It is not clear whether the campaigns are having the desired effect.
Ivan, a 34-year-old Muscovite, told NBC News on Friday that he had noticed recruitment posters around the capital, but said they did not spark any desire to serve.
The concept of a “real man” was strange to him, he said, “It is one thing to serve our family, and another – the way we serve in our army. Those are different things.”
Being a real person for him, he said, was about protecting one’s family and doing something good in life, “creating something instead of destroying it.”
There are severe reporting restrictions in Russia, where many people find it difficult to speak honestly about the war in public. NBC News decided not to use Evan’s last name to protect him from possible punishment for speaking out openly.
Last month, UK military intelligence Cited Russian media reports suggest that President Vladimir Putin may seek to recruit another 400,000 soldiers. NBC News could not confirm those reports.
During the first mobilization wave, some Russian media reported stories of newly mobilized soldiers lacking proper training and supplies, and being thrown into battle without much preparation.
But the ad released this week appears specifically aimed at enticing contract soldiers to avoid that controversy.
Its appeal for “real men” to join the fight plays into the stereotypes of masculinity that have been honed under Putin – who has admitted that he himself once drove a taxi to earn extra money after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Had driven For more than two decades, the Kremlin has been cultivating a “macho” image of the Russian leader, who has often been seen bare-chested, swimming in wild rivers and riding horses during his summer holidays in Siberia.
That narrative has been amplified and accelerated since the invasion, with many hawkish war supporters hailing him as the “real man” for invading their neighbor in the face of a perceived Western threat.
It’s no wonder that in its latest recruitment drive, the Kremlin is trying to harness that kind of “emotional motivation” and appeal to the “inner macho” in Russian men, says an analyst with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Andrei Kolesnikov said.
“The use of a narrative dating from the Soviet era sounds pretentious and noble” while hiding the necrophilic essence of using people as cannon fodder without regard to the needs of the economy and declining working populations, he told NBC News.
Abbas Galyamov, a Russian political analyst and former Putin speechwriter, wrote on Facebook that the ad “alludes to terminology used in the criminal world, whose code of conduct is used by Russia’s ruling class.” In that world, he said, the word “muzik” (which means “real man” in Russian) is synonymous with “one who suffers and endures”.
“So this video turned out to be a lot more telling than originally planned,” he said.
The ad also appears to reinforce an argument Putin made last year to a grieving mother that instead of dying of “vodka,” the Russian men killed in Ukraine were not wasting their lives in vain.
However, some experts point to the fact that Russia was not unique in appealing to masculinity as a recruitment strategy, and that many countries, including Britain, have employed the “real men” narrative, although perhaps on a larger scale. decades ago.
The ad was ridiculed by some media outlets in Ukraine.
A bitterly sarcastic headline in Friday’s Kiev Post Reading: “Russian video campaign calls for ‘real men’ to replace listed cannon fodder.”
Meanwhile, the Union News Agency Said The ad on the Telegram messaging app is the latest “cringe” of Russian propaganda trying to sell Russian men on the idea that it’s better to be a “corpse or disabled” than to be a security guard or fitness instructor.