- The Russian military is trying to recruit from neighboring Kazakhstan amid a manpower crunch, per Reuters.
- It’s offering a $5,200 sign-on bonus, a salary of at least $2,000, and other benefits to Kazakh recruits.
- It’s not just the military. Russia’s economy is also facing a manpower crunch amid the Ukraine war.
Russia has a military manpower problem as its war in Ukraine rages on.
President Vladimir Putin’s regime is so desperate for new recruits that Moscow is offering a sign-on bonus of 495,000 rubles, or $5,200, to people in neighboring Kazakhstan if they join the Russian army, Reuters reported on Thursday.
Kazakhstan — a former Soviet republic— is home to about 3.5 million ethnic Russians, who make up nearly 18% of the country’s population of 19.5 million.
The online recruitment ads feature the Russian and Kazakh flags alongside the slogan “Shoulder to shoulder,” per Reuters. The posts offer the 495,000-ruble one-off payment, a monthly 190,000-ruble salary, and other benefits for those who ink a contract with the Russian military, per the news agency.
The ads click through to a website that offers people a chance to join the Russian army in the country’s far eastern Sakhalin region — where an organization set up by the local government is doing the recruitment, according to Reuters.
Joining military conflicts abroad for financial gain is also illegal under Kazakh law, according to Reuters.
Moscow’s recruitment efforts of non-Russian citizens come as the country faces a broad manpower crunch amid the war in Ukraine, particularly after Putin launched a mobilization of 300,000 reservists last fall, prompting tens of thousands of Russian men to flee the country.
And it’s not just the military that’s facing a shortfall. Russia’s economy, too, is facing a record labor shortage, Russia’s RBC news outlet reported on Thursday, citing a survey by the Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy think tank. The surveys found 42% of Russian industrial enterprises experienced a manpower crunch in July.
The Russian defense ministry and Kazakhstan’s information ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider.