Mistakes that will be fixed. Russian authorities have admitted that mistakes were made in the mobilization decreed by President Vladimir Putin, after the summons of people supposed to be exempted which caused an outcry.
In announcing Wednesday this “partial” mobilization of reservists to go to Ukraine, Vladimir Putin stressed that only people with military experience or “relevant” skills would be called.
But several cases of people over combat age, ill or otherwise exempt, have sparked outrage on social media, sparking embarrassment and concern from authorities.
A 63-year-old former soldier mobilized while sick
In the Volgograd region (South-West), it is a 63-year-old retired soldier, suffering from severe diabetes and brain problems, who was dismissed from the training center where he had been summoned, according to authorities.
In the same region, the director of a small rural school, Alexandre Faltine, aged 58, received a mobilization order when he had not served in the army. After the publication of a video of his daughter on social networks, where it was widely shared, he was able to return home.
In an unusual admission of dysfunction, the speaker of the upper house of parliament, Valentina Matvienko, curtly chastised regional authorities, who oversee the mobilization.
“Improper cases of mobilization (…) arouse lively discussions in society and on social networks, she lamented in a press release published on Telegram. Some believe, it seems, that it is more important to present their report quickly than to correctly fulfill an important mission for the State. Such excesses are absolutely unacceptable. Ensure that the partial mobilization is fulfilled in full respect of the announced criteria. And without making a single mistake! »
The general in charge of logistics sacked on Saturday
These excesses are a new example of the organizational difficulties that have accompanied Russia’s offensive against Ukraine from the start.
On Saturday, the Ministry of Defense announced the replacement of the highest ranking officer in charge of logistics issues by General Mikhail Mizintsev, a heavyweight of the staff.
Even if the authorities present the mobilization of people supposed to be exempted as isolated cases, their declarations express a form of concern in the face of the indignant reaction of part of the population.
On Saturday, the President of the Human Rights Council at the Kremlin, Valéri Fadeïev, urged Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to “urgently resolve the problems” noted since the start of the mobilization so as not to “undermine public confidence”.
He cited the examples of 70 fathers of large families mobilized in the Russian republic of Buryatia, in Eastern Siberia, as well as nurses and midwives without any military experience in the region of Sverdlovsk (Urals), summoned “under the threat of legal proceedings” in the event of refusal.
Several students mobilized
Valéri Fadeïev also criticized those who “postpone mobilization orders at two o’clock in the morning, as if they took us all for [déserteurs] “. This method creates “discontent”, he warned.
Faced with this situation, the governors of the regions of Vladimir, near Moscow, and Leningrad (North-West) promised that those mobilized “by mistake” would return home.
The governor of Leningrad, Alexander Drozdenko, on Sunday asked the heads of the districts of his region to “personally take in hand the requests of the inhabitants and to take care of each file”.
Several students also claimed to have been summoned when the authorities had promised that they would be exempted.
On Saturday evening, Vladimir Putin signed a decree providing for an exemption for those studying at universities or state vocational schools.
Another controversial situation concerns the case of demonstrators against the offensive in Ukraine who received a mobilization order while in police custody. There, the Kremlin indicated that it saw nothing “illegal”.