What forces Putin has left – and the ongoing argument over Russian soldiers killed

Putin ‘has his own Mein Kampf'’ says former Ukrainian PM

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Mikhail Khodorkovsky has implied Russia’s population could revolt in the event young conscripts were taken from the richer, larger cities. He said the scenario was possible and that “the value of human life in Russia, is not as high as one would like to see it be”, adding that the populations of the nation’s cities could “end up in coffins”.

Russia still has conscription in place, and young men are currently being sent to fight in the war in Ukraine.

Hundreds of thousands of men between 18 and 27 years old are drafted into the Russian military each year, who serve in the army, Ministry of Internal Affairs forces, border troops, and other branches of Russia’s military arsenal.

Conscription in Russia has been heavily criticised by internal critics as some can pay bribes to avoid being called up.

Those who are called up to serve remain in service for 12 months – a reduction on the two-year term reduced in 2008 reforms.

How many soldiers has Russia lost?

An exact figure for how many lives have been lost on Russia’s side is not available or verifiable currently.

However, NATO has estimated as many as 15,000 Russian troops have died so far.

Ukraine has estimated that 18,900 Russian soldiers have died since the beginning of the war, citing its own recovery of bodies and intercepting Russian communications.

Russia has refuted all claims that this many have been killed.

The Kremlin has claimed that only 1,351 of its soldiers have been killed.

However, in a rare frank admission, Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesperson, said on Thursday that the country had “significant losses of troops and it’s a huge tragedy for us”.

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How many soldiers does Russia have left?

An exact figure for the Russian army is not known, but when Mr Khodorkovsky was asked about the possibility of President Putin sending 100,000 to 200,000 more conscripted soldiers to Ukraine he said it would be an “extremely heavy” political decision.

Mr Khodorkovsky said there could be a lack of soldiers to take from rural communities, meaning urban areas will be targeted on the next recruitment drive if the war lasts much longer.

He said: “Without a doubt, such a step, if Putin is forced to take it, is going to be politically extremely heavy for him.

“And even more, he could call up a million people, but then big cities are going to end up in coffins.

”Big cities where public opinion is entirely different as to the value of human life, and for Putin that would be a massive problem on the eve of a transfer of power in 2024.”

Mr Khodorkovsky was formerly an oil tycoon living in Russia but was jailed in 2003 by Mr Putin’s regime after being charged with financial crimes.

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