Reports revealed this week how a 25-year-old Russian male walked into a military enlistment office and shot a Russian military officer at close range. The man, Ruslan Zinin, walked into the office in the Siberian city of Ust-Ilimsk and shot the officer in protest over Vladimir Putin’s mobilization in Ukraine.
“No one will go to fight!” the young man said, according to local media. “We will all go home now,” he also reportedly said.
The shooting comes as the Russian president prepares to deploy as many as 300,000 members of the Russian Armed Forces reserves.
Marina Zinina, the mother of the suspect, told Russian media that her son was “very upset” over the fact that one of his close friends had received a draft summons despite having no military experience.
“They said that there would be partial mobilization, but it turns out that they are taking everyone,” Zinina added, revealing that the Russian president may have been lying when he told the nation last Wednesday that he was not conscripting people with no experience in the military.
Not the Only Attack
According to Russian news outlet Mediazona, there have been many other attacks on Russian military recruitment centers since Putin announced his mobilization last Wednesday.
“Since the beginning of the war in Russia, 54 military commissariats and administrative buildings have been set on fire,” Mediazona posted on Twitter. The post included a map showing where each incident took place, illustrating just how spread out the opposition to Putin’s war in Ukraine is. “17 cases occurred in the last five days after Putin’s announced mobilization,” the post continues.
In Nizhny Novgorod, another young man was detained on Sept. 23 after being accused of setting fire to a military recruitment office. The attacker’s mother told OVF-Info, a Russian human rights group, that her son was later released because of a lack of evidence. He was detained on the street but later returned home in handcuffs, where authorities conducted a search.
“They seized the system unit, Artem’s phone, acetone, white sneakers, a barbecue igniter liquid standing in the entrance, which was used by the entire entrance,” his mother said. “There is a video in the case file where he says goodbye to a friend near the subway that day and begins to move in those same white sneakers and allegedly in the direction of the military recruitment office, but in the same direction and the house.”
Putin faces increasing domestic pressure to end the war. Huge protests took place in dozens of Russian cities in the wake of Putin’s announcement last week, resulting in the arrests of 2,386 people from Sept. 21-26.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.