It seems as though Vladimir Putin isn’t just losing the war in the Ukraine, but the war at home as well.
The Russian President’s ill-advised invasion of neighboring Ukraine has been troublesome from the start. The Kremlin’s original estimate of a 72-hour blitzkrieg to victory has turned into a seven-month slog, plagued by equipment failures, desertions, and tens of thousands of suspected war crimes.
Now, with failure imminent, Putin has announced a mandatory conscription of 300,000 Russian citizens to go to war, (likely to wind up in the crosshairs of a far superior Ukrainian fighting force).
The news had Russians revolting against Putin en masse.
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.
Some were concerned, however, on account of Russia’s strict laws against protesting the Kremlin, with some of those detained facing up to 15 years in prison and/or a trip to a Siberian labor camp.
Protesters were chanting “No mobilisation!”
“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.
“Why are you serving Putin, a man who’s been in power for 20 years!” a young protester shouted at one policeman.
Putin’s grip on power has been slipping mightily ever since his army began to disintegrate in Ukraine, and mass protests could just be the last straw of his increasingly-fragile reign.