Mobilization will not help the Russian Federation, and the war will come for everyone – DW – 9/22/2022

Published by
Peter Kavinsky

In accordance with the decree on partial mobilization signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on September 21, war with Ukraine 300,000 reservists have to leave. What do German experts say about the mobilization that has started in Russia, the consequences for Russian society and the prospects for Moscow to use nuclear weapons if the escalation conflict Get on?

Joachim Weber, an expert at the Center for Security Affairs at the University of Bonn, points out that the announcement of a “partial” mobilization in Russia did not come as a complete surprise to him, as rumors of such a possibility had been circulating for years. multiple days.

Joachim WeberPhoto: Volker Lannert/CASSIS

He considers the decision to call hundreds of thousands of reservists to the front as an important step towards escalation, which will have major consequences. However, this is “definitely a sign of weakness,” emphasizes Weber. “Putin would not have had to resort to escalation if his military managed the situation the way he wanted and how he had envisioned it,” explains the expert. “The failures and losses of the Russian army are enormous, and they are piling up. One gets the impression that military Russia is back at the wall in Ukraine“.

A similar view is expressed by Nico Lange – an expert on international security, the former chief of the command staff of the German Defense Ministry. “From my point of view, Putin showed weakness. The point is not only in the essence of this “partial” mobilization, but also in the fact that he first wanted to make a speech (call on. – Ed.) and set it aside. Militarily things are not going well in Ukraine and I think from a military point of view this mobilization will not help,” he said in an interview with DW.

Austrian political scientist, professor of international relations at the University of Innsbruck Gerhard Mangott also believes that Putin’s decision to mobilize now was due to the difficult situation of the Russian army and recently successes of Ukrainians. “If Russia wants to prevent the return of its occupied territories by Ukraine, it needs more soldiers. And that can only be done through mobilization,” he says.

Will mobilization in Russia change the situation at the front?

One of the reasons why the Kremlin did not go for a general mobilization, according to the expert, is the lack of the necessary infrastructure for the RF forces to make calls, supply weapons, send them to the front and provide logistics for more people. . But also the conscription of 300,000 people will significantly increase Russia’s ability to defend the occupied territories, Mangott said.

A different view is shared by Joachim Weber of the Center for Security Issues at the University of Bonn. “Increasing the number of troops to 300,000 soldiers is significant,” he said in an interview with DW. “But the benefits of this will not be as great as Putin imagines. Powerful units cannot be formed suddenly, on conscription. You just have a crowd of people from which “You cannot make large formations. It also doesn’t make much sense to cram a few soldiers here and there into existing units that are already demoralized and may have lost a significant amount of their military equipment.”

According to Weber, mobilization in Russia will not be an instantaneous factor that will turn the tide, but in the medium term it will be of great importance for the balance of power. Therefore, the reaction of the West to this step will now play a key role, the expert is sure.

How powerful will the anti-mobilization protests in Russia become?

In connection with the announcement of mobilization in a number of Russian cities, on September 21, protest actionsnone of them, however, had a really massive, spontaneous character. Joachim Weber believes that in the ‘totalitarian state’ that he sees as Russia under Putin, one can hardly expect large protests. “However, it (Putin. – Ed.) reputation will suffer, – says the expert. – This is a result of the lies with which he started the war when he spoke of a limited “special operation”, as if the security forces were deployed against a group of terrorists. He kept silent to his country that he was starting a real large-scale war of one state against another, that this war between states was developing in some way, but not successfully: after all, Russia had lost tens of thousands of people who were killed and wounded.

Gerhard MangottPhoto: Celia di Paulic

“From a Russian point of view, this is all rather unfortunate, and I don’t think most Russians would want to be involved in a major war,” he said.

The announced mobilization could lead to a mood swing in Russian society, Gerhard Mangott also notes. “Until now, the Russian leadership has managed to maintain a semblance of normality, especially in the big cities: in St. Petersburg or Moscow, people did not feel that there was a war going on. Now this will change. With the announcement of the mobilization “The war will enter almost every home: fathers and sons will be sent to the front, resigned from their jobs to fight in Ukraine. Now the war will be noticed by the majority of the population,” he predicts.

