Putin Alarmingly Urges Russian Officials To 'Mobilise' But Does Not Really Explain Why

<span class="copyright">MIKHAIL METZEL via Getty Images</span>
MIKHAIL METZEL via Getty Images

Vladimir Putin has called for all Russian officials to “mobilise” in an alarming rant about the country being in a “historical stage”.

At a meeting of the Council for Strategic Development and National Projects, the president did not actually mention the Ukraine war – which is putting a huge strain on Russia’s resources directly – but he did seem to allude to it.

He said: “I do not want to overdo it, but I ask you to draw your attention to this: we are all aware – at least everyone must be aware – of what time we live in and what historical stage Russia is going through.

“And as long as we all realise this, then everyone, everyone, must work as if on the frontline, everyone must feel mobilised, and it is the only way that we will achieve the goals we have set for ourselves.”

According to a translation from state-owned Russian news agency TASS, Putin told the Russians on Wednesday that “it cannot be done in a different way” in the current conditions.

He called for the “close cooperation of all government bodies” because “our work will depend” on their working efficiently.

Putin added: “Only then we will achieve the goals we have set for ourselves, as I have already said, and which the country needs.”

He suggested he hoped this “work” would be concluded in “the coming months and coming years”.

He did not specify exactly what the “historical stage” Russia is going through, but it most likely does relate to the war which is having a profound impact on the country.

Moscow very rarely refers to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine as a “war”, and instead uses the mysterious phrase “special military operation”.

As the US think tank, the Atlantic Council, noted that Moscow has “expended almost 90% of its prewar troops” since the war began, which is “unimaginable loss” for a country claiming to be so powerful.

Declassified intelligence shared with the US Congress found 315,000 Russian troops had been killed or wounded in Ukraine as of December last year.

But efforts to mobilise the masses have not gone well in the past.

Russia experienced significant backlash in September 2022 when it rolled out partial mobilisation and called 300,000 reservists to the fight on the frontline.

The biggest conscription drive since World War Two prompted protest chants of “send Putin to the trenches”, an uptick in demand for plane tickets as draft-age men tried to leave the country and almost 1,200 arrests across Russia.

Still, in March this year, Putin called for 150,000 more citizens to sign up to statutory military service.

The mass exodus of Western firms from Russia after the invasion and the shrinking IT sector has also resulted in “brain drain”, according to the think tank.

Meanwhile, Western sanctions have resulted in an estimated $47.3 billion (£37.19 billion) worth of lost Russian oil revenues so far.

Putin’s plea for more work from his top officials comes days after he purged many of the top figures leading the war effort.