Vladimir Putin wants new soldiers for his Ukraine war. But the mobilization causes chaos in Russia. Now those responsible are admitting mistakes for the first time. And just pass the blame on. Experts don’t believe this strategy will get caught.

Six days ago Vladimir Putin announced that he would call 300,000 reservists to take up arms in the Ukraine war. Since then chaos has reigned in Russia. And the government is now admitting this for the first time. “There are cases of violations of Vladimir Putin’s decree,” the spokesman for the Russian president said on Monday.

It was initially said that only reservists with combat experience would be drafted. Experts doubted this representation from the start. There is simply not enough of it, so the assessment. And indeed: in the first days of the partial mobilization, all sorts of men were called up: the old, the sick, and those who had never served in the army before.

“All mistakes will be corrected,” says the Putin spokesman. But while attempts are being made to clean up the chaos, the search for a culprit begins. As the US “Institute for the Study of War” (ISW) writes in the current situation report , the Blame Game is already in full swing on Russian state television.

At the center of the branding: the “unmotivated” and “reckless” employees in the recruitment offices. The Omsk region governor said bureaucracy is “the enemy of patriotism”. The bureaucrats would only be looking to fill any quotas rather than correctly filling out Putin’s orders.

According to “ISW”, Kremlin-affiliated channels are increasingly showing stories of individual cases in which government forces are helping to reverse erroneous conscription. The message: the recruiters are idiots. The Kremlin has everything under control.

According to the “ISW” experts, however, this strategy is all too transparent. “Russians are acutely aware of the flaws around them. Unlike Russia’s mistakes on the battlefield, which citizens cannot see directly, here the chaos is clearly visible.” People do not even need access to media or social media for this. Because this chaos reigns in so many places and the stories about it also spread by silent mail.

The Kremlin is trying to downplay the violations as individual errors, writes the “ISW”. “But these errors are clearly too widespread to be the result of individual misconduct,” write the “ISW” researchers.

The Kremlin now faces an almost impossible task: to pacify the Russian people while mobilizing enough men for war. The current diversionary campaign, in which the government presents itself as a hero who solves the problems, will not solve this task, according to the “ISW” experts.

Putin must fix recruitment, which spans 11 time zones. And at the same time complete the mobilization as quickly as possible. “Meeting both requirements in a short time is actually impossible,” write the “ISW” researchers.

And with the finger-pointing, the government is also undermining recruiting officials’ work ethic and public confidence in them. One effect: in some places recruiters are already being attacked by their recruits. In the city of Ust-Ilimsk on Monday, a man shot the military commander in the head.