Pearls of Kremlin propaganda: "You're a man": The Kremlin is fighting for new soldiers with abstruse advertising

If a man hasn't been in the military, he's not a real man.

Pearls of Kremlin propaganda: "You're a man": The Kremlin is fighting for new soldiers with abstruse advertising

If a man hasn't been in the military, he's not a real man. This way of thinking is firmly anchored in Russian society. Boys are told from an early age that only military service makes a man a man. The idea has its origins in the distant past, when the Russian military was still able to inspire pride.

In fact, only a fraction of the young men of a year do military service today. The rest find ways to escape the dreaded 12 months in the military. A somewhat schizophrenic attitude, but characteristic of Russian consciousness.

This is exactly where the Kremlin's propaganda tries to start. The archaic notions of a man are supposed to come to the fore again in the collective consciousness - and drive Russian men into the military. Because the Kremlin urgently needs new soldiers for its war in Ukraine.

A new commercial by the Russian Ministry of Defense has been filling the commercial breaks on Russian state TV for a few days. The intention is clear: Russian men should be reminded of what makes them real guys.

"You're a real man," says the spot right at the beginning. The picture shows a fully uniformed soldier with a rifle in front of the scenes of a supermarket. "Have you dreamed of becoming such a protector?" is the question afterwards, while the soldier in the picture is replaced by a security guard.

"Is this where your strength lies?" is the question in the next scene, in which a muscular fitness trainer is shown. "Did you want to take this route?" a taxi driver is asked in the spot.

In the presentation of the Ministry of Defense, viewers should answer all three questions with a no - and sign a contract with the military. Unlike security guards, fitness trainers and taxi drivers, soldiers are real men, the message is. Accompanied by martial music, heavily armed warriors emerge from the fog at the end of the commercial - the dream of all militarists come true. "You're a real man. So be that too," is the slogan. "Serve under contract."

The Ministry of Defense promises potential contract soldiers a salary of at least 204,000 rubles per month. Converted to the current exchange rate, it is around 2283 euros - a sum that most people in Russia can only dream of.

The spot is just the latest part of a large-scale advertising campaign aimed at recruiting new soldiers for the Kremlin. The streets of Russia are plastered with posters calling for military service. The advertising messages read: "Our profession is the protection of the homeland" or "Military service is the choice of heroes. Your choice". Notice boards, house entrances, subway cars, bus stops and even toilets: there is now almost no place where you won't come across the advertising campaign. In some places, advertising for the contract service already adorns the back of the utility bill.

But what is the Kremlin doing all the trouble for? Where Moscow could either intensify the mobilization of reservists again or, in an emergency, even fall back on the conscripts to strengthen the bleeding Russian army.

The answer is simple: Both measures endanger Vladimir Putin's position, since they are rejected and feared by the population. In particular, the use of conscription is considered an absolute taboo. The mobilization announced last September triggered a wave of refugees, protests and resentment. Therefore, before the Kremlin decides to take these desperate measures, all other means will be exhausted.

Volunteer contract soldiers are more convenient for the Kremlin than forced conscripts. The deaths of contract soldiers are accepted in silence in public. After all, knowing the risks, they volunteered for military service, according to the prevailing opinion. The death of mobilized reservists, on the other hand, is painfully recorded. It is not for nothing that the Kremlin tries to calm things down by constantly promising that those who have been mobilized will not be sent to the front - although this is not the case.

If there were losses among the conscripts, the Kremlin would have to reckon with mass protests. Since the war in Afghanistan, the deployment of conscripts at the front has been considered unacceptable in Russian society.

But the Kremlin suspects that no matter how big an advertising campaign, the Russian army will not bring any streams of new soldiers. In any case, with a radical change in the law, the ground has already been prepared for another wave of mobilization.

You can find out what the new legislative package provides here:

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