Moscow is actively using “volunteers” to solve its military problems. The so-called “vacationers,” and in fact the military, from which, after the removal of insignia, formed military units and they were posed as defenders of the “Russian world.” Another part that grew over time was private military companies like Wagner.
They are funded by the Kremlin, armed by the Russian Defense Ministry, and trained at GRU military bases. But this allows Putin to claim that the Russian state knows nothing about it. As he stated twice during the press conference after his meeting with French President Macron.
After the escalation and the pulling of troops to the Ukrainian border began, recruiters all over Russia stepped up. Specialists in specific military professions are being recruited. And the number of soldiers required is very large. However, unexpectedly, this time the organizers encountered a serious problem. People refuse to go to fight in Ukraine. Dozens of volunteers who in 2014-2015 gave all of themselves “for Donbass” are sitting at home this time.
As one of those who fought for the “Russian world” once said: “We are tired, we feel deceived and devastated. Because for seven years we were treated as if everything was our fault. And no one called us there. Some of the former volunteers were imprisoned, some were extradited to Ukraine as terrorists and given prison sentences there. Some lost their families because their wives don’t like their husbands fighting for other people’s families. Those who are not tired of fighting either went to Syria or to the PMCs… But, by and large, we were all abandoned. It’s like in the story when the boy shouted three times that the wolves attacked, and when they really attacked, no one was interested.
According to Eldar Khasanov, a volunteer of the first wave, the head of the so-called headquarters of the Slavic Brigade and the Defense Ministry of the DPR in 2014: “No. I’m not going to go myself, and I won’t call my supporters to do it. My opinion is that even if the war starts, we have very bad prospects from the point of view of the fact that people don’t believe in anything anymore. The Ukrainians have been given seven years to fortify themselves, to raise their army, to have the West fully arm them. So what miracle are we waiting for now? The Ukrainian army of 2014-2015 was one army, but today it is a completely different army. The AFU has learned a lot. They are also being supplied with fairly good weapons. The modern weapons that the Turks supplied to Azerbaijan, they are now giving to Ukraine as well. And how it is possible to cope with it all when it is necessary to counter electronic warfare means and ultramodern air defense, I do not imagine”. You can read more of his opinion here.
The same sentiments are shared by veterans of combat operations from the PMCs. It is one thing to fight in Syria against a fragmented opposition forces with the support of the government army, and quite another thing to fight against the regular forces of the first country in Europe. Russian casualties will be huge, everyone understands. It is not for nothing that the Russian Defense Ministry ordered 50,000 zinc coffins.