Russian Conscription

Photo: A Russian POW explains why he went to fight against Ukraine.

Why do Russian people let Putin take them to a battlefield where they know they are going to be slaughtered?

I watch a lot of videos with Russian POWs on YouTube channel of Ukrainian journalist Volodymyr Zolkin[1]


Captured Russia’s soldiers who were forcibly mobilized (after September 21, 2022) say they were told by the conscription office that they would be just stationed away from the front line, and wouldn’t be participating in actual combat. Then they were shipped to the front line and dropped in trenches, and soon thereafter captured by the Ukrainian Armed Forces (the lucky ones who didn’t die under artillery fire).

Many Russian citizens who were involuntarily mobilized tell similar stories:

  • At 5–6 am they got a knock on the door of their apartments. (Some of them were picked at a workplace.)
  • A police officer accompanied by some lady (often a teacher from a nearby school) gave him povestka (demand to arrive at the local military commission), which he had to sign for.
  • After that he was told to dress up and come with them to the office of the military commission immediately; told that he just needed to answer some questions.
  • After arrival to the military commission, he wasn’t allowed to leave and was told he would be fully provided with all necessities and wouldn’t need anything else from home.
  • After that, he would be shipped to army barracks, along with other conscripts.
  • In the barracks (sometimes conscripts were dropped in an open field and required to sleep in tents) some minimal training with rusty machine guns might have been provided (or not).

The next stop for conscripts – front lines in Ukraine.

(Half of the conscripts did receive 2–3 months of training and were shipped to the front months later. Unlucky ones were sent into trenches practically immediately.)

Add to that constant brazen anti-Ukrainian propaganda on Russian TV and throughout all types of media, painting Ukrainians as followers of Satan (yes, seriously).

Russian citizens who didn’t make a conscious effort to find alternative sources of information and believe Russian propaganda believe that it’s Ukraine that was going to attack and destroy Russia, and if not for the brave Russia’s army, Russian cities would be bombed and destroyed (yes, seriously).

Caught between the lies by Russian propaganda and conscription offices needing to deliver thousands of recruits, law-abiding Russian males follow orders of the state and in no time find themselves cold and hungry in trenches with no way out.

Hundreds of thousands of Russian men who understand what’s happening in Ukraine, got out of the country or went into hiding, staying away from conscription offices and anyone who looks official. Only to Georgia had more than 700,000 Russians arrived since 24 February 2022; 100,000 of them stayed; others proceeded further to other countries.



Volodymyr Zolkin




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