Russia's partial mobilization will be a serious stress test for the system, security expert Rainer Saks said on the "Esimene stuudio" talk show. He added that the information operation accompanying the mobilization is even more important than the latter.
Saks suggested that the mobilization is a watershed moment for Putin, his future and that of Russia. "Of course, he will not be the one to carry out the mobilization. It will be a stress test for the Russian state apparatus."
The analyst said that two things needs to be kept in mind. "One is the picture painted by the media and the information operation surrounding it. The other is what will come of the mobilization. We will not know the latter for another couple of months."
Claims were circulated on Thursday that Putin wants to mobilize a million Russians. Saks does not believe it to be true.
"Considering the fact that Russia has failed to recruit and form a single reserve unit so far, arming and preparing for war a million men at once comes off as a Kremlin information operation," he commented.
Saks believes that the information side of things is more important than actual mobilization.
"Let us recall that Russia had completely lost the initiative, tried to reclaim it through military means and utterly failed. The Ukrainian onslaught continued and still does," the expert suggested.
"Now, we have two aspects. One is that Ukraine has the visible initiative, with Russia having lost both the political and military one, and Ukraine dictating the course of the war. The other is that Russian units that are still fighting in Donbas, southern Ukraine, the western bank of the Dnieper, their situation is worsening every day and they're likely out of reserves. If Russia had any reserves, these would have likely been deployed back in August to continue the offensive or counter the Ukrainian one. But there are no reserves," he said.
Saks said that Russia will not be able to amass and quickly train 300,000 men.
He also believes that at least countries that border Russia should deny entry to those Russian men who could be drafted.
Putin also threatened the use of nuclear weapons in his speech. But Saks does not believe the Russian leader plans to use it, at least not until the war spills into Russian territory.
Putin's aim in this war is unchanged. "Putin's goal is to bring Ukraine under control. He has probably realized that he will not achieve that goal with this campaign and will be looking to develop and combine other tactics. He probably realizes it cannot be done in one go. Now, it really is up to other countries not to let him play his game."
The expert said that the Estonian government must demonstrate it can rise to potential threat from Russia. He added that while the OKAS/QUILL 2022 snap reserve training exercise comes at the right time, people should not be made to panic.
"There is no cause for panic if there is no threat. The government's timing for the training exercise is good, while there is no reason to fuel a panic or take any other major action."
Editor: Marcus Turovski