Vladimir Putin's mobilization: the tragedy of Russian society

The war has arrived in Russia. But there will be no serious protests because the situation is too hopeless for most.

People demonstrate against the order for a partial mobilization of the armed forces

Many Russians have only now woken up Photo: Alexander Zemlianichenko/ap/dpa

The war has arrived in Russia, in the form of a paper from a draft board. With instructions on where to present oneself and when, including the so-called military card. Had Russia's President Vladimir Putin a mobilization In recent months, he has always ruled out that Russia's "professional army of well-armed professional soldiers" is carrying out a "military special operation" in Ukraine, but he has now hastily announced this mobilization.

It is the Kremlin's admission that the Russian army has become defensive in Ukraine. It means an escalation, because Moscow has little more resources than to threaten - to the extreme: with nuclear weapons, which it fears to use itself. The Putin system shows its weaknesses to the outside world. The West need not freeze in fear.

Many Russians have only now woken up. The state is now openly demanding the worst thing it can ever ask of them: to die for this state. Hardly anyone wants to send their own Sasha, Vanya or Kolya to their deaths. Will the Awakening be followed by a popular uprising? The end of the Putin regime? no way.

Because the question remains: What has to happen if Sascha, Vanya, Kolya are to stay alive? Escape? An escape needs money, needs opportunities, needs confidence, somewhere abroad, no matter how close to safety. Escape takes courage. Resistance? In repressive Russia, resistance needs a strong will, needs the strength to stand up to well-armed special police officers, knowing that they will be beaten with a baton and then lose a lot: their health, their job, possibly their freedom. Ten years in prison for desertion? This idea alone makes many men in Russia prefer to go to the front.

The state relies on the instilled understanding of roles for men

Because these options would demand a lot of fearlessness from the reservists and their families. People who have been politically demobilized for decades, who have grown up with the belief "Don't stick your head out" will not quickly rebel against a state that works extremely well with its repressive instruments.

Having a choice and being able to make a choice is a privilege. Privileges are few in a Yakut or North Caucasian village. The road to war, this road to possible death, is almost the only one, even for those who don't want to go it. This is the tragedy of Russian society.

in the The moderators and guests roar on state TV however, of "opportunities" to "prove yourself a real Russian man". The Russian state is also banking on this: on the instilled understanding of the role of a man as a defender. The first buses with reservists have already left for training camps. The men are relaxed, their wives and children are sobbing.

No interest in the referendums

It is a hopelessness that everyone across the country is currently experiencing in their own way, always linked to the hope: "It may not hit me." Until it does hit you - and people accept the blow and many endure it. Because over the years they have learned not to be a political subject, that politics is something distant. That elections don't matter. And referendums even less.

That's why hardly anyone in Russia is interested for the mock referendums, which will be held until September 27 in the Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine. Even under Russian law, these are illegal. Anyone ask about it? No, because these "referendums" are pure acclamation, confirmation of what the Kremlin has already decided. Out of panic? Out of calculation? That is not important.

The “referendum” is solely due to the proof of generating support for Putin. The role of the people - whoever gets to play that people - is to applaud in agreement. The attitude of many in the country: the Kremlin does what the Kremlin wants. Most people in Russia bow to this will. But Europe must not bow to this.

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