Russian officers get paid less than new recruits

Until recently, Dimitri Mishov was still a lieutenant in a Russian air brigade. The 26-year-old is now an asylum seeker in Latvia because he recently deserted. In an interview with the British BBC he has now leaked details from the Russian army.

Unsurprisingly, most of Putin’s soldiers don’t believe it’s about protecting Russia from a serious threat. “I would serve my country if it was a real threat. But I refused to take part in a crime,” says Mischow. In general, no one in Russia, for all the differences of opinion about Ukraine, would believe the propaganda and the reports of successes in the war or low casualty figures.

Russian officers get paid less than new recruits

Unfair salaries also cause resentment among the soldiers. Mischow mainly reports figures from the Air Force, for which he worked. Experienced Air Force officers would continue to receive the same pay as before the war began: a maximum of 90,000 rubles per month. That’s the equivalent of around 1000 euros.

For new recruits, on the other hand, there would be more than twice as much money. In official recruitment campaigns, they are promised a salary of up to 204,000 rubles, which corresponds to around 2,280 euros. A report of the “Moscow Times” According to the new soldiers should also get bonuses for destroyed or captured enemy equipment. Experienced military personnel do not receive this bonus.

Report: Because of personnel problems, Putin also wants to recruit the sick and disabled

Because there are said to be major problems in recruiting new fighters, Putin is apparently expanding the circle of candidates. In recent months, the Duma has passed a series of laws aimed at “mobilizing as many men as possible”. This is reported by an independent military analyst, citing the Telegram channel “We can explain”, which is part of the “Mozhem Obyasnit” network financed by the Russian opposition leader Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

The approved exemptions also make academics and men with higher educational qualifications available for recruitment. Exceptions for men over 65 and those with disabilities or illnesses have also been abolished, according to the report. There had already been reports about the recruitment of serious criminals for the Wagner group, which the Russian army is now also planning.

Not even a suicide attempt convinced the Russian military to release Mischow

Once recruited, escaping Putin’s military is now impossible. Mischow felt that first hand. His request to be released was not granted in January 2022, just before the war. After the partial mobilization in September, layoffs were impossible anyway.

At the beginning of 2023, Mischow even tried to take his own life, he says in an interview. But even that didn’t convince the commanders to let him go. “If they had caught me, I would have been in prison for a very long time,” the deserter knows. Now he is waiting for a decision as to whether he will be granted asylum in Latvia – the outcome is open.

Jean Harris

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