November 28, 2022

  • And Putin announced, on Wednesday, that he had called up the reserve forces, which sparked protests in Russia.
  • Experts said that Putin wanted to avoid this move, but also wanted to strengthen his army.
  • This move could weaken support for the Putin regime as Russians are exposed to the realities of war.

Experts said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement of partial military mobilization was criticized by some for coming too late, but perhaps because he desperately tried to avoid that outcome and thought he could succeed in Ukraine without it.

Putin said on Wednesday he had called up 300,000 reservists and threatened nuclear options after Ukraine’s military made major gains in recent weeks. The Russian president found his forces short on manpower while Ukraine, on the other hand, ordered a full military mobilization within days of the invasion in February.

“It’s a major stall,” said Michael Kaufman, a military analyst for Russia studies at the Center for Naval Analytics. Julie Evie from Book this week. “He procrastinates and procrastinates until the options go from bad to worse.”

Experts told Insider that it could take weeks or months for Russia’s partial mobilization to bear fruit, as reservists need to be trained, equipped and deployed. They also said that taking such action at this point in the war shows that things are going so well for Russia that Putin is eager for something that could turn the tide.

“In hindsight, he should have done it sooner. Sure,” Robert English, a professor at the University of Southern California who studies Russia, the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, told Insider, adding that an early mobilization of troops wouldn’t have looked so desperate.

But he said Putin believed he could succeed in Ukraine without taking this step, which comes with the risk of provoking a backlash among the Russian people.

“This is something he wanted to avoid at almost all costs. Because up until now, the war was a kind of TV war for the Russians,” said English, adding that most well-off people in cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg have pretty much the ability to tune in to the war and begin a normal life.

“But when you mobilize reservists – even if you target the poor, the countryside, the provinces, the minorities, and still avoid the upper middle classes in the big cities – it will still affect them more directly,” he continued. “The fact that he resorted to it shows a certain desperation, that they are afraid of another major Ukrainian hack that could come in a week or two.”

If Putin was afraid of the repercussions of calling up reservists, it seems that it was justified. Since the announcement, Russians have poured into the streets to protest chants of “No to war,” an unusual sight in the country. He reported that about 500 people had been arrested as of Wednesday evening OVD informationindependent control group.

Troop buildup could threaten support for Putin’s regime

Anger could threaten Putin’s long standing place as Russia’s leader, according to Simon Miles, an assistant professor at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy and a historian of the Soviet Union and US-Soviet relations.

“The only thing he was going for, so to speak, was that the war wasn’t actually being visited by most Russians,” Miles told Insider, adding that Putin and his “huge media apparatus were able to present a different, sanitized version.” for war.

For one thing, Putin and the Russian media have avoided even calling it a war, instead using the description of the president as a “special military operation.”

Miles said that even before the mobilization – and after Ukraine’s successful advance – the Russian media had recently begun to move away from continued positive coverage of the war, publishing criticism of the army’s and leadership’s failures.

Now, invite people to the fight who may not want to risk weakening support for the Putin regime.

Daniel Triesman, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, whose work focuses on Russian politics and economics, agreed that Putin has sought to avoid mobilizing forces due to their unpopularity, noting that the protests show that Russians clearly dislike the development. .

“Putin doing this shows how badly he feels the need now to change the momentum, which has been all in Ukraine’s favor,” Triesman told Insider in an email, noting that the deployment of the new units would take weeks.

Triesman also noted that in addition to announcing that Putin has imposed tougher penalties for draft evasion, which indicates that he is ready to resist the people.

“There is a danger that the draft will fail and undermine the feeling that Putin is in control at home,” he said.

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