It’s been quite a heady 24 hours for Ukraine, and a sudden nightmare for Russians. Volodymyr Zelensky got to blast Vladimir Putin at the UN General Assembly meeting, but Putin himself may have done far more political damage to himself yesterday. Duane Patterson and I discussed Putin’s partial mobilization this morning on The Ed Morrissey Show podcast and its ramifications — including the clear admission that Putin and the regime have been lying about the war in Ukraine all along.
That revelation has had immediate consequences. Russian men have fled the country to escape a draft, while other Russians have hit the streets to protest the war. Putin has ordered his security forces to serve draft papers on anti-war protesters today:
Russians who have been arrested for protesting their country’s invasion of Ukraine as Putin mobilizes additional forces are being forced to report to military enlistment offices, a monitoring group said Thursday.
At least 1,328 people, including more than 530 in Moscow alone, were detained Wednesday in mass protests across Russia, the Russian independent human rights project OVD-Info reported.
At 15 police departments across the capital, protesters were handed summons demanding they report for military duty, the group said. At least 17 anti-war protesters in Voronezh, a city in southwest Russia, were also ordered to report to an enlistment office.
At least one detainee was threatened with a 10-year prison term for refusing to accept the summons, the group said.
The Sun reported today that Putin’s impressment goes well beyond street protesters. Police are banging on doors to serve draft notices and given only hours to comply:
As the fear of conscription ripples through Russia, some men have been hauled out of bed in the middle of the night and told they had four hours to pack their belongings and obey the mobilisation order.
There were reports of people cowering behind doors and refusing to accept the military summonses.
In Luchegorsk, men who refused to open doors at night were handed the summonses when they arrived at work this morning.
Some 60 men were taken to Bikin, in Khabarovsk region, and sent into the hands of the Russian military machine.
What does that tell us? To put it in the best possible light, it tells us that Putin remains convinced of the old adage that quantity is a quality all its own. Realistically, however, this will almost certainly produce the worst outcomes of conscription armies. Forcing malcontents and dissidents into uniforms does not make them effective combat troops. What it does do is create discipline and morale issues on an industrial level, in a military where even the best-trained troops are suffering from both problems. This gets into commander-fragging-and-surrendering levels of problems.
And this doesn’t even take into account the lack of materiel and experienced personnel for training, which Duane and I discuss a bit in the podcast. These conscripts will be nothing but cannon fodder. And their families know it now too, which will create a massive political problem for Putin and his oligarch cronies.
Duane and I discuss more, too:
- Will Duane Patterson achieve the vaunted — and mythical — status of “senior VIP columnist”? We debate that, but there’s no debating the usefulness of the 2024 primary program he’s building for VIP members.
- The latest from Axios on Google data shows waning interest in abortion but an explosive increase in searches on the border crisis. What could possibly have caused that?
- More on the Russian mobilization and end games for Putin as well