Consensus analysis (for November 21-27, 2022)

Russia is preparing for another wave of mobilization.

Mobilization has remained the main topic in the media and in Russian domestic discourse over this past week. The peculiarity is that in both national and local media, the topic of partial mobilization is mostly presented in the form of stories about numerous extraordinary events mobilized soldiers experience even before they are deployed to the front. Concurrently, the official mass media strives to omit out-of-bounds messages about the de facto extension of the partial mobilization across the country.

It also seems that there is an obvious attempt by the Kremlin to test reports about the possible future wave of larger scale mobilization in the coming months; with a parallel optimistic prognosis for the offensive operations in Donbas. The official media explains these changes in the sense that partial mobilization is a recipe for modifying the situation at the front that allows Russia not only to stand in readiness to combat Ukraine, but with all of NATO.

The delay in announcing the next wave of mobilization can be explained by the current inability of the Russian authorities to create sufficient motivation in a wider circle of potential conscripts for voluntary mobilization. Another consideration to be taken into account is the obstacles Russia encountered in securing sufficient numbers of qualified recruitees during the initial phase of mobilisation, along with their high losses during hostilities. The Russian motivation to protect "new subjects of the Russian Federation", as shown by the very reluctant reaction of the population to the retreat from Kherson, is obviously not sufficient. We can expect more attempts in the coming weeks to find similar motives for training conscripts for new waves of mobilization already using the threat to the "old" subjects of the Russian Federation, such as the "attack of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on Belgorod Oblast, which is being prepared."

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