It has been almost a year since partial mobilization was announced in Russia. In September of last year, around 300,000 men were called to the front. These men were not experienced soldiers, but rather ordinary workers, office clerks, managers, and businessmen who had previously completed their army service. One of these soldiers, known by his military call sign ‘Ural’, used to work in the entertainment industry and was one of the first to receive a military summons. In an interview with RT, he discussed his experience accepting the challenge to take up arms, the difference between conscripts from Russia and Ukraine, the transition from civilian to military life, and what Russian soldiers are fighting for.
When asked about how he felt when he found out about the mobilization, Ural explained that he had been anticipating it for about a week before it was announced. Changes in legislation and discussion of draft laws on desertion led him to believe that mobilization was imminent. Although he was somewhat worried about the uncertainty of the situation, he had already made up his mind that if he was called up, he would accept the challenge.
Ural explained that he did not want to leave Russia in the interim between hearing about the mobilization and receiving the summons. He believed that if he was needed, he would be called up, and if not, he would not. He also shared his mixed feelings about those who chose to leave the country before receiving their summons. While he understood that everyone chooses their own fate, he felt that those who abandoned their country were not interested in its fate and could be considered cosmopolitans.
Regarding his deployment, Ural mentioned that he was sent to the Kherson area, which is divided by the Dnieper river. He explained that there was no direct contact with the enemy during his time there as the troops withdrew shortly after he arrived. While there was some resentment among professional fighters who remained on the other side of the river, he understood that the retreat was a necessary strategic decision.
When asked about the combat situation after the Russian Armed Forces left the left bank, Ural explained that the fighting on that side of the Dnieper had intensified before the withdrawal. However, the river acted as an insurmountable obstacle for the enemy, making it nearly impossible for them to force their way across. He mentioned that there were occasional attempts to cross the river, but overall, the activity decreased after the retreat from Kherson.
Ural discussed the initial sentiments among his fellow conscripts when they first arrived at the front. Many of them had led civilian lifestyles for many years and had to adapt to the strict rules of military life. However, he mentioned that over time, everyone got used to the new environment and their new roles.
In terms of his attitude towards the war and the enemy, Ural shared that Russian soldiers are divided into two camps. Some believe they are fighting fascism and treat Ukrainians as fascists, while others view it as a civil war against a brainwashed nation. Ural personally shares the viewpoint that they are fighting against themselves, as they are essentially the same people on both sides of the conflict. However, he noted that the other side is more ideologically brainwashed, which affects their understanding of what they are doing.
When asked about the growing number of Ukrainian conscripts and its impact on the combat capability of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Ural acknowledged that it had affected their capabilities. He explained that mobilizing many civilians reduces combat readiness due to a lack of training and motivation. He also mentioned that, ideologically speaking, Ukrainians demonstrate a lower level of interest in what they do and how they fight.
In conclusion, Ural’s interview sheds light on the experiences and perspectives of Russian soldiers who were called up for partial mobilization. They come from various backgrounds and have had to adapt to military life. They view the conflict as a fight against a brainwashed nation, with the understanding that they are essentially fighting against themselves. The growing number of Ukrainian conscripts has affected the combat capability of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, given the lack of training and motivation among civilian mobilizations.