Mutinies in the Russian army

“It isn’t a question of how a chaotic and rebellious civilian populace can out-gun the well-organized, disciplined armies of the capitalist state in pitched battle, but of how a mass movement can cripple the effective fighting capacity of the military from within, and bring about the collapse and dispersal of the state’s armed forces.”

– Harass the Brass

In all wars, sooner or later desertion tendencies, sabotage of various kinds and mutinies by the rank and file appear. The motivations of those who take part in these activities can be varied and sometimes quite contradictory. In any case, it is always an important contribution to the subversion of the armed forces of the State, which weakens the army’s ability to wage war.

Despite the pro-regime and pro-war propaganda, information is spreading about the poor combat morale of soldiers in the Russian army. Soldiers refuse to follow orders, desert and organize mutinies.

In the Ulyanovsk region, for example, more than 100 mobilized men mutinied on November 2nd, 2022. The revolt at the training center was reported by the opposition news channel Serditaya Chuvashia (Angry Chuvashia), according to which more than 100 mobilized soldiers refused to leave for Ukraine.

“We refuse to take part in the special military operation and will fight for justice until we get the money promised by our government led by the Russian president! […] Why should we fight for this State and leave our families without support?” There are also more prosaic statements along the lines of “We’ve been fucked”.

The revolt was put down by OMON riot police and National Guard troops, directly subordinated to President Putin. Some soldiers were arrested by military police. All armories on the site were also sealed. All those detained during the rebellion were reportedly released without charge and the entire unit was allowed to return home for two days.

Another mutiny of mobilized men occurred in Kazan. The mobilized at the training base protested about the conditions they have to stand. They were given rusty automatic rifles, no water or food but they at least got some firewood. An officer came to negotiate with the soldiers. However, he quickly fled because of threats of violence.

A letter was also leaked in which the Russian Marines accused Vladimir Putin of leading them to the massacre. They accused Putin of treating them like “meat” and they blamed generals of using them as “cannon fodder”. The demoralized soldiers also claim that commanders are covering up the chaos in Donetsk and downplaying the number of casualties for fear of being held accountable.

The letter appeared as a mutiny broke out in the Russian armed forces, during which 2,000 conscripts surrounded General Kirill Kulakov and angrily shouted at him “Get out of here!”, “Shame on you” and “Down with [Putin’s] regime!”.

At one point during the revolt, the commander was heard saying, “I am answering your questions…”. But one of the enraged conscripts shouted: “Fucking general, you know where you’re sending us.”

One of the mutinies by Russian soldiers even resulted in the death of a colonel who was allegedly deliberately run over by a tank driven by his own subordinates. The incident is reported by Politico and other media. According to these sources, Russian Colonel Yuri Medvedev died in a Belarusian hospital after being the victim of a mutiny of his own subordinates. According to Politico, the Russian soldiers had run out of patience with the commander who had driven them to death.

Despite the proliferation of mutinies, Russian soldiers continue to be stereotyped by many as fanatical supporters of the Putin regime. This is a huge problem that needs to be addressed. Although information is leaking out about soldiers who refuse to obey, few resources go into networking or into practical support for desertions, sabotages and mutinies. If there are countless initiatives to support civilian refugees, there should be also enough of those who would provide support for army mutineers.