Russian citizens are fleeing the country in fear of being conscribed into the illegal war in Ukraine
Conscription is a measure that has repeatedly been used to fight wars in Soviet and post-Soviet Russia. Many Russians view this as inhumane because it requires citizens to fight in another country’s conflict without their consent. Unfortunately, this practice has forced many citizens to avoid joining the military whenever a war occurs.
Wednesday’s announcement by Putin to be conscribed 300,000 troops to fight a war that is not war has many Russian men purchasing one-way tickets out of the country. According to sources close to Russia, the 300,000 civilian call-up is inaccurate; the actual number is reported to be 1 million Russians to be conscribed into the army.
Russians feel that the current conflict in Ukraine is a domestic political issue, not a war between two countries. This is because most of the fighting occurs in eastern Ukraine’s Russian-sponsored territory. Most Russian citizens do not feel a patriotic duty to the country they are fighting in, so they do not want to fight in Ukraine. The fact that many of the soldiers fighting for either side are from Russia or former Soviet republics makes it easier for citizens to avoid military service.
However, not all Russians wanted to avoid military service when the war started. This is because many young people view military service as an opportunity to gain employment in prestigious government jobs after they finish their term. This attitude is understandable, given that many Russians feel obligated to apply for government jobs after being out of work. However, some young people have no interest in serving when a war starts.
The reinstatement of conscription has also resulted in many Russians expressing an interest in joining the forces of pro-Russian separatists. These fighters have been quite successful against Ukrainian government troops and armour over the last few years. Other potential soldiers join pro-Russian separatists because they believe it is the right thing to do.
Putin is facing tremendous pressure from the Russian citizens and prominent business owners to end the war, and they have publically aired their dismay. One that will have them serving a lengthy prison sentence or worse.
The call for conscribing citizens to a war no one wanted signifies that the Russian military is not as strong as it has always portrayed to the world. It is still unclear how this war will end and if it is what leads to the demise of Putin.