In addition to the Defense Ministry, Russian private military companies such as businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner Group are also recruiting volunteers. The offered salary of the equivalent of well over 2000 euros is many times higher than the average income in Russia. According to official figures, more than 100,000 Russians have signed up for military service in recent months as part of a Defense Ministry advertising campaign, about a quarter of the planned number. Under the slogan “Together to victory”, the ministry is now hoping for more people. Tens of thousands have already been killed in the war.
In Russia, meanwhile, public criticism of its own conduct of the war is growing because Moscow’s troops have not been able to show any military successes against the resistance of the Ukrainian armed forces. At a conference on “What Ukraine do we need?”, the prominent member of parliament Konstantin Zatulin from the ruling party United Russia lamented failures and mistakes on the part of Moscow.
The “special military operation” should have been called a “war” right from the start, said Zatulin. It was not just a misjudgment that the war could be won within a few days; not a single war aim set out by the Kremlin had been achieved. Neither demilitarization nor neutrality nor better protection of the people in Donbass had been achieved. “In which of the points did we achieve a result? Not in one,” said Zatulin.
Such statements by MPs are unusual. However, Zatulin is on the Kremlin line in that he supports the war. The deputy also said yes to the question of whether Ukraine will survive as a state. “Because our forces are not sufficient to prevent that – with such support that she is receiving,” he said, referring to Western aid to Ukraine.