Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Friday, December 1, ordering a 15% increase in the number of soldiers in the country’s army. This must have 2.2 million members, including 1.32 million soldiers, according to this decree published by the government. The previous decree, dating from August 2022, set the number of planned members at 2 million, including 1.15 million military personnel.

Concretely, without counting civilian personnel, this represents an increase of 169,372 military personnel, or almost 15% of the currently established combat force. The Russian Defense Ministry, as soon as this decree was announced, published a press release explaining this increase.

“The increase in the number of armed forces is due to an increase in threats aimed at our country and linked to the conduct of the special military operation [in Ukraine] and the further expansion of NATO,” he said. -he advanced. “A strengthening of the Alliance’s combined armed forces near Russia’s borders and the deployment of additional air defense assets and strike weapons are underway,” he assured.

No “mobilization” planned

The ministry, however, declared that this increase in its personnel will be done “in stages”, on the basis of voluntary commitments, and that no “[military] mobilization is planned”.

In September 2022, facing serious difficulties on the front, Russia ordered a military mobilization, pushing hundreds of thousands of young men to flee the country to avoid forced recruitment and sparking discontent. Since then, the front has stabilized and the Russian authorities favor recruitment on a voluntary basis, promising high salaries and social benefits to those who decide to enlist.

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, now vice chairman of the Russian Security Council, said on Friday that more than 452,000 people were recruited into the Russian army under contract between January 1 and December 1, 2023