The word “war” in Russia shuts down the media, and those who say it are brought to court if they mean the invasion of Ukraine.
Nevertheless, the word got out in parliament. At least once (for now), even if the party of the MP (and leader) in question dissociates itself from it. Deputies and senators talk about the need for “mobilization”, the Russian elite comments on the mistakes made – so that the words do not seem directed at the leadership, reports “Dnevnik”.
Whether with these comments the Kremlin is studying public attitudes and monitoring the response, or whether they are an expression of another type of confrontation, is not known, but the process is a fact: there were no such calls during the withdrawal from Kyiv and Chernihiv regions, presented as a gesture of goodwill and a new stage from the “special operation”, in early spring.
The operation turned into a war, but the two are different
The address of the leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF, in theory the largest opposition party) Gennady Zyuganov, who at the first autumn session of the State Duma directly called the “military operation” a “war”: for two months, everything “radical” resonated the most ” changed at the front.
He, of course, did not equate the Russian invasion with war, but in the latter word he saw a process arising from Western support for Ukraine.
The war, Zyuganov believes, needs a response and “maximum mobilization of forces and resources, unification of society and clear definition of priorities” are needed.
“The military-political operation against the Nazis, the Banderas, the fascists in Ukraine grew into a full-fledged war, which the Americans, NATO members and united Europe declared for us. The war and the special operation are radically different. The special operation is announced and you can stop it. You can’t stop the war, even if you want to. You have to go all the way,” said Zyuganov.
Other messages are also being circulated on Russian channels in Telegram – for example, his call for universal mobilization. Zyuganov made a similar comment to journalists on the sidelines, where he explained: “In my opinion, for the last two months, the special operation in Ukraine and Donbas has turned into a war.”
At the municipal level, councilors in St Petersburg have already faced justice: their body could be dissolved over calls for President Vladimir Putin to be removed over the war.
Two other parties, Sergei Mironov’s “Just Russia” and Leonid Slutsky’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) want “mobilization, but not military” but “in the heads” and unification.
Criticisms from allies
It was not only the opposition – often described as casionate by pundits – who raised the issue. Mihail Sheremet, a member of the security and anti-corruption committee, also spoke on the topic. “Without total mobilization, the creation of military foundations, including in the economy, we will not achieve adequate results. The fact is that society must be as united as possible and prepared for victory,” he said yesterday.
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, a staunch ally of President Vladimir Putin, criticized the defense ministry and suggested that the head of state had no idea what was going on in Ukraine.
Some experts defined the combination between the activities of private military companies and the recruitment of volunteers in Donbas in recent months as “hidden mobilization”.
In patriotic channels in “Telegram” calls for mobilization are also heard. The former Minister of Defense of the self-proclaimed and Russian-recognized “Donetsk People’s Republic” Igor Strelkov, who became critical of Russia’s approach to the war (and has officially fallen out of favor, although he continues to live in an apartment in Moscow), also spoke about this. attacked as a critic after his last comment with an RBC publication, and tried to take a different line. “For half a year now, I have openly and regularly stated that if we continue to fight like this, as our troops have been fighting for six months under the leadership of the (Ministry of Defense), we will suffer a crushing defeat in this war as a result. Period,” he defended himself in ” Telegram”.
Yesterday, President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov warned that criticism is acceptable only if it is within the law (ie if it does not deviate from the Kremlin’s official discourse), regardless of whether it is from the opposition or non-nationalists. According to him, mobilization is not on the agenda at the moment.
“If they remain within the legal field, it is pluralism, but this line is very, very thin. We have to be very careful here,” said Peskov.
“No, I don’t agree,” said Ksenia Torstem, a politician from another municipality in St. Petersburg, initiator of a gesture of support for the dozens of councilors, when contacted by “El Pais”. Asked if there is pluralism in Russia, as Peskov claims, she (according to the newspaper) laughs. “It has not existed for a long time. There were new elections in Moscow, and there is not a single independent councilor. Doing politics today is extremely difficult. Politics is not possible, only a kind of activism.”
Will it happen without mobilization?
The “legal field” worries the existing Russian political elite. The CPRF itself quickly dissociated itself from Zyuganov – even despite the difference he highlighted in his words between the Russian invasion and Western aid to Ukraine. Stated that he called for the mobilization of the economy and the political system, not the population. However, many Russian media had already reprinted the leader’s words.
Among the rulers, Andrey Klimov did not agree with Sheremet, but rather supported the idea of ”unification”.
This conversation in a media environment marked by de facto military censorship is taking place as many pundits seek the answer to the same question: can the war go on like this.
“The main reason for the current defeat is the idiocy of the Russian authorities. Idiocy and psychopathy,” military expert Pavel Luzin told Meduza. “Objectives are set which no army can meet.”
However, the mobilization army by itself has been impossible in Russia for several decades: there has been no regular work with the reservists since the 1970s, the reforms of former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov dismantled the institutions of the mobilization army, Luzin continues. Moreover, the delegation of power to the generals – as the mobilization implies – is problematic for the Kremlin, which does not trust the generals. Forced mobilization may have been possible in rural Russia, but not today – in Yekaterinburg, Perm and Novosibirsk.
Welcoming voices are also heard in the Russian media – from military correspondents. Alexander Sladkov says that the military should increase fivefold. Vladlen Tatarsky, who also had a “chance” meeting with the entrepreneur known as Putin’s Chef (behind the private army “Wagner”) Yevgeny Prigozhin and pretends to be a participant in the battles in Donbass from RTVI, goes even further: not only mobilization with assault rifles “Kalashnikov”, but also “warning nuclear strike on Snake Island”.
Still, Luzin and Russian politicians agree on one thing: unless something changes in the current approach, Russia will lose.