For seven whole months, Russian forces have been failing and flailing in Ukraine, committing atrocity after atrocity on account of their inability to make any headway otherwise.
As these humiliating defeats pile up, Russian President Vladimir Putin is turning desperate, announcing to his people on Wednesday morning that there would be a mandatory conscription of 300,000 able-bodied men into the armed services, all of whom will be heading to Ukraine to fight.
The only problem being that Putin hasn’t had enough supplies or equipment for even the initial fighting force, which was actually smaller than 300,000 – making this forthcoming deployment nothing more than cannon fodder.
By Wednesday night, Russian citizens had heard enough.
More than 1,300 people have been arrested at demonstrations across Russia against President Vladimir Putin’s announcement of a partial mobilisation of civilians to fight in Ukraine, a police monitoring group said Wednesday.
The OVD-Info monitoring group counted at least 1,332 people detained at rallies in 38 different cities across the country after Putin’s morning address to the nation.
The protests were the largest in Russia since demonstrations that broke out following the announcement of Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine in February.
Russians faced massive penalties if arrested, and were unsurprisingly a little timid.
“Everyone is scared. I am for peace and I don’t want to have to shoot. But coming out now is very dangerous, otherwise there would be many more people,” said protester Vasily Fedorov, a student wearing a pacifist symbol on his chest.
“I came out to the rally planning to participate, but it looks like they’ve already arrested everyone. This regime has condemned itself and is destroying its youth,” said Alexei, a 60-year-old resident who declined to give his last name.
Those caught speaking out against the Kremlin face up to 15 years in jail, with many dissidents finding themselves locked away at labor camps in the far, frozen reaches of Siberia.