Russians say they are skeptical of what government has told them about new conscription bill

Cnn staff

Russian officials have denied suggestions that a bill to allow for the electronic delivery of military call-up papers lays the groundwork for a fresh wave of mobilization. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters it is meant only to “fix the mess” that followed September’s controversial partial mobilization order, which was beset by issues and prompted thousands of Russians to flee.

But the strict new rules make it more difficult for Russian men to avoid an order should it be made, and Russians told CNN of their concerns about the plan.

“Now it will be much easier to mobilize me, given how digitalized life in Moscow has become,” Alexey, a 41-year-old lawyer from Moscow, told CNN.

While he is not within the official age range for mobilization, he does not expect the Kremlin to stick to their own guidelines when calling up recruits.

“I have no illusions with regard to the assurances of authorities who insist these amendments were passed exclusively to improve the draft’s bookkeeping and have nothing to do with the second mobilization wave,” he said. “I don’t believe a word of this.”

“I believe the mobilization has never ended. It has begun and continues to the day,” he added. “You can look at this development as preparation of the state to step up mobilization. To make it possible to notify and mobilize large number of conscripts in a short period of time.”

The bill passed through its third reading in the lower chamber of Russia’s parliament Tuesday, and was approved by the upper chamber, the Federation Council on Wednesday. Its final formality is to be signed into law by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

CNN also spoke to Olga, a 48-year-old woman who fears her son, who is 16, will be sent to fight in the coming years, disrupting his plans for higher education.

“I feel very badly about this war. And same goes for all other wars and any deaths by force regardless of the cause,” she said. “I would prefer for wars to be fought only by professional military or volunteers.”

“Should (the war) drag on and intensify, and if there is a real second wave of mobilization, then I think some will try to leave (Russia), of course,” she added.

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