The Russian government is poised to enact legislation that could force companies to supply the country’s military and require employees to work overtime in an effort to help rebuild an arsenal that has been depleted after nearly five months of war. in Ukraine.
While the country mobilizes its factories, a round of recruitment is also underway for workers who can help rebuild the devastated areas where Russia has claimed victory.
Russia has seen some military successes in recent weeks with its capture of Lysychansk, which has now given it full control of all of Luhansk, an area in eastern Ukraine that has been controlled. partly by Russian-backed separatists prior to the invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.
But the bloody conquest of Russia had to pay a heavy price for the country’s army, both in terms of life and equipment.
Open source investigation uncovers heavy losses
According to a open source investigation Analyzing images posted online, Russia has lost thousands of tanks and armored fighting vehicles, destroyed, damaged, abandoned or captured.
“It’s starting to show its impact because Russia started the initial offensive with a lot of relatively modern tanks, and gradually they replaced them with new equipment,” said Jakub Janovsky, a collaborator on the same team. The device is 30, 40 years old and even older.” a recent open source investigation.
Janovsky, lives in the Czech Republic, works in telecommunications. But in his spare time, he logs onto his computer and – along with other online investigators – tracks military equipment deployed in Ukraine. They scan social media for images and record individual pieces of equipment in a database.
Before that, he did the same with military campaigns in Syria and Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan.
Janovsky and his colleagues only list vehicles and aircraft if they can find images of individual pieces of equipment, and their recent report notes that actual damage could be “higher than significantly”.
In an interview with CBC News, he said it was “ridiculous” to hear about Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on 7/7 that Russia has yet to “start anything” seriously in Ukraine.
“If they continue to lose troops and equipment in Ukraine, there will be no Russian troops there,” Janovsky said.
The Kremlin emphasizes the importance of bills
Given the number of their military vehicles that have been destroyed or damaged, Janovsky said it’s not surprising that Russia wants to pass legislation forcing factories and workers to produce more equipment.
Two pieces of legislation are being passed the Russian parliament.
First bill, which requires companies to fulfill defense contracts, passed both the lower house and the upper house. The other bills will make a change to the labor code requiring employees to work overtime. It is still awaiting Senate approval. Both laws will have to be approved by Putin.
When the bills were introduced, Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov said The importance of their application cannot be overstated considering that “the West is collectively building up its military presence on Russia’s borders.”
Even if the proposed law is signed by Putin into law, Pavel Luzin, an expert on international relations and the country’s military based in Saint Petersburg, said he remains skeptical that the law will be enough to build army or mobilize the population.
In an analysis written for Riddlean online publication on political issues in Russia, Luzin predicts that it will take a minimum of 4 years to restore Russian armored vehicle capabilities to their pre-invasion position and 10 years to replenish the missile stockpile. .
In one Press Release On July 3, the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine announced that it is becoming increasingly difficult for Russia to repair tanks and other combat vehicles at the factories due to the constant tension between the Russian government and the plant owners. .
Ukraine claims that business owners have asked their employees not to pick up equipment because factories do not have enough parts to repair vehicles and they are not being paid enough to repair them. CBC News has been unable to verify any of these claims.
In an email to CBC News, Luzin said he believes that if enacted, the new laws will not be enough to bring in all businesses and workers.
“Russian society is tense and demoralized, suggesting that some will not try to help the Kremlin even if ‘they try to force people to support their aggression’,” he wrote.
Russia recruits workers
While Russia is mobilizing industry, it is also recruiting workers to rebuild devastated Ukrainian cities, such as Mariupol, which is currently occupied by Russia.
Online job postings boast high salaries and try to appeal to patriotism.
An ad, aimed at workers living across Russia, promises that teams will work to “restore” Donetsk and Luhansk – part of the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine – this fall and secure the Free meals, transportation and overalls.
Another advertisement, when translated into English, reads: “Mariupol Recovery Teams” and promises an advance payment of 50,000 rubles (Cdn 1,040) and an additional 3,500 rubles (Cdn 73).
It says that minibuses carrying workers departing from Rostov-on-Don, southern Russia, will arrive every week in the Donbas region.
The city is located about 120 km from the Ukrainian border.
Tatiana Sporisheva, an auditor and activist living in Rostov-on-Don, told CBC News that many in the city feel war is coming closer to their communities and she doesn’t know anyone. want to apply for a job.
“Most likely there will be people going to make money. But there will be a small number of such people,” she wrote in a chat on a messaging app with CBC News.
Instead, she believes people will be pressured by the authorities to come to eastern Ukraine.
Sporisheva said there was talk about teachers being recruited to go to Donbas and a Russian Telegram channel called “We Are Together”, translated into English, promoting student groups and psychologists. volunteer psychology in the region.
The channel posted several photos of Russian teams distributing aid and working in classrooms.
In a post on Monday, the account praised a group of students for handing out food packages, including baby food, to people in Luhansk.
At the bottom, the post reads “#wedontabandonourown” and “# For the President” in Russian.