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UK Defense Ministry: Russia wants to recruit 420,000 contract soldiers in 2023

by Martin Fornusek September 11, 2023 1:07 PM 2 min read
Russian military personnel arrive to participate in the Victory Day parade held at Moscow's Red Square on May 9, 2023. (Photo credit: KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)
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Russia plans to recruit 420,000 military contract personnel by the end of the year, likely exacerbating the country's labor shortage, the U.K. Defense Ministry said in its intelligence report on Sept. 11.

Citing the Yegor Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy, the analysis pointed out that Russia's industry shortage of workers already reached a new record of 42% in July 2023, a 7% increase compared to April.

The process does not affect all industries equally. The Russian I.T. industry has reportedly "taken steps to preserve the workforce," as it is already suffering acute shortages. The sector lost 10% of employees – around 100,000 people – who left Russia in 2022.

The Kremlin has acknowledged the crucial role of the I.T. sector. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Sept. 4 to increase the military service exemption age for I.T. professionals from 27 to 30.

The U.K. Defense Ministry estimated that Moscow will likely seek to avoid further unpopular mobilizations in the run-up to the presidential elections in 2024.

The Russian military is continuing efforts to refill its ranks following high casualty rates during the invasion of Ukraine. Moscow launched mobilization in the fall of last year, targeting mainly migrant workers and citizens from more remote regions to avoid antagonizing wealthier segments of the population in major cities.

Moscow also drafts military personnel from occupied parts of Ukraine. According to military intelligence spokesperson Andrii Cherniak, Russia has forcibly mobilized from 55,000 to 60,000 men in the occupied territories of Ukraine between the start of the full-scale invasion and July 2023.

Military intelligence: More than 420,000 Russian soldiers deployed across occupied territories
More than 420,000 Russian soldiers are deployed across occupied Ukrainian territories, Vadym Skibitsky, deputy head of Ukraine’s military intelligence, said on Sept. 9.
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