Is Russia sexualizing war in Ukraine to encourage enlistment?

Russia released a motivational military video featuring attractive young women in military uniform with weapons.

 Female Russian soldiers. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Female Russian soldiers.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The Russian army, which is "desperate to find more cannon fodder," has been publishing recruitment videos that are becoming weirder and weirder with one video showing young women in uniform waving weapons and turning to war in Ukraine to something more sexual, according to the British Star.

The war in Ukraine is far from glamorous with almost 115,000 soldiers having been killed in the Russian invasion, but the Russian videos are constantly trying to change the picture, and it seems like one of the latest videos is trying to sexualize the war.

Kyiv Post journalist Jason Jay Smart quoted the UNIAN new service that reported that "this is how a motivational video for luring Russians into military service looks." 

He added, "notice the focus on ethnic minorities and the sexualization of women? Russia is desperate to find more cannon fodder."

A Russian serviceman addresses reservists at a gathering point in the course of partial mobilization of troops, aimed to support the country's military campaign in Ukraine, in the town of Volzhsky in the Volgograd region, Russia, September 28, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/STRINGER)A Russian serviceman addresses reservists at a gathering point in the course of partial mobilization of troops, aimed to support the country's military campaign in Ukraine, in the town of Volzhsky in the Volgograd region, Russia, September 28, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/STRINGER)

The video shows two attractive young women standing next to a tank with giant guns while being videoed alluringly. After that, you can see two young women enjoying the spoils of war.

The German Deutsche Welle reported last week that Ukrainian officials and Russian experts foresee that Russia is preparing for a second mobilization wave. Smart's assessment that there is a focus on trying to enlist ethnic minorities is not unreasonable.

Minorities being used as Russian cannon fodder

Last September, Novara Media reported that Russia is using minorities as "cannon fodder" in Ukraine. The report came after a partial mobilization of 300,000 Russians with prior military experience. Novara reported that "the ethnic minorities - who come from poor communities - are overrepresented" in the recruitment pool. Unofficial reports from Russia say that "men in remote areas rushed to hide in the forests while others are fleeing the country" instead of being sent to fight in Ukraine.

In Buryatia, the Russian republic in the hills of eastern Siberia, where the monthly salary is a third of Moscow and Saint Petersburg, the army offered local men the chance of getting a stable salary already before the war.

"Before the war, the army was a good way for them to make money and handle their mortgage," said Natalia Arno, president of the Free Russia Foundation who hails from the area.

At the same time, the men from the area, and others from similar areas, are convinced that they are being sent to die "to prevent ruffling the feathers of the residents in the richer cities."

"These people are less protected," said Vasily Metnov, founder of the Asians of Russia during the 2020 mobilization. "If they were to start collecting up the residents of Moscow, everyone would hear about it."