Like Joachim Weber, Gerhard Mangott believes that the number of opponents of the war in Russia will increase, but this will not necessarily lead to protests, “because they are associated with great personal risk“.

“Referendums” in eastern Ukraine and the likelihood of Russia using nuclear weapons

Meanwhile, the “referendums” scheduled for the end of September on the accession of the occupied Ukrainian territories to the Russian Federation, Joachim Weber is more concerned than the mobilization in Russia. These fake “referendums” are a legal innovation created by Putin, and they will have no meaning, the expert emphasizes. However, by declaring the regions of eastern Ukraine to Russia, Putin will act in a new legal framework, the framework of which will be the “defense of Russia”, and will deal with this story as much as possible, although what will be “protected is not at all Russia and the conquered territories of Ukraine, Weber predicts.

Gerhard Mangott, an expert at the University of Innsbruck, takes very seriously the threat of nuclear escalation that could arise after “referendums” in eastern Ukraine over the annexation of the territories occupied by Russian troops to the Russian Federation.

So far Putin has not spoken a word “nuclear weapon”. He spoke only of using “all necessary” and “available” resources, Mangott recalls, adding that tactical nuclear weapons were “implicit, of course.”

Putin said that he wanted to make the West think about whether he should continue to provide Ukraine with weapons. “At this stage, the West does not want to be intimidated, but what happens if Putin clearly announces his intention to use tactical nuclear weapons? Will Western support for Ukraine wane and Ukrainian troops will stop trying to retake the Russian-occupied territories? Or will it be necessary for the Russian side to “explode even in an uninhabited area to show its determination? Unfortunately, if this deterrence does not work, it cannot be ruled out that the Russian side will use nuclear weapons in Ukraine,” the expert argues.

Ukraine has already taken military actions in the Kursk and Belgorod regions and carried out rocket attacks on weapons depots in the annexed Crimea, which Russia considers its state territory, the professor reminds. “However, so far there has not been a single Ukrainian army in the territory declared by Russia as “theirs”. If Ukraine does not succumb to intimidation and continues the offensive, then this (the appearance of the Ukrainian army on the territory that Russia has declared “theirs”. – Ed.) can occur for the first time, and then danger of nuclear escalation It’s going to be very big,” he says.

How should the West respond to the mobilization in Russia?

Nico Lange thinks otherwise. “I get the impression that all these laws (amendments to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, which introduce the concepts of ‘mobilization’, ‘martial law’ and ‘wartime’. – Ed.) and threats that Russia will “use all means”, as well as playing with nuclear threats is part of psychological warfare,” he says.

“Putin is weak now. And I think the most important message now, for all of us in Germany, in Europe, is that we should not be intimidated, even by laws that do not change the military situation, but only emphasize that Russia is inside an authoritarian and totalitarian system,” Lange said in an interview with DW.

Nico LangePhoto: Nico Lange

He believes it is a good sign that the German government has decided this week to provide Ukraine with a new batch of howitzers, Mars II MLRS systems and Dingo armored vehicles. “It would be nice if Germany went further – in terms of the supply of infantry fighting vehicles” and other armored vehiclesthat Ukraine needs. I think Germany understands that strong support for Ukraine is the best way to end the war,” he said.

Joachim Weber shares a similar view: “Ukraine has in fact already mobilized its entire male population ready for battle. It is difficult to do anything more,” he notes. Western Weapons Stocks. It is therefore obvious that, as a result of the Russian mobilization, the supply of Western weapons to Ukraine should again increase seriously. Otherwise, there is a risk of a military defeat of Ukraine, and at the same time – the complete destruction of Ukraine as a state. And you can’t afford this in the face of Putin’s Russia.”

Also see:

“It’s like terror”: Ukrainians on mobilization in Russia

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Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at

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