The Kremlin is aggressively soliciting volunteers to serve the army in the war against Ukraine. According to a report, state-owned companies in western Russia have to lay off employees. But they don't have to go to the front, they have to go to "military retraining".
The authorities in the region around St. Petersburg are apparently instructing state-owned companies to send male employees between the ages of 18 and 60 to undergo "military retraining". According to a report by Novaya Gazeta Europe, government officials in Leningrad Oblast first ask companies how many employees they can do without. The offices would then issue notices of convocation.
The next day, the men would have to go to the local conscription office with their documents and the most important utensils. From there they would be sent to the military bases. A representative of the recruiting office told Novaya Gazeta Europe that the men were being sent to "repair equipment" arriving from Ukraine. As a result, they would not have to go to the front.
A bus carrying around 20 men to be retrained left the town of Gatchina south of Saint Petersburg yesterday, a correspondent for the independent news site reports. Before leaving, he spoke to a man who, according to his own statements, was called up unannounced. "On August 1, when I wasn't at work, my bosses had visitors," the man is quoted as saying by "Nowaya Gaseta Europe". They would have been instructed to send him to the draft office the next day.
"I come in, they give me the summons and tell me that I have to come to the office tomorrow, from where I will be taken to a military unit," the man is quoted as saying. "They didn't say which one. […] They told us that we won't go to Ukraine." He himself specializes in military mechanics and finished his military service three years ago, but cooks are also among the recruits. According to the correspondent, another man said he worked for the Elektropribor concern and had no previous military experience.
The Russian authorities have not called a general mobilization. For this to happen, President Vladimir Putin would first have to officially allow his country to enter a state of war. The Kremlin is still only talking about a "special military operation" in Ukraine. At the same time, the enlistment offices are aggressively seeking volunteers.