Moscow is trying to bribe its citizens to sign up to serve in the army as Russian President Vladimir Putin watches his forces shrink in Ukraine as the conflict drags on.
“Putin has launched a full-scale recruiting effort,” Rebekah Koffler, a military intelligence strategist and author of “Putin’s Playbook,” told Fox News Digital.
An analysis by the Atlantic Council found that the Russian armed forces turned to the civilian population to help raise money for additional equipment, including drones, thermal imaging cameras, vehicles and medicine, through a group called “All for Victory,” run by propagandist Vladimir Solovyov.
The most surprising initiative pursued by Russian officials involves a payment of 1 million rubles (about $11,000) for anyone who joins the “elite division.” Several pro-military accounts on Telegram have supported the initiative.
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The Atlantic Council noted that this followed an earlier initiative that sought to hire contractors for about 600,000 rubles (about $6,600) in October.
“Every Russian newspaper from Izvestia to Moscow Young Communist carries an announcement about an ‘elite combat division’ of contract soldiers being recruited for the special military operation,” Koffler said.
Kofler argued that “Putin is almost certainly preparing for a very likely conflict in Ukraine” with what amounts to “effective” “covert mobilization.”
“As a former KGB agent, Putin is adept at covert tactics and often uses them to his advantage when he needs to obscure the real situation,” he said. “The reality is these young men are going to be sent to a meat grinder.”
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UK Ministry of Defence he said last month the number of total Russian “permanent” casualties – including those discharged due to injury – is between 150,000 and 190,000 since the start of the conflict, with the total wounded bringing the number to just under 300,000 – not including the Wagner group and the “battalions of captives” who fought at Bahamut. The ministry, in February, more specifically reported a figure of 40,000 to 60,000 dead.
“Idite Lesom”, an anti-war initiative in the country of Georgia that seeks to help Russians avoid the military camp, reported on its Telegram channel that several regions, including Tatarstan, Bashkortostan and the city of Irkutsk, have received promotional messages text. “contractual services”.
Russia over the summer tried to lure troops from neighboring Kazakhstan, a former Soviet republic, with payments of more than 450,000 rubles (about $5,000) offered as pop-ups online, Reuters reported.
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Despite the fact that Kazakhstan calls for peace and does not support the Russian invasion, the ads urge Kazakhs to “stand shoulder to shoulder” and join the Russian army, which would provide an additional monthly salary of at least 190,000 rubles (about $2,000 ) per month and “undisclosed benefits .”
Koffler revealed that some of those benefits include: 50% reimbursement for rent, including “total renovations.” free delivery? psychological help; free university education. vacation time, to be used at their discretion; free gas; and so on.”
“Putin is promising heaven to these young men,” he said, warning that “the reality is that when there’s a high risk of dying in a combat zone, you won’t need any of these enticing benefits.”
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the late founder and leader of Russia’s notorious Wagner mercenaries, had turned to recruiting criminals out of prison in a suicide squad-style deal to offer their freedom after six months of survival at the front.
The prison initiative drew strong criticism, but Prigozhin argued that if Russia did not use criminals and other methods, it should turn to the civilian population, whom he called “dandelion boys … whose milk is still wet on their lips.”
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“Would you rather the murderer go to war or your family members?” he had asked famously, and now quite possibly prophetically. Prigozhin died in the summer after his plane exploded while in exile following a failed coup attempt against the Russian military command.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.