This ‘partial’ mobilisation will affect every Russian
On the day mobilisation was announced, I spent the entire morning, before work, calling my friends and family, urging them to leave Russia immediately. Most of my friends agreed. Some — afraid of being drafted — were already on their way to the airport.
My mother, who lives in Moscow with her new boyfriend in her mid-forties, refused. She was adamant, no matter how much I implored her to leave Russia. “Where am I supposed to go?! It’s not like the war is in Moscow. Plus, Dima [her boyfriend] is not going to get drafted! Putin said that the mobilisation is partial,” she said.
But if there’s one thing we should learn from the last two decades of Putin’s reign, it’s this: never trust a KGB agent.
I knew what would follow when the Kremlin announced they were conducting fake referendums to annex Kherson. I wrote so on my Telegram channel to my Russian audience the night Putin was supposed to address the nation but — for curious reasons — didn’t. It was clear that the referendums meant mobilisation and war escalation. It was also clear that Putin was desperate and knew he was losing against Ukraine. What wasn’t clear, though — and what I, and many of my friends and fellow journalists miscalculated — was that mobilisation would come before the so-called referendums.
Everyone thought the “successful” referendums and the subsequent counter-attack by Ukrainian forces — who don’t care whether Putin calls Kherson Russia or not — would become a public reason for Putin to escalate the war further. The Russian TV would have said, “Hey, look, Ukrainians are now attacking Russian territory!” This would give them credibility to announce a nationwide gathering of troops, even though it would become a political blow for Putin himself. (It’s one thing to watch the war on TV; it’s another to have your son-in-law die in Donbas).
The fact that this hasn’t happened is evidence of just how desperate Putin is.
If you look at Putin’s career, you’ll see that he had it pretty good until a few years back, when he became disinterested in domestic politics and shifted his gaze towards other countries, like Ukraine, and what he thinks of as historical injustice (he…