Russians who are registered at the labor exchange as unemployed are offered to sign a contract and go to war in Ukraine. They are required to sign an agreement of nondisclosure of military secrets and are promised a monthly salary of about RUB 300,000. This was told to Important Stories by a man who received such an offer in one of Tatarstan's employment centers.
"I am registered at the employment center. They called me from there and told me there was a meeting at 9 a.m. the next day, and attendance was mandatory," he said. According to him, you have to come to the labor exchange twice a month to check in and get a referral for employment. With such a referral, the unemployed person must go to the organization that opened the vacancy and be interviewed. This time, however, the offer was unofficial.
"Eight other people came there with me. At first, we didn't realize anything: an employee of the employment center talked to us and offered us various jobs, but then they started calling us one by one into a separate office. I came in second to last.
A man of age sat in the office and handed me a piece of paper — an agreement on non-disclosure of military secrets: I had to agree that I would not speak about our conversation and that it was explained to me what the consequences would be if I did. I began to ask what the consequences were and whether there was a criminal liability. "That's what the Federal Security Service does, and we just issue warnings," the man said. And then he said that there was "no use talking to me at all," and put that paper away — he allowed me not to sign it.
He said that a battalion was being formed in Kazan. According to him, the battalion is a reserve battalion and will be stationed on Russian territory near the border with Ukraine to guard it. He repeated several times that it was a reserve unit, and would most likely not take part in combat operations, and then added: "Well, maybe you will have to go into the territory of Ukraine from time to time." He offered me to sign a contract and told me that they would pay about RUB 300,000 a month.
I refused and left because I am against this war. I do not understand how in the 21st century people can kill each other. Especially considering our government — I haven't trusted it for a long time — neither what they say nor what they do. I doubt very much that the others agreed, but I can't know for sure — they left right away and we didn't have a chance to talk.
Important Stories reached out to the employment center, where job seekers were offered to go to Ukraine. They said that it was possible to sign a contract and go to war only through military registration and enlistment office.
According to the source of Important Stories, the meeting at the employment center was held in mid-May. Three weeks later it was reported that two named battalions would be formed in Tatarstan: Alga (Forward) and Timer (Made of iron). Each of the battalions is recruiting about 400 people, and only people who were born in Tatarstan are being considered. At the beginning of July, the Alga battalion had already left Tatarstan: according to local authorities, the volunteers went to a training unit in the Orenburg region, after which they were to be sent to Ukraine.
Earlier, Important Stories found out that vacancies for the recruitment of contract servicemen are posted at the labor exchanges — the name given to state employment centers, which help Russians find jobs and apply for unemployment benefits. New people are also sought by units that are already fighting in Ukraine: for example, the 64th Motorized Rifle Brigade (military unit No. 51460) and Pskov paratroopers (military unit No. 32515), suspected of war crimes in Bucha, are recruiting 300 or more people each.
In total, more than 22,000 servicemen are sought throughout Russia. In Tatarstan alone, some 1,200 contract servicemen are being recruited. At least 93 natives of Tatarstan died during the war, causing the mortality rate of men aged 18-35 to increase by almost a quarter.
The unemployed could be an important source of manpower to send to Ukraine. After the war began, about 400 foreign companies stopped or suspended business in Russia, manufacturing facilities began to shut down, and people started losing their jobs. Important Stories wrote that this could put 5-5.5 million Russians out of work. This would be a record over the past 12 years. If we believe the official data, there is no surge in unemployment in Russia yet: in May, this figure dropped to a historic low — 2.9 million people were considered unemployed.