Russia Monitor is a review of the most important events related to Russian internal and external security, as well as its foreign policies.
Date: 22 July 2022 Author: Grzegorz Kuczyński
Russia Forms “Ethnic” Battalions Deployed In Ukraine
The Kremlin is looking for new troops in a method that does not utilize mandatory military service. The Russian leadership is reluctant to practice conscription for ethnic Russian Slavs, hence continuous efforts how to draw troops into the Russian war.
Amid heavy losses in Ukraine, Russian authorities decided to recruit and financially incentivize volunteers to form new battalions. But this proved little efficient as Russia lacks military personnel anyway. Instead, Kremlin officials have a new strategy. While members of ethnic minorities in Russia are unlikely to join the federal army, they could be recruited regionally. The Kremlin likely ordered Russian federal subjects to form volunteer battalions to participate in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, instead of declaring partial or full mobilization in Russia. Top Russian officials believe the Chechen military model is just right to create groups or battalions composed of ethnic Russians. A newly formed battalion is based in Moscow, but its personnel is ethnically non-Russian. In these impoverished regions like Dagestan or Buryatia, men are eager to go to war while identifying with their region rather than the federation. The burden then falls onto the shoulders of ethnic fighters, which also ramps up tensions along ethnic lines. Back in April, a shootout occurred between Buryats and Chechens fighting for Russia. Deploying ethnic battalions in Ukraine is not a morale booster for the Russian army, though.
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