Complaints about Russia’s chaotic mobilization are growing

LONDON, Sept 24 (Reuters) – A staunchly pro-Kremlin editor of Russia’s state-run RT news channel expressed anger on Saturday that officials registering the desperation for a military mobilization were sending out call-up papers to the wrong people, amid growing frustration across Russia.

Russia’s announcement on Wednesday of its first general mobilization since World War II to scale back its faltering invasion of Ukraine has sparked a rush to the border, arrests of more than 1,000 protesters and widespread public unrest.

Now, it is also drawing criticism of officials from among the Kremlin’s own official supporters, something unheard of in Russia since the invasion began seven months ago.

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“It has been announced that privates can be recruited up to the age of 35. Summons are sent to those under 40,” RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan alleged on her Telegram channel.

“They deliberately, out of hatred, anger people, like those sent by Kiev.”

In another rare public sign of turmoil, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday that the deputy minister in charge of logistics, four-star general Dmitry Bulgakov, had been transferred “to be transferred to another role”. It did not provide further details.

Russia officially counts millions of ex-servicemen as reservists — almost the entire male population is of fighting age — and Wednesday’s order declaring “partial demobilization” gave no criteria for who would be called up.

Officials have said 300,000 troops are needed, with priority given to those with recent military experience and key skills. Two Russian news agencies abroad – Novaya Gazeta Europe and Meduza – have denied the Kremlin said the real target was more than 1 million.

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Reports have emerged across Russia of men with no military experience or draft age suddenly receiving call-up papers.

On Saturday, the head of the Kremlin’s Human Rights Council, Valery Fadeyev, publicly announced that he had written to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu with a request to “urgently resolve” the mobilization issues.

His 400-word Telegram post criticized the way the exemptions were used and listed several cases of improper enlistment, including of nurses and midwives without military experience.

“Some (recruiters) hand out call sheets at 2 a.m. They think we’re all draft cheats,” he said.

‘cannon fodder’

On Friday, two days after the delisting, the Defense Ministry listed some sectors in which employers can nominate employees for exemptions.

There is a particular outcry among ethnic minorities in remote, economically disadvantaged regions of Siberia, where Russia’s professional armed forces have long recruited disproportionately.

Since Wednesday, people have been preparing to queue for hours to get into Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Finland or Georgia, fearing Russia could close its borders, and the Kremlin has said reports of exodus are exaggerated.

The governor of Russia’s Buryatia region, which borders Mongolia and is home to an ethnic Mongolian minority, acknowledged on Friday that some had received documents in error and said those who had not served in the military or had medical exemptions would not be included. was invited.

On Saturday, Tsakhia Elbegdorj, Mongolia’s leader until 2017 and now head of the World Mongolian Federation, promised a warm welcome to those fleeing the draft and called on Putin bluntly to end the war.

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“Buryat Mongols, Tuva Mongols and Kalmyk Mongols … are used as cannon fodder,” he said in a video message, wearing a Ukrainian yellow and blue ribbon, referring to the three Mongolian ethnic groups. In Russia.

“Today you are fleeing brutality, brutality and possible death. Tomorrow you will begin to free your country from tyranny.”

The so-called emergency system of mobilization and referendums on joining Russia in the occupied Ukrainian territories this weekend came hard on the heels of a lightning Ukrainian offensive on the Kharkiv region – a sharp reversal of Moscow’s seven-month war.

The Vesna anti-war group took to social media to call for new demonstrations across Russia on Saturday evening after more than 1,300 protesters were arrested in 38 cities on Wednesday, according to independent watchdog OVD-Info.

The Interior Ministry of the Russian region of North Ossetia advised people not to try to leave the country for Georgia at the Verkni Lars border, where 2,300 cars were waiting to cross.

(This story corrects the name of the news publication in paragraph 8 to ‘Novaya Gazeta’, not ‘Nesavisimaya Gazeta’)

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Reporting by Reuters Editing by Peter Graf

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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