‘I’ll break my arm, my leg, or anything to avoid being drafted’: who are the reservists Putin wants to send to war

  • Olesya Gerasimenko and Liza Fokht
  • BBC News Russia

Man being detained by police

Credit, Getty Images

photo caption,

Some of the anti-war protesters who took to the streets on Wednesday (21/9) received military documents

For many Russians, the government’s decision to call up 300,000 military reservists to fight in Ukraine came as a shock.

In the big cities, Russia’s war against the neighboring country has always seemed something far away. But as soon as President Vladimir Putin’s most recent speech ended, it hit many people’s homes. Being sent into combat was closer than anyone could have imagined.

All of a sudden, the chats and text exchanges erupted with anxious discussions about what would happen next. Plans were made on how to avoid being sent to the front lines.

“It was like an 1980s sci-fi movie. A little scary, to be honest with you,” says Dmitry, 28, who works in an office in the city of St. Petersburg. Employees couldn’t start the workday, glued to the speech on TV, computer and cell phone screens.

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