Observers have been surprised by the Russian Army’s performance so far in the Ukraine having expected a great improvement in its overall performance as compared with the 2008 war with Georgia. Another area where the Russian Army had presumably made great strides was in the field of human resources. The new Russian army had presumably become a professional army solicitous of its soldiers’ welfare. In an extensive interview translated by MEMRI in October 2019, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu took pride in the much-improved living conditions of Russian soldiers.
On February 28, 2022 the liberal newspaper Novaya Gazeta, edited by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dmitry Muratov, published an article titled ‘Mama, I Love You, If There’s a Funeral Notice, Don’t Believe It Right Away’ based on interviews with two Russian women, whose son and grandson were MIAs in Ukraine. From the interview it emerges how young Russian are hoodwinked or coerced into signing up as professional soldiers. The promises made to them particularly in terms of pay are unredeemed and they are forced to make contributions to the army and even pay for their uniforms.
The article by the newspaper’s special correspondent Irina Tumakova follows below: