I remember Margarita Simonyan, the head of Russian State Media and propagandist, saying some time ago that all Russians must start working in ammunition factories for a few hours every day. With so much manpower available at Putin’s fingertips, they want more hands in the ammunition factories, and now they want everyone to go to the frontlines.
Russia never had unlimited manpower to begin with.
In fact, no country in the world can have it. It was just a trick some Putin supporters want to throw around to position Russia as invincible. So, let us slowly unravel the unlimited manpower myth.
In 2020, Russia had a population of 145.61 million people.
Vladimir Putin will not dare to touch the 19 million people who live in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Most of them are Russians, educated, and with a higher standard of living. One sizable protest is all it will take to shake up the Russian tinderbox.
They took like whole villages during the draft in September [from places] where people who really have no habits of defending their rights. They have no access to free information and so on. So once Putin continues drafting and it spills over into cities, this is actually where protest will be mounting…Putin knows this,” Vladimir Milov, a former Russian deputy energy minister-turned-vice president for international advocacy at the Free Russia Foundation, said at a March event in Washington, D.C. “Putin does not have unlimited manpower. Among the population that might be more compliant with mobilization orders, the best candidates have already been scooped up or are dodging service.” In September, they “mobilized nearly everybody who was worthy in terms of military skill," he said.