Convicts were promised freedom and good salaries to fight for Vladimir Putin in Ukraine. “They will be cannon fodder,” explains the defense expert.
“I think we should see this action as a desperate attempt to recruit for war,” Major Lennart Shaw Jepsen at the Danish Defense Academy tells VG.
In the so-called “people’s republics” of the Donbass, there were reports of miners who had to mobilize – to fight on the Russian side.
The Russian military appears to be facing increasing problems in replacing its soldiers. The Americans claim that about 75,000 Russian soldiers were killed or wounded in Ukraine.
So new methods are constantly being used to entice Russians to sign up for the service.
One of them promises freedom and wealth to convicts held in prisons and penal camps across the vast country.
– they accept killers, but not rapists, pedophiles, extremists or terrorists, An anonymous insider tells CNN.
Pardon now or pardon after six months.
The prisoner also talks about 16,000 NOK and above in the monthly salary. The average Russian earns just under 10,000 NOK a month.
2 weeks of training
The man CNN spoke to on a cell phone assumed that the people who were in prison for recruiting soldiers belonged to a private military company. The prisoners who accepted the offer were to undergo two weeks of training in the Rostov region – not far from Ukraine – and there was no absolute requirement for military experience.
I can stay for about ten years, or get out in six months if I’m lucky. If this is possible, why not? asks the drug addicted man.
CNN reported that several prisoners from Criminal Camp No. 17 in the Republic of Mordovia have accepted the offer. Several Norwegians accused of drugs have been held there in the past, and among the now imprisoned are prominent American Paul Whelan, accused of espionage.
The head of an organization that defends the rights of prisoners, Vladimir Usichkin, told CNN there are examples of relatives promising to pay around NOK 800,000 if the soldier gets into a conflict. But at the same time he asserts that no guarantees have been given.
The BBC also wrote a case about Putin’s regime Desperate search for new recruits.
Afraid of turmoil
When Russia recruits convicts, it’s a clear indication that they have employment problems, says Jacob Carsbo, a senior analyst at the Copenhagen-based think tank Europa to VG.
– This is because Putin does not dare to initiate a large-scale mobilization. This requires a declaration of war, and thus recognition that the “special military operation” was a failure, Carspo continues.
It is believed that Putin fears unrest if they start mobilizing in big cities like Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Many Russian soldiers in Ukraine come from the suburbs.
Convicts may not make good soldiers. It may be nice that they can operate weapons and are dangerous, but a lot of good soldiers don’t get out of it. It would be great food, says Jacob Carspo.
Supported by Mitt Skak, Lecturer at Aarhus University:
– There will be a cost to use the criminals. Their mentality can only make war more brutal. It is questionable whether this is what Russia needs to deal with Ukraine. It can be self-destructive and promote cynicism and brutality. They are also a danger to themselves, Mette Skak tells VG.
Major Lennart Shaw Jepsen assessed the situation as follows:
– There are different numbers on how many Russian soldiers were killed – but they range from 10,000 to 45,000. Usually, you see four or five times as many wounded. Moreover, the Russian forces have now been fighting hard for half a year. Soldiers need rest and recuperation.
– It is widely known in Russia that the fighting in Ukraine is a life-threatening battle, and it is difficult to recruit new soldiers for the war.
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There were reports in early August that Russia was forcibly recruiting civilians in Luhansk, one of the two provinces that make up Donbass.
And the Ukrainian governor Serhiy Hayday wrote in the Telegram that the Russians do not count the dead, because it is men from the occupied territories who die in particular. He also wrote that hundreds of irreplaceable miners had been forced to mobilize.
Soldiers in the separatist regions were used in a very aggressive role in the war. There are many episodes where they have publicly stated that they will not fight in areas other than their own, says Lennart Shaw Jepsen.
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It should also be seen as a sign of poor morale. They believe and say that they fought their battles and will no longer fight for Russia.
Mitt Skak at Aarhus University agrees:
– One feels that the Kremlin is not confident of their professionalism. We found out when they accidentally shot down a Malaysian airliner. They are not very militarily skilled, and what motivates them most is what motivates the gangsters – looting, rape and the feeling of roaming with automatic rifles.
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