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One out of two gets a rifle, one without follows him
The one with the rifle shoots
When the one with the rifle gets killed
The one who is following picks up the rifle and shoots

Volunteer Battalions / Dobrovolcheskij Batalon

The so-called "Volunteer Battalions" unveiled in early July 2022 demonstrate the desperation of the Putin government's frantic efforts to salvage the Ukrainian mis-adventure. Putin cannot implement the establilhsed procedure of mobilizing the reserves, two million strong, given a well founded fear of angering the mothers and wives of Russia, whose intolerance of zinc boxes [body bags with Russian characteristics] brought an end to the mis-advanture in Afghanistan, and in no small measure the end of the Soviet Union. This is in marked contrast to the American experience, where trained reserve forces have been effortlessly mobilized, and served with distinction. But Putin is left to pluck small numbers of inexperienced troops from various improvised sources to try to make good Russia's losses at the front. According to The Institute for the Study of War, the new #Russian large-scale drive to form volunteer battalions will allow only 30 days of training and thus will not produce combat-ready soldiers. Poorly trained and ill-equiped, these troops are little more than cannon fodder for Ukraine's hungry guns.

Under the voluntary mobilization in Russia, each subject of the federation forms units and sends them to the front. The Kremlin ordered the 85 “federal subjects” (regions, including occupied Sevastopol and Crimea) to recruit and financially incentivize volunteers to form new battalion, each with over 400 servicemen. The total levy would consiste of about 35,000 troops. The Kremlin ordered the Russian regions to form volunteer battalions to participate in the Russian invasion of Ukraine instead of declaring partial or full mobilization in Russia.

The Ukrainian mass media vied with each other to publish articles about the training of volunteer units in Russia. The piquancy of the situation lies in the fact that,according to Ukrainian journalists, these battalions will be brought into battle in August - exactly when the large-scale counteroffensive widely announced by the Kyiv nationalist regime should begin.

On July 7, 2022, four and a half months after the start of the special operation in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin puzzled many with a seemingly mysterious phrase: “Everyone should know that, by and large, we have not started anything seriously yet. At the same time, we do not refuse peace negotiations either. But those who refuse should know that the further, the more difficult it will be for them to negotiate with us.” The world immediately began to wonder about what the leader of Russia had in mind? But there were no public explanations from the Kremlin. However, some events of recent days give grounds for serious assumptions.

The capabilities of the backbone of the Russian Ground Forces, the total number of which does not exceed 280 thousand soldiers and officers, have long been at the limit. Especially considering the boundlessness of Russian state borders, everywhere was in need of defensive cover. In a number of regions, the territorial divisions of the Voluntary Society for Assistance to the Army, Aviation and Navy (DOSAAF) became the structure that took on the role of organizer, which, in essence, are a kind of revived forge of personnel for the armed forces.

Around the beginning of June 2022, the Ministry of Defense and regions throughout the vast country were instructed, with the help of local authorities, to begin the immediate creation, training and arming of dozens of volunteer battalions. Probably, no later than August, most of the newly created volunteer battalions, which have undergone training and combat coordination at our rear ranges, will already enter the battle.

For such work, Moscow allocated substantial material and financial resources. On completely official announcements for the recruitment of volunteers, published on the websites of local administrations, the following general conditions for all regions stand out for their attractiveness:

  • citizens aged 20 to 50 (and up to 60 for certain military specialties) who are fit for health reasons are invited to the battalions. The term of the contract is from six months with the possibility of extension. At the same time, military service experience is welcomed, but not required;
  • at the conclusion of the contract, each volunteer is immediately paid 200,000 rubles [about $3,500] of a one-time monetary reward;
  • monetary allowance will be from 220 thousand to 350 thousand rubles per month [about $3,900 to $6,100] ;
  • a full social package is provided, including for family members, additional insurance payments - life and health insurance, out-of-competition admission to a university and spa treatment. In addition, members of the battalion will receive the status of a combat veteran.

To compare: the average level of payment for an ordinary military professional in the army today is somewhere around 62,000 rubles [about $1,100]. In volunteer battalions, it turns out three to five times more. Not to dissemble: this is a serious worldly argument.

As a result, for instance, the Nizhny Novgorod region, where the average salary in April 2022 year was 44,097 rubles [about $775], at a surprisingly rapid pace, is forming a volunteer tank battalion named after Kuzma Minin for the Ministry of Defense. At the same time, it is likely that the battalion will receive old, but reliable tanks of the T-62 type, removed from storage, of which Russia has thousands.

All formed detachments (battalions) are associated with specific military units, where they undergo combat training, restoring their previously acquired skills or acquiring new military specialties. For example, under the auspices of DOSAAF, the Tiger battalion is being formed in Primorsky Krai. This is being coordinated at the base of the Marine Corps brigade, which has been performing combat missions from the very beginning of the special operation of the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine. Among those who wish to join, mostly are men 50-60 years old.

Volunteers who came to the "Tiger" receive all the necessary military equipment. Before being sent to Ukraine, they will undergo a month-long training at the Bamburovo and Gornostai military training grounds. In addition, the regional authorities and local volunteers provided the detachment with various modern means, including thermal imaging observation and shooting devices, quadrocopters, portable power plants, chainsaws, and small household items. It is known that the governor of the region, Oleg Kozhemyako, visited the location of the fighting brigade of marines in the Donbass several times, and he approached the issue of forming the Tiger detachment very scrupulously.

The Totsky training ground in the Orenburg region accepted the volunteer motorized rifle battalion "Yaik", which has just been formed in this region, received weapons and began combat coordination. On July 9, on the territory of the Kazan Tank School, the volunteer battalion "Alga" created by Tatarstan was conducted for combat training before leaving for the special operation zone. From there, the second such volunteer battalion, Temir, will also come from.

Local media report the formation of two volunteer battalions - "Parma" and "Hammer" - in the Perm region. In Bashkiria , the creation of a motorized rifle battalion named after Minigali Shaimuratov is being completed . The battalion of volunteers "Vyatka" is going to the front in Kirov.

In the Primorsky Territory, they began to form a volunteer battalion "Tiger" to participate in a special operation in Ukraine on the basis of a marine brigade. The government of the region announced this on Telegram. “There is a month of fire and tactical training ahead. Some of the volunteers have combat experience and share with their comrades. The main principle of formation is that the battalion will consist only of fellow countrymen and will go in support of our Primorsky 155th Guards Marine Brigade,” the message said.

By some estimates these volunteer batallaions will increase the total number of Russian Battallion Tactical Groups in Ukraine at least one and a half times. But this estimate has an extra zero in it. An increae of 35,000 troops could amount to a bit more than 40 BTGs' recognizing that a BTG typically had about 800 troops. The introduction of the volunteer battalions to a certain extent will allow for the regrouping of forces on the eve of the announced August battle, as well as to restore the combat capability of a number of units, which bore the main burden of the battle for Donbass.

Deputy Director of the Center for the Army, Conversion and Disarmament Mikhail Samus, believes that the formation of "volunteer battalions" in the national republics of the Russian Federation to participate in the Russian invasion of Ukraine may end unexpectedly for the Kremlin. “These battalions can deploy weapons. They can say that we are being used as cannon fodder,” he stressed.

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Page last modified: 27-03-2023 18:06:30 ZULU