Growing complaints about Russia’s chaotic mobilization

LONDON, Sept 24 (Reuters) – The strongly pro-Kremlin editor of Russia’s state-run RT news channel expressed anger on Saturday over enlistment officials sending call-up documents to the wrong people amid frustration with military mobilization across Russia.

Russia on Wednesday announced its first public mobilization since World War II in support of its faltering invasion of Ukraine, sparking a flood of eligible people across the border, arresting more than 1,000 protesters and raising awareness among wider crowds. feel uneasy.

Now it has also drawn criticism from official Kremlin supporters against the authorities, almost unheard of in Russia since the invasion began seven months ago.

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“It has been announced that soldiers under the age of 35 can be recruited. Summons will be issued to those who are 40,” RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan complained on her Telegram channel.

“They’re pissing people off, like it’s intentional, like it’s malicious. It’s like they were sent from Kyiv.”

Russia’s defense ministry said Saturday that four-star general Dmitry Bulgakov, the deputy minister in charge of logistics, had been replaced, in another rare sign of unrest at the top. It didn’t provide more details.

Russian officials treat millions of former conscripts as reservists — probably almost all of the male population of combat age — and the decree announcing the “partial mobilization” on Wednesday did not specify who would be drafted into the army.

Officials said 300,000 soldiers were needed, with priority given to those with recent military experience and vital skills. The Kremlin has denied reports by two foreign-based Russian news outlets — Novaya Gazeta Europe and Meduza — that the actual target exceeded 1 million.

There have been reports across Russia of men with no military experience or past draft age suddenly receiving draft papers.

On Saturday, the head of the Kremlin’s human rights committee, Valery Fadeyev, publicly announced that he had written to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu asking for an “urgent solution” to the mobilization issue.

His 400-word Telegram post criticized how exemptions were applied and listed several cases of improper enlistment, including nurses and midwives with no military experience.

“Some (recruiters) turned in call-up papers at 2 a.m. as if they thought we were all draft dodgers,” he said.

‘cannon fodder’

On Friday, two days after enlistment began, the Defense Department listed some departments where employers can nominate employees for exemptions.

Ethnic minorities in remote, economically impoverished areas of Siberia, where the Russian professional armed forces have long been heavily recruited, have protested particularly strongly.

Since Wednesday, people have been lining up for hours to enter Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Finland or Georgia, fearing Russia could close its borders, even though the Kremlin says reports of exodus have been exaggerated.

The governor of Russia’s Buryat region on the Mongolian border, home to Mongolia’s ethnic minority, acknowledged on Friday that some had received the wrong documents and said those who did not serve in the military or had medical exemptions would not be called stand up.

On Saturday, Elbegdorj, the former Mongolian president in 2017 and current president of the World Mongolian Federation, promised a warm welcome to those fleeing the draft and made a blunt appeal to Putin to end the war.

“The Buryat Mongols, the Tuvan Mongols and the Kalmyk Mongols… are just being used as cannon fodder,” he said in a video message, wearing a Ukrainian yellow and blue ribbon , referring to the three Mongolian ethnic groups. in Russia.

“Today you are fleeing brutality, cruelty and possible death. Tomorrow you will begin to free your country from dictatorship.”

Join Russia in mobilizing and rushing to organize a so-called referendum on occupied Ukrainian territory this weekend, following Ukraine’s lightning offensive in the Kharkiv region – Moscow’s response to up to seven The fiercest reversal of the month’s war.

Anti-war group Vesna on Saturday night called on social media for new demonstrations across Russia after more than 1,300 protesters were arrested in 38 towns on Wednesday, according to independent monitoring group OVD-Info.

The interior ministry of Russia’s North Ossetia region has advised people not to try to leave the country for Georgia at the Upper Lars border post, where 2,300 cars are waiting to cross the border.

(This story corrects the name of the news outlet in paragraph 8 to “Novaya Gazeta” instead of “Nezavisimaya Gazeta”)

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Edited by Peter Graff, Reuters

Our Standard: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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