and health criteria, as Defence Minister Shojgoe called them.
There are countless examples of this on social media. For example, there is a report about a summoned 59-year-old half-blind man from the Sverdlovsk region. A man in a wheelchair near Krasnodar also received a call, as a photo on Telegram shows.
The Russian independent news channel TV Rain has calculated that poor regions far from Moscow, such as Yakutia, Buryatia and Dagestan, come twice as many mobiks than from the more prosperous regions.
But Naki insists that many people from affluent regions have also reported to recruitment centers. “In Moscow and Saint Petersburg, people have barely let the war get through. They don‘t know what it means to be sent to the front and willingly report to the mobilization points.”
After one day at the front
Testimonials from family members in the media show that the first mobilized people have now left for the front. The independent Russian news site Mediazona spoke to the wife of one of them, from Lipetsk. He had told her by phone that he and his unit of a thousand mobiles had already moved to the front line after one day of training camp.
addition, a mobilized person announced in a video that he would leave for Kherson with his tank unit without having had any training. According to Naki, the video looks reliable.
The Kremlin, Naki concludes, is not afraid to send the newly summoned men to the front untrained and ill-equipped. Naki: “They will fill the gaps at the front. It indicates panic in the Kremlin. If the Ukrainians’ counteroffensive had not gone so well, the Russians would have had time to train the mobiks in the winter months and prepare them well for the front.”
If Putin annexes the occupied territories in Ukraine, the mobilized will have to defend the new border. “And it will be difficult for Ukrainian troops to further reduce the Russians if holes at the front are filled with thousands of mobiks over and over again.”
TheRussians, meanwhile, have come up with two new words for their mobilization: mogilization, referring to the Russian word for grave, and gibelization. Therein is the word for death. According to Naki, it says a lot about the fate that awaits many mobilized people: “Because the risk of death is many times greater than returning home alive”.