The problems seem to be running toward Russia at an unusual rate as it battles numerous problems relating to its invasion of Ukraine. This war has revealed a number of weaknesses in the Russian military. Amid rising casualties in Ukraine, Russia is now considering allowing Russians over the age of 40 and foreigners over the age of 30 to sign up and join the Russian military service.

In this new bill, Russia extended their recruitment of soldiers to above 40 and set up their own international legion of fighters as Ukraine did to offset the numbers during the early onset of the war.

“For the use of high-precision weapons, the operation of weapons, and military equipment, highly professional specialists are needed. Experience shows that they become such by the age of 40–45,” the State Duma said.

“Clearly, the Russians are in trouble. This is the latest attempt to address manpower shortages without alarming their own population. But it is growing increasingly difficult for the Kremlin to disguise their failures in Ukraine,” Retired US General and former commander of US Army Forces in Europe Ben Hodges said.

2019 Moscow Military Victory Day Parade. Military parade on Red Square to mark the 74th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. (Kremlin.ruCC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

The Russians may not be publishing the number of casualties it has incurred over the past four months in Ukraine; however, its continued efforts to recruit fighters into its ranks definitely give the world a sneak peek into the current numbers of the Russian forces.

Russia is a country that utilizes conscription to bolster its military and helps it to become ready for any conflict, such as the case with today’s invasion of Ukraine. Conscription seasons in Russia happen from April 1 to July 15 and October 1 to December 31. This is mandatory for all male Russian citizens from 18 to 27, serving one year.

To avoid getting conscripted, a valid health concern must be presented to the authorities. However, the Russian conscription system is known to be one of the most corrupt in the world and is quite easy to surpass with the right amount of money and knowing the right people. Individuals who are part of the Russian elite can simply bribe their way off the hook, while members of the poorer socioeconomic classes in Russia have no choice but to serve their mandatory military service.

With over 29,200 troops dead, according to Ukrainian estimates, and with the British Defense Ministry estimating that Russia has lost 1/3 of its initial invasion, it is not surprising that the Russian military has been doing all it can to replenish its numbers on the battlefield.