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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Deleted Russian Military Report Reveals Scale Of Future Mobilization

Moscow quickly deleted an article detailing the mobilization process and the formation of new units, which made clear that potential Russian conscripts have two choices: flee or fight.

Russian servicemen line up with assault rifles.

Servicemen from assault units of Russia's Central Military District receive awards, April 28, 2023.

Kyrylo Danylchenko

KYIV — An article signed by the head of the Mobilization Department of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Yevhen Burdinsky, was published in the most recent issue of the Russian Ministry of Defense magazine. The article delved into some of the details of the mobilization process to sign up new recruits, which is both vast and facing massive difficulties. Within hours, the article was deleted.

But Ukrainian news outlet Livy Bereg had time to download the report, and has published an analysis of the article by journalist and military expert Kyrylo Danylchenko:

At the beginning of the hostilities, the so-called people's militias of Donbas had 35,000 staff members, according to Ukrainian intelligence. As a result of the mobilization last fall, Russia recruited 80,000 more. According to the Eastern Human Rights Group, by mid-June 2022, about 140,000 people had been subjected to forced mobilization in Donbas.

Let's consider that the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk Peoples Republics (in occupied Ukraine) use different police units and paramilitary formations. For a population of 3.5 million, the number of conscripts is shocking — one third of non-disabled men are forcibly mobilized or involved in the security sector. Moscow, in other words, uses the inhabitants of the occupied territories as a kind of human battering ram.

Colossal figures

Now let's turn to the regular units of the Russian Federation, which consists of 280,000 ground troops, various voluntary and compulsory ship crews, and airfield security. Yevhen Burdynsky's department supplied another 300,000 citizens during mobilization.

The Russians formed 280 new units. Most are rear units, various hospitals, road units, commandant's offices, and missile and artillery bases, like during the war in Afghanistan. But 55,000 people were drafted to Afghanistan, not 300,000. That is, we need to multiply the Afghan realities of the 40th Army by the size of the Russian Army.

A million Russians have fled the country.

Without national volunteer battalions, the Wagner private military company (PMC) and prisoners from colonies, and without other PMCs, the figure is even more colossal — over 700,000 people.

Russian Territorial Defense Troops Training

Russian Territorial Defense Troops Training in Belgorod, Russia. June 5, 2023.

Russian Look / ZUMA

Online scapegoats

If Wagner PMC withdraws from Bakhmut for reorganization, numerous attacks on the ruins of cities on the contact line will continue in the suburbs of Donetsk. Even the Russian mobilization department reports that in 2023, security personnel will have to be involved in combat operations.

"The Russian military leadership has decided to reinforce the state border with university cadets. Thus, on May 31, under the pretext of training, about 200 third-year cadets equipped with small arms and grenade launchers were sent to the western border of the Russian Federation," reads a report by the General Staff of Ukraine.

The Russian Defense Ministry is planning an extensive conscription campaign for 2023 in cooperation with the Russian Interior Ministry. For this purpose, the Russian authorities are creating databases, a system of electronic summonses, and collecting data from several million current mobile phones.

Mobilization has not yet reached the level of World War II but it is close.

The Russian Army sees a significant problem with the unwillingness of a part of society to perform military duty. The culprits have already been named — "bloggers."

It turns out that the blogging community is to blame for the fact that a million Russians have fled the country, and hundreds of thousands more are hiding from military enlistment offices, being searched for by facial recognition systems, cameras, and police units.

Digital concentration camp

In the unrecognized "Donetsk People's Republic", the burden of mobilization has not yet reached the level of World War II, but it is close. The Kremlin is preparing to continue the war, but has problems drumming up support and finding the equipment supply.

This was the gist of the deleted article. Relatively simple information was immediately deleted so that Russians would not start asking questions. Where are the last half a million soldiers? Where are 200,000 collaborators and those forcibly mobilized? How many soldiers has Russia lost in this war?

For those who live in the Russian Federation and do not support the war, it will become harder to hide. The largest and bloodiest conflict in Europe since World War II continues, and any person in Russia can become its victim.

The clumsy state that you used to think was stupid will suddenly show its fangs and leave you to die in the forests, wearing an old helmet and carrying a 1960s first aid kit.

If you still have a shred of sanity, run away, because the future has already been planned for you — to fight like your grandfathers in a country surrounded by enemies, in a digital concentration camp that is looking for you with cameras and facial recognition systems.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Wagner Group 2.0: Why Russia's Mercenary System Is Here To Stay

Many had predicted that the death last month of Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin meant the demise of the mercenary outfit. Yet signs in recent days say the private military outfit is active again in Ukraine, a reminder of the Kremlin's interest in continuing a private fighting formula that has worked all around the world.

Photograph of a Wagner soldier in the city of Artyomovsk, holding a rifle.

Ukraine, Donetsk Region - March 24, 2023: A Wagner Group soldier guards an area in the city of Artyomovsk (Bakhmut).

Cameron Manley


“Let’s not forget that there is no Wagner Group anymore,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov had declared. “Such an organization, in our eyes, does not exist.”

The August 25 statement from came less than two days after the death of Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the infamous Russian mercenary outfit, as questions swirled about Wagner's fate after its crucial role in the war in Ukraine and other Russian military missions around the world.

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How could an independent military outfit survive after its charismatic founder's death? It seemed highly unlikely that President Vladimir Putin would allow the survival of a group after had launched a short-lived coup attempt in late June that most outside observers believe led to Prigozhin's private airplane being shot down by Russian forces on August 23.

"Wagner is over,” said the Kremlin critic and Russian political commentator Maksim Katz. “The group can’t keep going. There’s the possibility that they could continue in parts or with Defense Ministry contracts, but the group only worked with an unofficial agreement between Putin and Prigozhin.”

Yet barely a month later, and there are already multiple signs that the Wagner phoenix is rising from the ashes.

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