Researcher: Russians obey Putin's mobilization order but motivation is low

Igor Gretski.
Igor Gretski. Source: ERR

Russians are obeying the order to mobilize but motivation is "exceptionally low", researcher Igor Gretski said on Friday. Estonian security experts said the order still needs to be taken seriously.

"If the state says you have to fight, many prefer to obey orders and go and fight. But their motivation is extremely low," said Gretski, a visiting researcher at Tallinn's International Center for Defense and Security.

Little is known about the extent of the mobilization which was announced by President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday and initially suggested 300,000 reservists would be called up.

However, videos posted to social media appear to show the policy is wider than initially anticipated. Men without military experience have also reportedly been handed draft notices.

Gretski said Putin is using propaganda to lure people into the war by saying Russians must defend their homeland, including territory seized from Ukraine in recent months. But this is unlikely to work.

"This is the Russian Army's biggest problem. Their motivation is low, most people do not understand the reason why they must fight against Ukraine," he told Friday's "Aktuaalne kaamera".

At a press conference earlier in the day, Ministry of Defense General Secretary Kusti Salm told reporters a long war should be expected because Russia has escalated the situation.

"Escalation is not only mobilization. Escalation is also talk of referendums and annexation. Escalation is also introducing nuclear [weapons] rhetoric," he said.

"This is an attempt to show the West that they are ready to raise the temperature, if necessary to boiling point, plus also that there is also an alternative to a ceasefire."

If this happened it would be tantamount to selling out Ukraine and its people, Salm said.

MP and reservist Colonel Leo Kunnas (EKRE) echoed others saying Russia's mobilization is a sign of defeat. But he does not believe leaders should underestimate Russia.

"It is worth taking seriously, and, in this sense, it is a threat to all the countries neighboring Russia," he said.

Mobilization will cover previous losses but will not, at the moment at least, lead to the creation of new units, Kunnas said. However, these could be formed in the spring.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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