In a move short of desperation, Moscow is conscripting draftees for President Vladimir Putin’s partial military mobilization from seemingly anywhere it can, including the Ministry of Energy.
The ministry is reportedly demanding all of its employees to show up and sign up at military recruitment offices, some of whom were allegedly taken straight from work.
Putin’s latest mobilization order is slowly proving to be unpopular, causing nationwide demonstrations to protest the move and a huge uptick in citizens looking to fly out of the country. The government, however, took this as an opportunity to gain more draftees; reports are coming out of law enforcement centers that detained protestors are being coerced to sign up for the military while airlines have been ordered to stop selling flights out of Moscow to men eligible for the mobilization.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said earlier that the mobilization estimates to draft around 300,000 reservists and civilians with military service experience, and the signees will be given military training before deployment. As it is, the response from Russian citizens is lukewarm at best, defecting at worst.
But drafting all employees of the energy ministry goes against these premises, potentially putting workers of the sector–Moscow’s biggest revenue-generating source–at risk, especially given that most of them lack the military service experience Shoigu was looking for.
This risk is something that state-owned energy firm Gazprom seemingly considered. Immediately after the energy ministry’s demand, the company sent emails to their employees saying that it has secured a 12-month deferment for those noticed for immediate conscription.
Most of the employees reportedly signed up and then got immediately deferred from service.
Gazprom is critical not only to the country’s coffers and energy grid, but also as Putin’s agent to weaponize natural gas exports. As of today, the state-owned gas producer has the Nord Stream 1 pipeline still closed down, allegedly due to “leakage.”
Aside from detained protestors and ministry employees, university students seem to be Russia’s next source for mobilization draftees. Reports from the country’s federal republic Buryatia are saying that male university students are being taken straight from school to military recruitment offices.
The coercive method of signing up draftees hints at the unpopularity of Putin’s mobilization order, especially after local enlistment offices are reportedly stating that some of the signees might have to be sent to war without training.
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