(MENAFN- Asia Times) When Vladimir Putin called for a partial mobilization in September 2022 it was a sign to ordinary Russians that – despite all the Kremlin's denials – this was no longer a“special military operation” but a real war.
In response to Ukraine's successful counteroffensive which recaptured swaths of territory from Russia, Putin called up around 300,000 men – around 1% of the eligible pool of reservists.
Mobilization, which has occurred only once in Russia before last year (in 1941), is different from the country's regular conscription mechanism , which calls up about a quarter of a million men aged 18 to 30 each year (the age limit was raised from 27 to 30 in April).
Conscripts are not allowed to fight outside Russia, but once they have completed their one-year national service, they join the reserves and can be called on to fight.
But, despite the huge reserves that the Kremlin can call on, it's clear that, especially in the run-up to the next presidential elections in May 2024, another round of call-ups would be very unpopular.
Yet there have been persistent rumors that a new mobilization is imminent. This is partly a misinformation campaign launched by Kiev to sow dissent in Russia. In December 2022, the then-defense minister Oleksii Reznikov and military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov claimed that a new wave of mobilization would begin on January 5, 2023.
When this didn't happen, Ukrainian officials continued to claim that half a million men would be mobilized in January. It warned eligible draftees to flee Russia.
Again in September 2023, Ukrainian sources claimed a new mobilization was planned for the day after the Russian regional elections on September 10. Once more, nothing happened.
Spreading rumors of imminent mobilization in Russia is clearly part of Ukraine's psychological warfare, but the more they do it without anything happening, the less credible it becomes.
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