Amid suspected high losses from the Russian side due to its underwhelming military performance in Ukraine, the Russian healthcare system is reportedly overwhelmed by a large number of wounded soldiers from the frontlines, revealing another weakness of Kremlin institutions.

According to a report by investigative journalism outlet The Insider, hospitals, and care facilities in Moscow, as well as other cities in Russia, are scrambling to hire more medical professionals and recruit more volunteer medical workers to fill the gap left by medical specialists who left to serve in the border regions of Russia.

As it turns out, doctors and medical personnel were ordered to go to the border regions of Russia in preparation for the invasion of Ukraine. The order was apparently a “voluntary-compulsory” business trip, which does not make sense as it is both voluntary and compulsory. Evidence of this is revealed as the Russian Ministry of Health sent requests to Russian hospitals for them to obtain a list of medical personnel that could be sent out to these regions under the guise of a “business trip.”

An order sent to Russian hospitals from the Russian Ministry of Health last February 24th. The document requests that there is a need for the hospitals to identify medical personnel to be sent to "business trips." ( Source:
An order sent to Russian hospitals from the Russian Ministry of Health last February 24th. The document requests that there is a need for the hospitals to identify medical personnel to be sent to “business trips.” (The Insider)

Many of these doctors were sent to Belgorod, Voronezh, and Rostov-on-Don. They were allegedly forced to sign non-disclosure contracts as the invasion was not announced during that time. In fact, this was when the Russians vehemently denied that an invasion was about to occur. According to insiders interviewed by the news outlet, medical professionals who did not want to go on the “business trip” were threatened indirectly with dismissal from their jobs. Having no choice, this medical personnel were forced to serve their country to treat the incoming wounded soldiers fighting in Ukraine.

However, this presents a problem for Moscow. Reports suggest that the Russian government “requested” that specialists be deployed to these hospitals at the border regions, implying that specialized doctors in different fields had gone out of Moscow in a large quantity. This leaves their capital city and other major cities with a shortage of doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals, with one city’s demand for doctors increasing by 253%. Apparently, when COVID-19 subsided in Russia, they also sent medical staff to work in military surgery and rehabilitation. These medical professionals were from the “red zones” where COVID-19 cases had been very high. As high as 50% of medical professionals from hospitals were “dismissed” and “re-optimized” to serve in the aforementioned hospitals near the border.

With the need for more medical practitioners to be deployed to the frontlines, they will need more from Moscow, and other major cities as volunteers are not allowed to serve in military hospitals as they need a certificate of completion of nursing courses plus another accelerated program related to treating wounded soldiers of war. So what is happening is that they are currently recruiting volunteers to provide an offset for the medical professionals leaving major cities so that their medical institutions are not overwhelmed.

Where are they getting these volunteers from? The Russian government is relying on the hearts of the Russian people apparently and the Russian Orthodox Church. Closed and private Russian Telegram channels from the Russian Orthodox Church volunteers were seen to be recruiting more volunteers to ease the demand for medical staff. According to the Insider, their responsibilities were the more non-medical related tasks such as changing bed sheets, feeding patients, changing diapers, and general assistants of doctors. Volunteers were recruited not just through Telegram but also through Google Forms.

Apparently, this is not a new phenomenon for Russians. The Russian government also utilized the same scheme to recruit volunteers when their medical facilities were overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients in the summer of 2021. Here they were trained on how to take care of patients in just a matter of 72 hours. Yup, you heard that right, just 72 hours of training, and you’re off to taking care of COVID-19 patients, likely not even getting paid because they were “volunteers.”