The Russian government is about to pass legislation that could force companies to supply the country’s military and require workers to work overtime in a bid to rebuild an arsenal depleted after nearly five months of war in Ukraine. to rebuild.
As the country mobilizes its factories, it is also recruiting workers to help rebuild the devastated areas where Russia has already claimed victory.
Russia has had some military success in recent weeks with the capture of Lysychansk, putting it now in full control of all of Luhansk, a region of eastern Ukraine partially controlled by Russian-backed separatists prior to the February 24 invasion of Ukraine. . †
But the bloody conquest of Russia has come at a high cost to its own army, both in lives and in equipment.
Open source research finds heavy losses
according to an open source research Analyzing images posted online, Russia has lost thousands of tanks and armored fighting vehicles, which were either destroyed, damaged, abandoned or captured.
“It is starting to show its impact because Russia started the first offensive with a lot of relatively modern tanks, and gradually they have replaced them with equipment that is 30, 40 years old and now even older,” said Jakub Janovsky, who collaborated on a recent open source research.
Janovsky, who lives in the Czech Republic, works in telecommunications. But in his spare time, he logs into his computer and – along with other online researchers – tracks military equipment deployed in Ukraine. They scan social media for images and record the individual devices in a database.
Previously, he did the same with military campaigns in Syria and Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed area internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan.
Janovsky and his colleagues only catalog vehicles and aircraft if they can find images of the individual pieces of equipment, and their recent report noted that actual losses are likely “significantly higher.”
In an interview with CBC News, he said it was “ridiculous” to hear Russian President Vladimir Putin proclaim on July 7th that Russia has not yet seriously “started something” in Ukraine.
“If they continue to lose troops and equipment in Ukraine, there will be no Russian army left,” Janovsky said.
Kremlin emphasizes importance of bills
Given how many of its military vehicles have been destroyed or damaged, Janovsky said it’s not surprising that Russia would want to pass legislation to force factories and workers to produce more equipment.
Two pieces of legislation are making their way through the Russian parliament.
The first account, which would oblige companies to fulfill defense contracts, has passed through both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The other account would make an amendment to the labor law requiring employees to work overtime. It is still awaiting approval of the upstairs apartment. Both pieces of legislation will have to be approved by Putin.
When the bills were submitted, Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said: the importance of its adoption cannot be overstated, as the “collective West is building their military presence on the Russian border.”
Even if the proposed legislation is signed by Putin, Pavel Luzin, an expert on international relations and the country’s military who is based in St. Petersburg, said he is skeptical whether the laws will be enough to restore the military. building or mobilizing the population.
Written in an analysis piece for puzzleAn online publication on political issues in Russia, Luzin predicts it would take a minimum of four years to restore Russia’s armored vehicle capability to where it was before the invasion and 10 years to replenish its stockpile of missiles.
In a press release on July 3, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry claimed it was becoming increasingly difficult for Russia to have tanks and other combat vehicles repaired in factories due to ongoing tensions between the Russian government and factory owners.
Ukraine alleges that business owners have told their employees not to accept the equipment because the factories do not have enough parts to repair the vehicles and they are not paid enough to repair them. CBC News has been unable to verify any of these claims.
In an email to CBC News, Luzin said he believes the new laws, if passed, will not be enough to get all businesses and employees on board.
“Russian society is stressed and demoralized,” he wrote, suggesting that some will not go out of their way to help the Kremlin, even if “it tries to force people to support its aggression.”
Russia recruits workers
As Russia mobilizes industry, it is also recruiting workers to rebuild destroyed Ukrainian cities, such as Mariupol, now under Russian occupation.
Online job postings boast high wages and try to appeal to a sense of patriotism.
One ad, aimed at workers living across Russia, promises that teams will work this fall to “recover” Donetsk and Luhansk — part of the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine — and provide meals, transportation and free overalls are guaranteed.
Another advertisement, translated into English, reads: “Brigades for the recovery of Mariupol” and promises an advance payment of 50,000 rubles ($1,040 Cdn) and another 3,500 rubles ($73 Cdn).
It states that weekly minibuses with workers depart from Rostov-on-Don, in the south of Russia, to the Donbas region.
The city is located about 120 kilometers from the border with Ukraine.
Tatiana Sporisheva, an auditor and activist who lives in Rostov-on-Don, told CBC News that many in the city feel that the war is creeping closer to their communities, and she doesn’t know anyone who would be happy to volunteer for the work.
“It’s very possible that there will probably be people who will start making money. But there will be a minority of such people,” she wrote in a messaging app conversation with CBC News.
Instead, she believes people will be pressured by the authorities to go to eastern Ukraine.
Sporisheva said there has been talk of teachers being recruited to go to the Donbas, and a Russian Telegram channel called “We are together”, translated into English, is promoting student groups and psychologists volunteering in the region.
The channel has posted several photos of Russian teams handing out aid and working in classrooms.
In a post on Monday, the account praised a student group for distributing food packages, including baby food, to Luhansk residents.
At the bottom it says in Russian “#wedontabandonourown” and “#For the President”.