Thursday, June 13, 2024

Putin targets Germans as Russia desperate for more Ukraine cannon fodder

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Vladimir Putin is targeting ethnic Germans living in Russia in a new recruitment drive for his army.

The Kremlin has relied on the covert mobilisation of its ethnic minorities to help boost troop numbers on the battlefield.

Many indigenous men from eastern Siberia and the Buryatia Republic have already been corralled into the ranks of Putin’s army.

The raw recruits are often used as cannon fodder by their callous commanders, and are greatly overrepresented among the casualties relative to their share in Russia‘s population, according to recent analysis.

Now the Kremlin tyrant has his sights set on another ethnic group living in Russia, as he tries to avoid a general mobilisation of the overall population – a move that would come with considerable political risk.

Russia is home to roughly 400,000 “Russlanddeutsche” (Russia-Germans), some of whose ancestors came to the country in the 18th century during Catherine the Great’s reign.

During Soviet times they experienced harsh persecution and many moved to Germany after the collapse of the Communist regimes in Russia and eastern Europe.

A string of organisations claiming to represent the interests of ethnic Germans in Russia have in recent months been bombarding the minority group with war propaganda.

In particular they have targeted youngsters in a cynical move to attract more army recruits.

According to the Daily Telegraph, propaganda pamphlets issued by the Tomsk Regional Russian-German House urge ethnic Germans to donate to the armed forces and attend free pro-war concerts.

The Novosibirsk Regional Russian-German House has also co-hosted pro-invasion summits.

The propaganda material was first disclosed by the Society of Germans of Zaporizhzhia, a group of ethnic Germans living in Ukraine.

In a recent letter to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, they wrote: “We have publicly addressed the ethnic Germans of the Russian Federation, calling on them to refuse to participate in the war against Ukraine.”

The attempt to recruit ethnic Germans appears to be a Kremlin attempt to hit back at Germany and humiliate Chancellor Scholz, whose government is contributing billions of euros in military and humanitarian aid to Kyiv.

The emphasis on recruiting ethnic minorities has been criticised heavily by their representatives living abroad.

US-based Buryat scientist Maria Vyushkova told the Moscow Times: “This is a terrible tragedy that no one is talking about. … In one generation, these nations will simply disappear.”

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