But the Kremlin knows that ordering another mobilization—general or partial—might endanger its authority.
Thus far, the average Russian has shown indifference to the conflict, but another call to arms might upend that.
On day 340th of the war, the stalemate on the ground continues with heavy fighting going on around Bakhmut. The Ukrainian defenses continue to hold, but they are under pressure, especially in the south.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine
Indeed, the new year has been particularly bloody for the Russian forces thus far.
Despite the stalemate on the battlefield, the Russian forces have lost almost 20,000 men killed and wounded in less than four weeks.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Sunday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 126,160 Russian troops (though it is not clear how many wounded).
Military equipment destroyed includes: 293 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 284 attack and transport helicopters, 3,197 tanks, 2,195 artillery pieces, 6,366 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 453 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 5,037 vehicles and fuel tanks, 221 anti-aircraft batteries, 1,947 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 199 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 796 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
The Russian Ministry of Defense has created a reserve of approximately 150,000 troops.
However, it is likely that the Kremlin will have to call up more reservists or resort to other methods of attracting more troops.
Basic Military Training in Schools and Universities
Understanding the potential implications of another mobilization, the Kremlin is looking for ways to bolster its numbers through less direct methods, including reintroducing mandatory basic military into schools.
In the past few weeks, the Russian Ministry of Education has come out with more details on how it plans to incorporate basic military training into Russian secondary schools. Since the fall, the Kremlin has announced its decision to reinstate the Soviet-era military curriculum in Russian schools.
“The module within the ‘Basics of Life Safety’ course will include training with AK series assault rifles and hand grenades, military drill and salutes, and the use of personal protective equipment,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.
Starting from September 1, basic military training will become mandatory in all Russian schools. In addition, the Russian Ministry of Science and Higher Education announced a ‘military training basics’ programme for university students.
“The initiatives highlight the increasingly militarised atmosphere in wartime Russia, as well as being a (likely deliberate) evocation of the Soviet Union: similar training was mandatory in schools up to 1993,” the British Military Intelligence added.
Expert Biography: A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate.