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Putin sets up task force on mobilization after calling it quits

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Russian president Vladimir Putin has signed a directive establishing a working group to facilitate interaction between government agencies and organizations on the matters of preparing and conducting mobilization activities. Meanwhile, Putin said early in November that he was going to consult lawyers about the necessity of an official decree concluding the mobilization but assured that the mobilization itself was “well and truly over”.

Under the new directive, the task force will address, among other things, the matters of social security and legal protection for Russian citizens participating in the “special operation” and their families. The group will be headed by United Russia General Council secretary Andrey Turchak, with Kostroma Region senator Nikolay Zhuravlev, Tuva deputy in the Federation Council Sholban Kara-ool, and Deputy Chair of the State Duma Anna Kuznetsova as his deputies. Alexander Zakharenko, head of a department at Roscosmos, has been appointed secretary.

Apart from public officials, the task force also includes propagandist “war correspondents” who have been active in their coverage of the “special operation” since February 24, sometimes criticizing the Ministry of Defense for its reticence on failures at the front, retreats of the Russian troops, and military logistics issues. Military Arabic interpreter and former employee of the Ministry of Defense press service Mikhail Zvinchuk falls into this category. The Bell named him as the creator of the pro-Kremlin Telegram channel Rybar, which currently has over 1.1 million followers. Founder of WarGonzo Semen Pegov also made it on the task force, after receiving the Order of Courage from Putin in November. Apart from them, the list features Alexander Sladkov and Evgeny Poddubny, war correspondents for state-owned media agency VGTRK who cover the “special operation” for an audience of around 900,000 people.

On October 28, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reported to Putin that the “partial” mobilization effort had concluded successfully. However, the president never signed a decree officially ending the mobilization. Presidential spokesman Peskov assured that Shoigu's statement was enough to go by. However, without the president's decree, mobilization can resume any day. Not only ordinary citizens but some of the deputies are also anxious to see its official termination. Early in December, Moscow City Duma deputies Evgeny Stupin (Communist Party), Maxim Kruglov (Yabloko), and Mikhail Timonov (A Just Russia) pointed out the legal vacuum concerning the end of mobilization and demanded that Putin issue a corresponding decree. But the Moscow City Duma refused to log their appeal.

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