Russian Army launches campaign encouraging men to join BBC

Russian Army launches campaign encouraging men to join – BBC

  • By Vitaly Shevchenko
  • BBC surveillance

April 21, 2023 at 8:32 p.m. CET

Updated 29 minutes ago

Image source, Russian Ministry of Defense

picture description,

“You’re a man. Be a man,” says a Defense Ministry ad urging Russians to join the army

Apparently, a wide-ranging advertising campaign was launched in Russia, urging citizens to join the military.

It comes as Russian forces have reportedly suffered heavy casualties and are struggling to make headway more than a year after invading Ukraine.

The Defense Ministry in Moscow released a video appealing to Russians to give up their civilian jobs in favor of a military contract.

The video shows a supermarket attendant, a fitness trainer and a taxi driver – all clearly disillusioned with civilian life and finding fulfillment after joining the army.

The video promises a monthly salary of at least 204,000 rubles ($2,500; £2,000), four times the Russian average.

Ukrainian propagandists quickly subverted and produced the ad an edited version with changed wording. The characters in the video are now against infanticide and decapitation and “do not want to be held responsible for it [President Vladimir] Putin’s War Crimes”.

While the Russian version says “be a man,” the Ukrainian video replies “be a person” — so don’t commit atrocities.

Image source, Soloviev Live TV

picture description,

A TV show hosted by prominent pro-Kremlin commentator Vladimir Soloviev is promoting contract services

The Russian video is part of a wider campaign that was widely broadcast on state television and also featured in the press.

The media campaign ran parallel to army advertisements on Russia’s streets.

“It’s impossible to underestimate the pervasiveness of this army recruitment campaign,” he said a Twitter user in the Russian capital.

“It has completely taken over Moscow and you can hardly go two minutes without seeing another poster.”

What the ad doesn’t say

The recruitment campaign was probably triggered by the Russian military’s urgent need for new soldiers after more than a year of fighting in Ukraine.

In September 2022, President Vladimir Putin announced a “partial mobilization” aimed at recruiting new soldiers, regardless of whether they wanted to join the army, and led to a decline in his popularity.

This time the authorities in Moscow seem intent on avoiding an open declaration of mobilization.

“The Kremlin is not talking about a new wave of mobilization,” Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on April 21.

He was responding to a question about reports that students in the Russian capital have started receiving draft papers.

According to a September 2022 decree by President Putin, those who enlist cannot leave the army until the war – officially known in Russia as a “military special operation” – is over.