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Draft Dodging And Cannon Fodder: How Mobilization Has Exposed Putin's Big Lie

As much as he tried to, Vladimir Putin could no longer avoid the nationwide mobilization of new recruits. But now he can no longer hide from a war he chose for his nation — and more than ever, his own destiny is riding on the result.

Who's ready for the front line?

Ivan Vysochinsky/ZUMA
Anna Akage

-Analysis-

Besides all the chest-thumping, Vladimir Putin has been busy this week moving around his administrative chess pieces.

Wednesday’s announcement of the “partial” mobilization of military recruits was preceded by a flurry of legislative activity in the Kremlin: first, coordinating with the pro-Russian authorities in several of the occupied territories of Ukraine, binding referendums were pushed through to officially make conquered land part of Russia. The next day, amendments to the Criminal Code on mobilization and martial law were unanimously adopted in two readings. And immediately after Putin's speech, penalties were increased for acts of desertion and refusal to serve in the military.

Checkmate.

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The pieces are in place to escalate the war dramatically, allowing Moscow the pretext that Ukraine’s efforts to take back its land is now an attack on Russian territory.


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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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