Russian Presidents Government Vladimir Putin expected to attack Ukraine all out on May 9. This date has symbolic meaning for Russia.
Reported by CNN, on May 9 every year, Russia celebrates ‘Victory Day’ to commemorate the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II. The celebration of the victory was marked by the implementation of a military parade in Moscow, Russia.
During the military parade, Russian leaders will stand at the tomb of Vladimir Lenin on Red Square to mourn.
“May 9 was designed to show off to the public in Russia, to intimidate the opposition and to please the dictator of the time,” said James Nixey, director of the Russia-Eurasia program at Chatham House.
James said officials in Washington had long believed that Putin would take advantage of the symbolic meaning and propaganda value of the day to declare war as a celebration of the military’s “victory” in Ukraine.
The reason is that Putin is considered to have a habit of using symbolic values in taking certain policies. One of them relates to the launch of the invasion of Ukraine which was carried out the day after the celebration of Defender of the Fatherland Day in Russia.
Oleg Ignatov, senior analyst for Russia at the Crisis Group, thinks Putin has many options with regards to Ukraine, and says war on Ukraine is the toughest scenario for Russia.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has not officially declared war on Russia, imposed martial law on Ukraine when the Russian invasion began in late February.
Furthermore, Oleg assessed that Putin also has the option of enacting Russia’s mobilization law, which can be used to initiate partial or general mobilization of the military.
“In case of aggression against the Russian Federation or the threat of direct aggression, the outbreak of armed conflict is directed against the Russian Federation,” he said.
Oleg said the move would allow the government not only to gather troops but also to put the country’s economy on a war policy.
By implementing mobilization, he said, it can also extend military service for soldiers who are currently in the military. In addition, you can also summon reservists or groups that have undergone military training into battle.
“But it is a big risk for the Putin administration. It will change the whole Kremlin narrative.”
This is because mobilizing will indirectly force Putin to admit that the invasion of Ukraine did not go according to plan. Furthermore, full mobilization is also considered to have an impact on the Russian economy, which is currently struggling.
Oleg said the mobilization step could also reduce support for Putin from within the country because the Russian people support the invasion policy without wanting to be directly involved in war.
“If they declare full-scale mobilization, some people will not like it,” said Ignatov.
However, he considered it still possible for Putin to enact a mobilization law without officially declaring war on Ukraine. Putin could also impose martial law on Russia by suspending elections and concentrating power in his hands.
“It will impose rules such as restrictions on men of combat age leaving the country, which could also prove unpopular,” he said.