PRESIDENT PUTIN HAS ANNOUNCED PARTIAL MOBILIZATION, 300,000 SOLDIERS ARE TO BE DRAFTED AND REFERENDUMS ARE BEING HELD IN THE RUSSIAN-CONTROLLED AREAS. WHAT ARE THE REASONS AND WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES?
September 21, 2022
RUSSIAN PRESIDENT PUTIN ANNOUNCED PARTIAL MOBILIZATION ON SEPTEMBER 21 AND RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER SHOIGU SAID THAT 300,000 SOLDIERS WOULD BE CALLED UP IN THE NEAR FUTURE, AND THEY WOULD BE SPECIALISTS FOR SPECIFIC TASKS. IT WAS NOT SAID WHAT THEY ARE.
Why the partial mobilization?
Western media are happy about the partial mobilization because they see it as a sign of Russia's weakness, as you can read in their headlines. In fact, this is partly true, because the last few weeks have shown that the forces allocated by Russia to the military operation are not sufficient to make further advances against Ukraine, which has been provided with virtually the entire NATO arsenal .
However, the figures show that the Russian army is still much more efficient than the Ukrainian army, because Ukraine has deployed between 700,000 and one million soldiers with its general mobilization and, despite all the support from the West, has only gained a very small amount of territory near Kharkov. With this statement, I don't want to downplay Ukraine's success at Kharkov, which certainly came as a surprise to the Russians and was painful. However, the Russians quickly withdrew and largely avoided casualties. Ukraine took the territory almost without a fight.
THIS SUCCESS NEAR KHARKOV AND UKRAINE'S INCREASED SHELLING OF CIVILIAN TARGETS IN THE DONBASS AND NOW ALSO ON CIVILIAN TARGETS IN THE RUSSIAN HEARTLAND MAY HAVE BEEN THE REASON WHY MOSCOW CHANGED ITS STRATEGY AND DECIDED ON PARTIAL MOBILIZATION.
At war with the West
In the United States it is openly said that the Pentagon is actively involved in planning operations of the Ukrainian army, that it is supplying Ukraine with tailor-made weapons necessary for operations, and that it is supplying Ukraine with operational information of military reconnaissance, to the extent that that concrete Russian targets are named and indicated to Ukraine.
The point of view of international law on Russian television on Sunday openly said
ON SEPTEMBER 21 INTERVIEW SHOIGU OPENLY SAID THAT THE LAST GROUP OF WESTERN INSTRUCTORS WHO CAME TO UKRAINE CONSISTS OF 150 PEOPLE, WHO HE SAYS ARE MADE UP OF FORMER AND ACTIVE SOLDIERS FROM NATO COUNTRIES. WESTERN OFFICERS SIT ON THE GENERAL STAFF IN KYIV, WHO ARE INVOLVED IN THE PLANNING OF UKRAINIAN OPERATIONS, OR EVEN DIRECT THEM.
Shoigu's statements coincide with what is reported in the U.S.A. when the Pentagon boasts of having helped Ukraine plan the current offensives. So Shoigu's statements can hardly be described as Russian propaganda. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that people in Russia are now openly saying that they are in fact at war with the West.
ON SEPTEMBER 19, THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLICS OF DONETSK AND LUGANSK SURPRISINGLY ANNOUNCED THAT THEY WOULD HOLD REFERENDUMS AT SHORT NOTICE TO LET THEIR CITIZENS DECIDE WHETHER THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLICS WANTED TO UNITE WITH RUSSIA. IN MY ARTICLE ABOUT THIS, I ALREADY SUGGESTED THAT THIS IS AN ACTION COORDINATED WITH MOSCOW AND A REACTION TO THE UKRAINIAN SUCCESSES AT KHARKOV AND THE INCREASED SHELLING OF CIVILIAN TARGETS NOT ONLY IN THE DONBASS, BUT NOW ALSO IN THE RUSSIAN HEARTLAND.
I ALSO WROTE THAT IF THE AREAS JOINED RUSSIA, RUSSIA WOULD THEN SEE ITSELF AT WAR WITH UKRAINE, BECAUSE THE UKRAINIAN TROOPS WOULD THEN - ACCORDING TO THE RUSSIAN INTERPRETATION - BE ON RUSSIAN TERRITORY. AS A RESULT, RUSSIA COULD THROW OFF ITS PREVIOUS RETICENCE AND FIGHT WITH MORE FORCES AND DIFFERENT WEAPONS.
This is exactly what is now being confirmed, because the referendums in the People's Republics have already been announced for September 23-27, and the parts of the Zaprozhje and Kherson regions controlled by Russia will also hold referenda on these days. IT CAN BE ASSUMED THAT RUSSIA WILL RECOGNIZE THE RESULT OF THE REFERENDUMS AND WILL IMMEDIATELY GRANT THE REGIONS' APPLICATIONS FOR UNION WITH RUSSIA.
