Russia Recruits Ethnic Germans for Ukraine War

Written by Henrik Rothen

May.20 - 2024 4:47 PM CET

Photo: Wiki Commons
Photo: Wiki Commons
Russia has begun recruiting ethnic Germans as "volunteers" for the ongoing war in Ukraine, according to reports from The Daily Telegraph.

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Reports from The Daily Telegraph indicate that regional Russian-German houses in Novosibirsk are urging young ethnic Germans to volunteer or sign contracts with private military companies (PMCs). These organizations have been hosting summits and events to support Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Victor Dietz, head of the German House in the Republic of Tatarstan, emphasized the necessity for ethnic Germans in Russia to take extraordinary actions for their survival and preservation.

He suggested that all "men of our people" should apply to join the Wagner Group, a notorious PMC.

Similarly, the Russian-German House in Tomsk has been encouraging ethnic Germans to donate to the Russian Armed Forces and hosting pro-war concerts. Their emblem features intertwined flags of Germany and Russia, symbolizing this controversial unity.

Opposition from Ukraine and Germany

The ethnic German community in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, has called on their Russian counterparts to oppose the war. They have also appealed to the German government to address the exploitation of German culture in Russian military propaganda.

In an open letter, the Zaporizhzhia Germans urged Russian ethnic Germans to abstain from participating in the conflict. They highlighted the harsh conditions under which ethnic Germans live in Russia, influenced by daily propaganda, and drew parallels to the persecution faced during World War II.

According to Moscow Times, the letter also raised concerns about the inability of anti-war Russian Germans to seek asylum in Germany. Currently, an estimated 400,000 ethnic Germans reside in Russia.

Recruitment and Mobilization Efforts

Following the large-scale mobilization in the fall of 2022, which sparked significant anti-war sentiment and caused up to a million Russians to flee the country, the Russian government shifted focus to recruiting contractors. By the end of 2023, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev claimed that 500,000 people had signed contracts with the Ministry of Defense to fight in Ukraine.

Looking ahead to 2024, authorities aim to recruit at least 400,000 more contractors to avoid another wave of mobilization, according to sources cited by Faridaily. These sources indicate that the Ministry of Defense is struggling to meet recruitment targets as most willing participants, including prisoners, have already been enlisted.

Last year, the military also pressured students into signing contracts, resulting in over 4,000 university students being sent to the front lines, according to former Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu.

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