Signs are starting to emerge that Russian President Vladimir Putin is getting desperate in the war he waged against neighboring Ukraine in February of last year.
On Tuesday, the Russian president signed a new decree that will simplify the process for people looking to obtain Russian citizenship. Any foreign nationals who decide to serve in Russia’s military in the war against Ukraine will be able to access this fast-tracked system of earning citizenship.
Any foreign citizen who agrees to contract with the army in Russia for at least one year while the Ukraine war is going on will be eligible for this program. Not only will the people who sign up to fight for Russia be able to apply for citizenship in Russia without first obtaining a residence permit, the other members of their family will be able to as well.
This latest decree updates an older one that Putin signed back in September of 2022. That one required all applicants to be involved in the fighting with Ukraine for six months at least, though this new decree signed this week doesn’t include this requirement.
It’s the latest obvious sign that Putin is worried about his country’s chances against Ukraine in the war that he started and thought would be over rather quickly. Despite initially believing that Russia could have its way with Ukraine, that has been anything but the case.
Now, Russia is preparing for a counteroffensive from Ukraine that’s been anticipated by political pundits all across the world for months now. If it ends up happening and is successful, it’s likely to significantly add to the casualty total Russia has already suffered thus far, which, according to the military in Ukraine, has already reached 200,000 people.
The decree that Putin signed this week is just the latest one he’s put forth to try to boost up the number of troops Russia has to use against its neighbor. As Russia was suffering major casualties in its fight last May, the parliament in Russia approved a new bill that removed the upper age limit for people to contractually serve with the armed forces in Russia.
Then, last August, Putin increased the total size of his army from 1.9 million personnel all the way up to 2.04 million.
And in March, another decree that Putin signed removed a similar upper age limit for members serving in the Russian National Guard, which is serving in some parts of Ukraine that Russian forces currently have control over.
Those age restrictions have been lifted through January 1 of 2026, according to the bill Putin signed.
All of these decrees are being done to try to swing the war in Russia’s favor. The war has been an embarrassment for Putin thus far. After illegally annexing the Ukrainian regions of Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Luhansk and Donetsk following referendums that were held last fall, Russia doesn’t fully control any of those regions.
Those are just some of the many military failures Russia has experienced in this war, as Putin is grasping at straws to try to turn things around.