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ISW: Russia hopes to attract recruits without resorting to forced mobilization

by Abbey Fenbert August 4, 2023 7:34 AM 2 min read
A recruitment billboard in Moscow is displayed near a building that was hit by a Ukrainian drone. (Photo by Vlad Karkov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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Moscow is trying to attract volunteers to its armed forces with incentives, rather than mandates, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) wrote in its Aug. 3 report.

Russia wishes "to make contract service as presitigous as possible," said Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chair of Russia's Security Council.

To that end, on Aug. 3, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin signed a decree providing state life and health insurance to all citizens who volunteer for combat operations in Ukraine. The new law will be applied retroactively, covering all those who volunteered for the military starting from Feb. 24, 2022, when Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

According to the ISW, the Kremlin hopes to avoid another disastrous round of forced mobilization. Russia's mandatory enlistment efforts in the fall of 2022 were deeply unpopular, sparking protests and political unrest.

Since then, Russia has tried a variety of other recruitment tactics, including raising the maximum conscription age and appealing to "masculine pride."

The ISW also reported that a speech by Russian Air Force Commander Mikhail Teplinsky, in which he disclosed Russian casualties in Ukraine, was scrubbed from state media by the Defense Ministry. Teplinsky claimed that at least 8,500 Russian Air Force personnel had been wounded in Ukraine since the full-scale invasion began.

The ISW noted that this was "a rare official disclosure of Russian casualties, which Russian officials have largely sought to obscure as the war has progressed."

The General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces reports that as of Aug. 3, Russia has lost 247,850 troops in its war against Ukraine.

Ukraine war latest: Russia’s war costs Ukraine $50 billion annually, PM says
Key developments on Aug. 3: * PM says war cost Ukraine over $50 billion * Interior Ministry identifies over 230,000 alleged Russian war criminals, collaborators * Czech-made components found in Russian kamikaze drone * Russia launches 15 kamikaze drones, 47 airstrikes over 24 hours * Russian a…
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