This Friday, from 3 p.m. Russian time, 2 p.m. German time, there will be a celebration in the Kremlin: President Vladimir Putin invites Russian parliamentarians and "heads" of the occupied territories in eastern and southern Ukraine to his official residence.

Putin's spokesman confirmed on Thursday media reports that "treats" on the "accession" of the four areas to Russia are to be signed there.

Dmitry Peskov announced an "extensive" appearance by Putin.

Frederick Smith

Political correspondent for Russia and the CIS in Moscow.

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The direction must be trying to tie in with the staging of Putin's speech on the annexation of the first part of Ukraine, Crimea, on March 18, 2014 in the Kremlin's magnificent Georgievsky Hall.

Just as the staging of the most recent "referendums" in the Donetsk, Luhansk, Cherson and Zaporizhia regions and their Russian-controlled parts was intended to tie in with what happened eight and a half years ago: there was also a "referendum" with "approval" on the Ukrainian peninsula the 100 percent mark, then a Putin speech and an "accession treaty", later approval by both chambers of parliament.

The choice of words is now reminiscent of that of 2014: there is talk of "reunification", because Putin's motto was to "take back" areas that were ruled by tsars and Soviet leaders.

Many of those who attended the Kremlin in 2014 will come this time as well;

Personnel changes in Putin's system are tough, even at lower levels.

However, the audience in the hall would find it difficult to repeat the enthusiasm of the time about the almost bloodless annexation of Crimea - according to Russian myth even completely bloodless - for the new annexations.

The main reason is the mobilization announced by Putin last Wednesday, which shocked many Russians.

People who had never thought about politics before began "thinking about the situation" and "asking questions," as Moscow sociologist Grigory Yudin told the FAZ: that Putin is now trying, instead of relying on "demobilization," to mobilize or to mobilize is an experiment with an uncertain outcome.

There are many indications that the Kremlin is not satisfied with the interim result.

Medusa reported that the Kremlin did not like the results of a secret poll on mobilization;

the move "shook everyone up," the exiled Russian news portal quoted the environment of the presidential administration as saying.

The many kilometers of traffic jams in front of border crossings, especially to Georgia and Kazakhstan, the pictures of bleary-eyed, relieved Russians who have made it across the borders,

Military service should be economically worthwhile

But Putin's staff cannot completely ignore what is happening.

People like Vyacheslav Volodin, chairman of the Duma, illustrate the dilemma faced by those in power: on the one hand isolate the dissidents as shirkers and traitors, on the other hand to calm tempers agitated by the mobilization itself and its chaotic practice.

On Wednesday, Volodin threatened in the lower house that "lists" would be drawn up of everyone who was leaving the country.

"Do you think they're leaving now and nobody sees who left and why?" he asked.

Maybe it would be better if they left the country, because what good is the presence of these people in a situation where Russia "has encountered challenges.

For what?


Traitors!” On Telegram, Volodin claimed that Russians,

However, this contradicts statements by the Defense Ministry and, above all, the Kremlin's efforts to admit "mistakes" in the mobilization, to send a few recruits home and thus suggest order.

Efforts are also being made to make military service economically attractive;

so draftees should be able to suspend the repayment of loans, which is called "credit holidays".

Volodin had to correct himself publicly, which is rare: Because only a "partial mobilization" was announced, the travel ban does not apply.

The power apparatus is also challenged by the fact that reservists who have now been drafted are now reporting on the conditions in the military on social networks.

Sometimes they film their rusty assault rifles, sometimes how recruits probably burn bushes during training to keep warm.

Those conscripted are asked to buy their own uniforms, sleeping bags and bandages, and to take tampons with them to stuff any gunshot wounds.

Dealers reported to the newspaper “Kommersant” that winter shoes, warm underwear, protective vests, helmets and simple mobile phones, which, unlike smartphones, can be taken into action, are now being sold significantly more.

In addition, travel pharmacies: customers would come with lists of medicines from the military replacement offices.

Relatives of recruits complained on social media about self-equipment, which can easily cost more than the equivalent of 1,000 euros, and about price increases for camping mats, for example.

The recruits should actually be equipped like soldiers, at least the news portal “RBK” quoted a Defense Ministry hotline as saying.

But then even state television picked up on the displeasure, while distorting the events into a national awakening: In a report on the “Rossiya 24” channel, young men in a hiking needs store allegedly stock up thanks to donations from friends, protesting that they want to protect their homeland and absolutely carry off the victory.