Putin Mandates New Conscripts; Prigozhin's Son and Troshev Restore Wagner
New Fighters Join Russia on the Ukraine Front
Russian leader Vladimir Putin issued a decree at the end of September compelling new soldiers to join the Russian military in the Ukraine war effort. Putin's routine conscription roll out calls for a new 130,000 civilians to "contribute" to the war effort. The last routine campaign in the spring called up 147,000 Russian civilians to join the cause.
As Putin has braced for a longer war effort in Ukraine, the Russian parliament voted to raise the draft age from the maximum age of 27 to 30. The new legislation raising the age limit of conscripts will go into effect in January 2024, Reuters reported. The effort to increase the number of conscripts has carried over from last year, when Russia reportedly increased the conscriptions by 30%, in an ambitious effort to undercut its massive but "undisclosed" casualties on the Ukraine front, The Guardian wrote.
As the conscription efforts roll out, Russia has repurposed the role of the formerly mutinous Wagner PMC, and has sent "several hundred" Wagner fighters back to Ukraine.
The fate of Wagner PMC had until the return of troops to the Ukraine effort, been unclear, though analysts anticipate the son of the late PMC mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, 25-year-old Pavel Prighozin, will be placed in command. The younger Prigozhin has been in talks with Russian authorities to return with Wagner to the fighting line, where he is expected to have a strong influence.
As the younger Prigozhin talks with Russian military leadership, analysts anticipate that the PMC group will be restored, under the new influence of Russian defense Andrey Troshev, the former Wagner commander, as an integral assistant organization of Russia's continued push. Troshev has reportedly been tasked with taking charge of volunteer units at the front.
At present, all men in Russia between ages 18 and 27 have been required to serve in Russia's military for a year of service, or are required to have a year of training while enrolled in higher education, US News wrote.
In early September, media outlets obtained phone calls from inside the ranks of the Russian military that highlight the waning morale of Russia's troops. Soldiers grow weary of the war, and their anger escalates over "medical crisis" level casualties. Data from the Associated Press in the summer revealed that Moscow had been "hiding" the true toll of deaths on the warfront.
Western media has also criticized Putin's protracted war effort against Ukraine, calling out the Russian leader's "miscalculations" that have gone into Putin's drawn out and "costly" conflict on Ukraine's territory. Western media analysts also noted that, to retain power, Putin has built "coup-proofing" into his government that has "undermined" the war Ukraine, by curbing the military forces that he relies on to carry out the ongoing campaign.
As Putin commits to the long-game, his war effort is kept alive by "surging" trade with China, and weapons purchases from North Korea. In late September, analysts with CNBC noted that China's firms play an "increasingly critical role" in supplementing the Russian war effort.