Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Novgorod Region Governor Andrei Nikitin during his visit to celebrate the 1160th anniversary of Russian statehood in Velky Novgorod, Russia, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022.Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo/Associated Press

  • Putin announced on Wednesday that he was calling in reserves, sparking protests across Russia.

  • Experts said that Putin wants to avoid this move but also wants to strengthen his army.

  • The move could undermine support for Putin’s government as Russians face the reality of war.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement of a partial military mobilization was dismissed by some as too little too late, but that may be because he desperately tried to avoid that outcome, experts say. They thought they could succeed in Ukraine without it.

Putin said on Wednesday that he Calling up 300,000 reservists. And the Ukrainian military threatened nuclear options. Big gains in recent weeks. The Russian president has found his forces short of manpower, while Ukraine, on the other hand, has issued an order. Full military mobilization Within days of the att*ck in February.

“He’s an expert procrastinator,” said Michael Kofman, a Russia military analyst at the Center for Naval Analyses. Puck’s Julie Ioffi this week. “He delays and delays until the options go from bad to worse.”

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That could take weeks or months, experts told Insider. For Russia to be partially mobilized, as reservists need to be trained, equipped and deployed. He also said that taking such action at this stage of the war showed that things were getting so bad for Russia that Putin was desperate for something that could turn the tide.

Robert English, a professor at the University of Southern California who studies Russia, the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, told Insider, “I think he should have done it sooner. Absolutely,” adding that the troops already Will not relocate. Look very disappointed

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But, he said, Putin thought he could succeed in Ukraine without taking that step, risking a backlash among the Russian public.

“It’s something he wanted to avoid at almost any cost. Because up until now, the war has been like a televised war for the Russians,” English said, adding that Moscow and St. Petersburg, like Most prosperous people in the cities were largely able to end the war and lead normal lives.

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“But when you mobilize reservists—even if you target the poor, the rural, the provincial, the minorities, and still avoid the upper middle class in the big cities—it still directly affects them. will touch,” he continued. “The fact that he has resorted to it shows a certain desperation, that he is afraid of another major Ukrainian development that could come in a week or two.”

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If Putin feared the consequences of calling up the reservists, it appears to have been warranted. Since the announcement, The Russians flooded the streets in protest. An unusual scene in the country with slogans of “No War”. By Wednesday evening, around 500 people had been arrested. OVD-Infoan independent monitoring group.

Mobilizing troops could threaten support for Putin’s government.

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 outcry could ultimately threaten Putin’s place as Russia’s longtime leader.

“One of the things that he had going for him, so to speak, was that the war wasn’t really going to most Russians,” Miles told Insider, adding that Putin and his of “the massive state media apparatus was able to present a highly competent. sterile, variant version of war.

For one, Putin and the Russian media avoided calling it a war, instead using the president’s explanation as a “special military operation.”

But even before the mobilization — and after the successful Ukraine advance — Russian media recently began to shift away from consistently positive coverage of the war, publishing criticisms of military failures and leadership failures, Miles said.

Now, people who don’t want to risk further eroding support for Putin’s regime are being called to fight.

Daniel Treisman, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles whose work focuses on Russian politics and economics, agrees that Putin has avoided mobilizing troops because of how unpopular it would be, noting the protests. It is clear that the Russians hate this development. .

“That Putin would do this shows how badly he feels the need right now to change the momentum, which has been all in Ukraine’s favor,” Treisman told Insider in an email. Treisman told Insider in an email, noting that the new units will take weeks to deploy.

Treisman also noted that in addition to announcing the draft, Putin has introduced tougher penalties for draft dodgers, suggesting that he is willing to resist the people.

“There is a risk that the draft will appear to fail and further undermine the sense that Putin is in control at home,” he said.

But read the original article Business Insider

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