Clashes, arrests, a policeman chased by a group of angry women and a father who blows himself up with a recruiting agent. These are just some of the scenes spread on social media that tell the growing discontent that the “partial mobilization” called by the Russian president Vladimir Putin is causing throughout the Russiaparticularly in Chechnya And Dagestanthe two regions that have already paid the highest tribute of men to the “special military operation” conducted by the tsar in Ukraine.
Minorities and Putin’s strategy
Since the beginning of the invasion, international analysts have highlighted how the soldiers sent to the front line by Putin came for the most part from the poorest rural regions where resistance to mobilization would have been lower or in any case less visible outside the borders of the Federation. A strategy that has become more acute with the “partial mobilization»Launched on 21 September, but which now risks turning out to be a boomerang.
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The protests are particularly violent in Dagestan, a Muslim-majority region on the border with Azerbaijan, which according to BBC estimates had a death rate more than ten times higher than that of the Moscow area. “Our children are not fertilizer” is the cry of the women of the region who protest against the agents who recruit their children and husbands to send them to the front. “It wasn’t Ukraine that attacked Russia. We were the ones who went to them, “shouted the demonstrators, highlighting the now irreparable flaws in the narrative of Russian propaganda, which would like to show the war in Ukraine as a defensive intervention. “Mistakes have been made. Partial mobilization must be conducted only according to the criteria announced by the president, ”the governor of Dagestan Sergei Melikov had to admit on Telegram. The Ukrainian president also addressed the inhabitants of Dagestan and other minorities on Twitter Zelensky: “The Dagestans should not die in Ukraine,” he said speaking under the monument to Imam Shamil, the Dagestan hero who fought against the Russians. «Chechens, Ingushetians, Ossetians, Circassians. You know who is sending you to Ukraine, ”he said, addressing the other Russian minorities and trying to leverage the discontent.
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Situation not very different in neighboring Chechnya, controlled by Razman Kadyrov, one of the Kremlin super hawks who recently evoked the use of tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine and bragged that he sent his teenage children to the front. However, the Chechen leader also has to face popular discontent and two weeks ago he publicly declared that the Chechnya he had already provided Moscow with 254% of the men foreseen by the partial mobilization, an implicit invitation to Moscow not to ask for more.
The possible consequences of mobilization
“In undemocratic systems, there are signs that take the place of elections. The protest against unpopular measures, in Chechnya as in Theran, marks a distance from the official positions “, comments Gregory Alegi, professor of international relations at Luiss University. According to some observers such as Paul Goble of the US State Department, quoted by Yahoo News, these protests could rekindle feelings of independence that in those regions had been repressed in blood. It was in Chechnya that Putin gave the first demonstration of his brutality by razing Grozny to the ground shortly after becoming president in 1999. According to Alegi, however, more than the borders, it is Russia’s international role that is in danger, especially that within the country. Collective Treaty Security Organization (the military alliance which also includes Armenia, Belarus, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan). «These alliances are based on a heavy partner able to intervene in moments of tension. We have seen that Russia is unable to do so, on the contrary, it is itself that creates the problems ».
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However, mobilization for Putin represents above all a problem of internal politics. Unlike the press releases which envisaged mobilizing only those who were on the reserve lists and already had combat experience, the recruitment is proceeding indiscriminately and the men are sent to the front without any training. «The management of the mobilization is between the useless and the amateurish. Like this it has no military effect», Explains Alegi, who then dwells on Putin’s strategy:« Urban centers are always politically sensitive and we tried not to touch them, so the weight of the mobilization fell on the provinces. But now the campaigns say: “Enough. We have already given ”». These are signs that if they are not understood in time they can lead to exacerbating social tension and it is likely that concessions will soon be sought in return. “The compensations could be political rather than territorial, for example a more important role for a leader like Kadyrov”. Far from seeking a change of strategy, the tsar’s route could go towards conspiracy propaganda: “The temptation of undemocratic systems is not to read these signals,” says Alegi. «It is easy that, as in Iranthe blame is diverted to some phantom troublemakers from the United States ».
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