A series of mysterious fires in Russian recruitment centers reveals what the Kremlin is keeping hidden. First: not all citizens of the Federation are enthusiastic about the Spring conscription (from April 1st to mid-July) which will send 135,000 young people into the hands of the conscript army. Second: a secret mobilization is underway in Russia, which does not need an official declaration of “total war on Ukraine” by Putin to get going.

We need to connect a few points of the news to follow this story. Let’s start with the last one. Six days ago in Nizhnevartovsk, western Siberia, two men threw seven Molotov cocktails at the window of the draft office, setting it on fire. The “Nizhnevartovsk incident” is the sixth that has happened since Putin decided to invade Ukraine. Five other military offices were burned in various corners of the country, in particular in the Mordovia, Voronezh, Sverdlovsk, Ivanovo and Lukhovitsy regions. Episodes of which there are very few details, reported by independent media and which instead did not have prominence on government-controlled TVs. Three more fires broke out in conscription centers before the attack on Ukraine.

The last coincides temporally with the days in which the indiscretion that Putin, during the speech at the parade on the Red Square on May 9 for the anniversary of the victory against Nazi Germany, would have announced the war on Ukraine ( so far, denying the obvious, he has always spoken only of “special operation”) with the consequence of general mobilization. But other points tell us that he does not need it, because in a certain way the mobilization is already underway.

The news site verstka.media publishes the testimony of a woman, the wife of an employee of the Moscow metro, who talks about a strange meeting with the executives in which her husband was forced to attend. Strange to start with the location: a train depot. “In the meeting, verbally and without double entender, all employees were ordered to undergo an extraordinary medical examination for a possible dispatch to war in Ukraine. His superiors referred to unspecified decrees of the authorities of the city of Moscow,” of the Ministry of Defense and the government. Those documents were not shown, no one signed anything. But they told my husband that the management had been obliged to allocate a certain number of “volunteers” to the possible call to fight. ” Adding a detail of no small importance. “They have been threatened with dismissal if they refuse.”

Even in the self-proclaimed People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk and in the Crimea, there is evidence of a hidden mobilization, alongside the “official” one. Shortly before February 24, cars were circulating in the busy Donbass with loudspeakers mounted on the roof with a croaking voice: “Defending the homeland is the sacred duty of every man.” The two heads of the republics have issued decrees for general mobilization, stating that companies should send 50% of their male employees of conscription age to military registration and enlistment offices. The managers of these companies – people who have nothing to do with the military – had to decide for themselves who was eligible for mobilization and who was not. Almost immediately, there were reports of men being captured on the street, taken away from work and from home.

The Kremlin is silent. It is official, as mentioned, that the spring conscription began in Russia on 1 April. Defense Minister Sergej Shoigu has promised that the conscripts will not be sent “to hot spots”. They don’t have to be happy, though. A Putin spokesman said weeks ago that Russia would not send conscripts to Ukraine. Except later to discover that some had been taken prisoner near Kiev. Yet another clumsy lie.