- Vladimir Putin announced that citizens would be mobilized to fight in the war against Ukraine.
- Viral videos show men saying goodbye to their families and others fighting with officers.
- Some Russians have fled the country, while others protested the mobilization order.
After Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that 300,000 reservists would be ordered to fight in the country’s war against Ukraine, a wave of videos began circulating on social media showing scenes of conscription. The videos show families crying, children crying out for their conscript fathers, groups of men mingling on buses and citizens arguing with authorities.
One of the most shared videos, posted by Pjotr Sauer, journalist for The Guardian which credited Siberian news outlet Tayga with the footage, shows a cluster of men in heavy jackets carrying bags into a bus. The men can be seen hugging others who appear to be family members, including a child who is pushed up to the window of the bus to say goodbye.
—Pjotr Sauer (@PjotrSauer) 22 September 2022
The clip was taken on Thursday morning in Yakutsk, a Russian city in eastern Siberia, the post says. An activist from Yakutsk told New York Times that the authorities lifted soldiers out of villages by plane.
IN another videoshared by The Telegraph, a Russian man described how he was given a draft notice despite being a student and told by an officer that he had to leave so quickly that his mother might not be in able to get off work in time to see him off.
A video with nearly two million views appears show local citizens in the Dagestan region argue with a recruiter who urged the people that they have to fight for the future, according to a Belarusian journalist who shared the clip on Twitter. In response, one man reportedly said “We don’t even have a present, what future are you talking about.”
—Tadeusz Giczan (@TadeuszGiczan) 22 September 2022
Insider has also previously reported on a viral video that showed a child wailing and crying, “Daddy, goodbye, please come back!” which a group of men could be seen loading into a bus. The video was originally shared by the BBC’s Will Vernon, who said the video’s legitimacy had been verified.
—Patrick Reevell (@Reevellp) 23 September 2022
The videos began spilling out and spreading on social media after Putin’s announcement of conscription on Wednesday, resulting in widespread tension as many sought to leave the country while mass protests erupted in specific cities and regions.
Despite Putin calling it a “partial mobilization” of citizens, the president told a local activist group The Guardian that it was a “100% mobilization”, with some people outside the expected combat-experienced ranks of soldiers receiving notices. Russia has reportedly appointed students with no military history, and a 62-year-old man with a brain disease and second-degree diabetes.
The mobilization has also led to Russians trying to flee the country to avoid being drawn into the war, This was reported by the BBC on Friday, with long lines at border crossings and officials in neighboring countries addressing the potential for Russian citizens seeking refuge. The Kremlin denied that the citizens were trying to flee.
Russia’s military has suffered losses over the past month as a significant counteroffensive by Ukrainian forces retook large swaths of occupied territory from Russian forces in the country’s northeast.