Russian defence minister inspects mobilised troops

Accompanied by high-ranking military officers, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu walked through a shooting range in the country’s Western military district on Tuesday to inspect the field training of recently mobilised reservists.

The Russian minister inspected the tactical and fire training of reservists who are set to fight in Ukraine and listened to reports from deputy defence minister General Yunus-Bek Yevkurov and other military commanders.

At the behest of Shoigu, seasoned officers are engaged in the training process.

The mobilisation, if one is to believe the Russian defence minister, was advancing fast as over 200,000 people have already been drafted into Russian forces by October 4 since Russian dictator Vladimir Putin ordered a practical mobilisation on September 21.

According to Shoigu’s plan, 300,000 men with previous military experience were to be enlisted to bolster Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, where it has suffered a series of debacles in recent weeks.

No upper mobilisation limit was given in the decree signed by Putin. Officials hasten to alleviate public concerns that the actual number could be higher. According to Reuters, even pro-Kremlin figures voice concern that people are being recruited indiscriminately.

The announcement of mobilisation prompted tens of thousands of men to flee abroad with the “how to leave Russia?” phrase topping browser search rankings.

The public remains concerned that the mobilisation could be expanded.

Russia’s mobilisation demonstrates characteristics of genocide

As reported by Financial Times, the mobilisation so far has largely targeted ethnic minorities like the Buryats living in the east of the country or Dagestan in the Caucasus and Yakutia in northeastern Siberia.

Russia is conducting “basically a genocide of Buryats, Ukrainians and other peoples”, Alexandra Garmazhapova, head of the Free Buryatia Foundation, an antiwar advocacy group, was quoted as saying by FT.

“To conquer another territory and make it part of the empire, you use national minorities . . . because they are expendable,” she said. “So what if 200 Buryats die?”

Indeed, figures provided by independent news site Mediazona and quoted by FT suggest that “of the 6,756 Russian troops officially reported killed in Ukraine as of September 23, Dagestan accounted for 306 and Buryatia 276, as opposed to just 24 for Moscow.” The US and Ukraine have said the true casualty figure is likely to be several times higher.

A full call-up, according to the Russian defence ministry, could generate as many as 25 million people, which is the total number of Russia’s reservists.