We think we found another reason why Russian troops are unmotivated to fight in Ukraine. It seems that Russia is fighting a war on multiple fronts, one with Ukraine, another with dissenters and protesters in their own country, and another one with their own soldiers. A report by Russian but Latvia-based news site Meduza has stated that Russian contract soldiers are being threatened with criminal charges so that they cannot leave the battlefield.

That’s right. Contract soldiers, those who willingly signed up to fight and did not go through the conscription, are being threatened with criminal charges of desertion and treason if they express that they want to leave and break free of their contract.

According to the report, a young contract soldier named Ivan, who was born in 2001, signed on as a “contract” soldier in the Russian army.  Contract soldiers differ from conscripts in that they volunteer for a longer term of service than the 12 months conscripts are subjected to.  SOFREP previously reported that conscripts tend to be drawn from the more impoverished areas of Russia and often lacking in education and job skills.  More so, we also reported how easy it is to avoid military service if the individual belongs to a wealthy or elite family, making the Russian army a virtual dumping ground for poor and uneducated Russian males.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin at the 2022 Victory Parade in Red Square, Moscow (Kremlin.ru, CC BY 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons). Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vladimir_Putin_at_2022_Victory_Parade.jpg
President of Russia Vladimir Putin at the 2022 Victory Parade in Red Square, Moscow (Kremlin.ruCC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Ivan, 21-years-old, wanted to earn money legitimately, so he signed up to serve in the military. With a monthly salary of $480 or 31,000 Russian rubles, he was willing to serve but was promised that he would be stationed somewhere close to Kemerovo so he could go home every day. With thos expectations in his contract, he signed on the dotted line on November 1 and went on to serve in Yurga, a not-so-far town from Kemerovo.