THE REFERENDUMS CAN OF COURSE BE CRITICIZED FOR THEIR SHORT-TERM NATURE, BUT THAT WILL NOT CHANGE THE RESULTS. ALL PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN OR HAVE FLED FROM THE MENTIONED AREAS ARE ENTITLED TO VOTE, WHICH MEANS THAT REFUGEES WHO FLED TO RUSSIA ARE ALSO ALLOWED TO PARTICIPATE. A VERY CLEAR RESULT CAN THEREFORE BE EXPECTED FROM THE REFERENDUMS. OF COURSE, THE WEST WILL ACCUSE RUSSIA OF ELECTORAL FRAUD, BUT RUSSIA WOULD HAVE NO REASON TO DO SO.
Will the military operation turn into a war?
Russia speaks of a military operation against the Ukrainian Nazi government and not of a war against Ukraine. The reason is that Russia is not attacking civilian infrastructure in Ukraine's hinterland. Merely to hamper Ukraine's current offensives, Russia recently attacked a few power plants in the east of the country, but this was the first time since the operation began.
THIS IS WHY THE CIVILIAN INFRASTRUCTURE IN UKRAINE IS ALSO STILL FUNCTIONING, BECAUSE AT LEAST THE POWER SUPPLY, WHICH HELPS THE OPPOSING ARMY, WOULD BE A LEGITIMATE MILITARY TARGET FOR THE RUSSIAN ARMY IN MANY PARTS OF UKRAINE, BUT THE RUSSIAN ARMY DOES NOT ATTACK THEM. THIS ALSO APPLIES TO MANY OTHER THINGS, FOR EXAMPLE BRIDGES IN WESTERN UKRAINE OR RAILWAY JUNCTIONS TO IMPEDE WESTERN SUPPLIES. IN UKRAINE, HOWEVER, LIFE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FRONT IS LARGELY NORMAL, WITH WATER, ELECTRICITY, HEATING AND SO ON. IF RUSSIA SAW ITSELF AT WAR WITH UKRAINE, NONE OF THIS WOULD EXIST AND THE RUSSIAN ARMY WOULD HAVE ADVANCED MUCH FURTHER BECAUSE IT WOULD HAVE BEEN LESS CONSIDERATE AND THEREFORE THERE COULD HAVE BEEN LESS MILITARY RESISTANCE.
HOWEVER, IF RUSSIA CONSIDERS THE CONTESTED AREAS AS RUSSIAN TERRITORY AFTER THE REFERENDUMS, THEN RUSSIA COULD OFFICIALLY SPEAK OF A WAR AND TAKE CORRESPONDINGLY TOUGHER ACTION.
It is by no means the case that this comes as a surprise. As early as July 21, I suspected in an article that this would happen and that Russia would step up its pace. In the article I have shown many quotes from Russian politicians up to Putin, which showed that such an approach - including the unification with the hitherto southern Ukrainian areas - was to be expected. My guess was that this would happen as early as August, so I was wrong on the timing, but now, at the end of September, it seems to be happening exactly as I thought it would at the time.
THE FACT THAT REFERENDUMS HAVE NOW BEEN ANNOUNCED AND THAT RUSSIA HAS SIMULTANEOUSLY CALLED FOR PARTIAL MOBILIZATION INDICATES THAT THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT IS HAPPENING NOW. IT CAN BE ASSUMED THAT RUSSIA WILL ACCEPT THE AREAS AS NEW RUSSIAN OBLASTS AS EARLY AS NEXT WEEK, PERHAPS AS EARLY AS SEPTEMBER 28, ONE DAY AFTER THE REFERENDA. IMMEDIATELY THEREAFTER, RUSSIA COULD STEP UP ITS PACE, AT LEAST BY MAKING MORE INTENSIVE USE OF ITS AIR FORCE AND MISSILES. IT IS DIFFICULT TO SAY HOW QUICKLY THE CONSCRIPTED RESERVISTS CAN BE DEPLOYED AND WHEN THEIR USE WILL BE REFLECTED IN RESULTS ON THE BATTLEFIELD.
The mood in Russia
It is too early to tell how partial mobilization will affect sentiment in Russia. Both sides are represented online. Some say it was an overdue step that should have been taken months ago, before Western weapons could have had such an impact. The others, mostly those affected who are afraid that they will be confiscated, are unsettled. The reports that Russians are now en masse trying to flee the country in a hurry may be exaggerated, but they certainly have a kernel of truth.
We also saw this in Ukraine, where tens of thousands of men tried to leave the country after the general mobilization was announced. Few people enjoy going to war, and those who go willingly are already on the front lines. That goes for both sides, of course.
In the conversations I had with friends today, which of course is not a representative mood, I experienced above all insecurity, which, however, is more felt by wives and mothers, while most men say that they are ready to heed the call , in case they get a call-up order.
WHETHER THE MOBILIZATION WILL HAVE A NEGATIVE IMPACT ON SENTIMENT IN RUSSIA REMAINS TO BE SEEN. YOU WILL BE ABLE TO TELL IF APPROVAL OF PUTIN AND HIS POLICIES, WHICH IS CURRENTLY OVER 80%, WILL DECREASE.
The events of the next few weeks should therefore be important, because if life in Russia continues as normal and the measure brings military success, the uncertainty will quickly disappear. It was the same at the beginning of the Russian intervention.