First published on Posle on September 22.
On September 21, Vladimir Putin announced the start of mobilization. This step was a direct consequence of the complete failure of Putin's "special operation": the army in its current state is unable to hold the occupied Ukrainian territories, and there can be no talk of a further offensive. Only nuclear blackmail and an attempt to reverse the situation on the fronts through numerical superiority can save Putin's clique from a shameful defeat in the predatory imperialist war.
Even after half a year of a full-scale war with huge casualties, the Russian authorities are trying to convince the public that everything is going according to plan, and that mobilization will affect only a small part of the population. Continuing the strategy developed during the pandemic, the Putin regime does not call a spade a spade and invents formulations that are not provided for by any laws. Just like two years ago, when instead of a referendum on amendments to the Constitution, we received a “nationwide vote”, and instead of a state of emergency during a pandemic, we got a “non-working day regime”, now we have a “special operation” instead of a war, and instead of mobilization, “partial mobilization for a special military operation.” Every word here is a lie.
In fact, we already see that the mobilization will not be partial and can affect everyone. The decree "On the announcement of partial mobilization" does not define the categories of citizens who fall under the draft, and provides for a delay only for workers in the military-industrial complex. Perhaps only members of the Federation Council and deputies of the State Duma can feel safe - for them, in the law "On mobilization preparation and mobilization" Postponement provided. Thus, despite the statements of Putin and Shoigu, any man from 18 to 60 years old and any woman liable for military service (including, for example, doctors) can be mobilized. The lack of a patriotic upsurge and the growing panic mean that in order to fulfill the mobilization targets, the authorities will be forced to take to the front everyone who comes to hand.
The announcement of mobilization looks like a desperate step and a challenge for a regime whose main foundation was massive depoliticization. There was an informal agreement between citizens and the authorities: you don't interfere in the affairs of the state, and the state doesn't interfere in yours. Now the war comes to every family, it is no longer possible to watch it on TV indifferently - you will have to die on it.
It is already clear that mobilization leads to growing chaos and does not enjoy support, as clearly evidenced by the start of the flight from the country. Yesterday there were protests in many Russian cities. Yes, they were few and hard suppressed. And yet, such a belated and cynical decision to mobilize indicates that the Putin regime has an inner fear of spontaneous uprisings and popular revolt. Already in March, it seemed that the decision to invade would be fatal for the regime, but now such a forecast has even more grounds. The Putin system, at the cost of a huge number of lives, will try to delay its collapse.
The only way to bring the end of the war closer is through the defeat of Putin. Such a defeat must be inflicted both from the outside, with the victory of Ukraine, and from the inside, by protesting against Putin’s dictatorship and disobeying his orders. Forced participation in the hostilities that Russia is waging on the territory of another country is not a manifestation of courage or patriotism. Any form of resistance to mobilization today would be a truly bold and courageous step - from draft evasion and arson of military registration and enlistment offices to acts of mass disobedience and sabotage. No call! Not a single soldier for the criminal war!