Russia: Putin losing his grip on power says expert
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The announcement by Russian President and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu caused a large number of Russians to try to flee the country as critics said men with no military experience were being plucked for service. News reports quickly emerged from the frontlines that some soldiers were sent to areas of fierce fighting only 11 days after their mobilisation with one claiming he only had one go at shooting practice with three magazines.
Days after the mobilization, men in Yekaterinburg in Russia were seen marching with “no machine guns, nothing, no clothing, no shoes” and according to an observer, “half of them [were] hungover, old, at risk”.
The observer added that “the ambulance should be on duty”.
Military blogger Anastasia Kashevarova said: “The result of the mobilization is that untrained guys are thrown onto the frontline”.
Now journalists have been calling up the sons of Russia’s elite to question if they would fight in Ukraine, with many hanging up the phone in response.
The reporters from Vazhnye Istorii in Russia called around a dozen sons and sons-in-law of senior political figures in Russia to ask if they would respond to a call to fight from Putin.
The majority of the 300,000 Russians who have been mobilized are from the poorer regions of Russia.
Meanwhile, the privileged sons of Russia’s elite have continued living a life of luxury with extravagant holidays and many showing off their physical fitness while old and sick men are sent to war as cannon fodder.
The son-in-law of Shoigu, Alexei Stolyarov, 32, is a fitness influencer and was on holiday in Nepal when called by journalists about the war.
Stolyarov declined to comment if he would fight and Ilya Medvedev, the son of Dmitry, the former President of Russia’s Security Council said he has not yet been called up.
Meanwhile, Alexander Kolokoltsev, 39, the son of Russia’s interior minister, said he would not volunteer but would go if he was called.
He said: “As a Russian patriot and citizen, I will always stand to defend it. I will act responsibly and go if I’m called up and mobilised.”
Other children of Russia’s elite have been strongly criticised and disowned by their parents for pedalling anti-Kremlin narratives about the war.
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The daughter of Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Liza Peskov, posted an anti-war post on Instagram the day after the invasion but later pulled it down.
In August, Eduard Isakov, a Russian politician disowned his daughter Diana, 25, and called her a “traitor”.
Isakov said he cut ties with her “from the moment I found out that she had an anti-Russian position”.
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