A video of a Russian soldier exposing the Kremlin’s dangerous and rushed deployment of inexperienced troops went viral this week. In the video, the soldier describes how he was conscripted to fight in Ukraine despite having no formal basic training.
? Here’s a video of a Russian soldier who was mobilized recently. He was sent to the “1st tank regiment” (probably 2nd Guards Motor Rifle Division) and says they will be sent to Kherson in 2 days without any basic training. I found his VK and reached out to him. pic.twitter.com/CRH5Ht8OOK
— Mark Krutov (@kromark) September 27, 2022
The video was shared on Twitter by Mark Krutov of Radio Free Europe who found the man’s VK social media account – a popular platform similar to Facebook which is used in Russia – and obtained additional information from him.
The soldier described how he was being sent to the “1st Tank Regiment,” possibly in the 2nd Guards Motor Rifle Division, and said that he expected to be sent to fight in Kherson within the next two days despite not being sent to basic training.
Speaking to the camera in Russian, the soldier seemed to suggest that while he was sent to some form of training, he and the other soldiers were not taught the most basic things about combat, including how to safely use firearms.
“Hi everyone, the first tank regiment is here. We were officially told that there would be no training before we will be sent to the war zone. The regiment’s commanders confirmed this. On September 29, we will be sent to Kherson,” the soldier said.
“Think for yourself, decide for yourself what to do with it in the future. There was no shooting training, no theoretical training, nothing.”
In a long thread, Krutov identifies the barracks where the soldier was briefly held, and described how the division in which the soldier is expected to serve suffered a “heavy defeat” in Izyum during Ukraine’s successful counter-offensive.
“Recipe for Slaughter” in Ukraine
In an opinion piece for the Washington Post, retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling described Putin’s draft, and the lack of training for those being drafted, as a “recipe for slaughter.”
“The call-up is an outrage, but not only for the reasons you might imagine. Sending new recruits, poorly trained Russian reservists and untrained civilians into Ukraine is a recipe for slaughter. They will not be prepared for what they will encounter,” Hertling says in the piece.
While Putin claimed to only be enlisting soldiers in his military’s reserves, many Russians have spoken out in recent days about how people with no military experience are being called to serve in the war. Even those in the reserves are likely to have had no real experience on the battlefield, and those who have would still need the training to ensure their safety on the frontline in Ukraine.
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.