Russia excludes some IT professionals, bankers and journalists from the mobilization

A pro-Russian man (not seen) holds a Russian flag behind an armed soldier on top of a Russian army vehicle in front of a Ukrainian border guard post. Baz Ratner/Reuters

  • Russia will call up an additional 300,000 troops for Russia’s war in Ukraine.
  • The country’s defense ministry said some IT workers, telecom workers and financial professionals would not be eligible for military conscription.
  • The section of the official decree announcing the mobilization remains reserved and unpublished.

Russia said on Friday it was exempting some bankers, IT workers and journalists from being drafted into the army to serve in Ukraine under the mobilization of President Vladimir Putin.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday that Russia will seek to call up an additional 300,000 troops for Russia’s war in Ukraine in what the Kremlin calls a “partial mobilization.”

The section of the official decree announcing the mobilization, which included the number of people to be recruited, was kept classified and unpublished, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said some employees working in critically important industries would be excluded from the draft in a bid to “guarantee the work of specific high-tech industries, as well as Russia’s financial system.”

The exceptions apply to some IT workers, telecommunications workers, finance professionals, as well as some employees of “systemically important” mass media outlets and interdependent vendors, including registered media outlets and broadcasters.

Russia classifies major employers and parent companies in certain industries as “systemically important” if they meet certain thresholds in terms of number of employees, revenue or annual tax payments.

The classification allows companies to obtain special benefits from the Kremlin, such as government-backed loans, bailouts and state investments, most recently during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Media previously classified as such include a large number of state television channels, radio stations, news agencies and newspapers, as well as some of Russia’s few private media outlets.

The Defense Ministry said company bosses should draw up lists of their employees who meet the criteria and can be excluded from the draft.

Many Russian companies appear to have been caught off guard by Putin’s mobilization order, which followed weeks of speculation about how Russia would respond to a conflict now entering its seventh month in which Kyiv and the West say Russia has suffered dozens of thousands of casualties.

“We are looking into it for now. We are trying to understand how it will work,” a source at a large non-state company told Reuters on Friday, shortly after the Defense Ministry issued its statement.

Russia’s central bank welcomed the move to exclude some financial professionals from the call, saying some of its staff met the relevant criteria.

“Employees who are dedicated to critical areas will remain in their posts so that the financial system can continue to function smoothly, people can receive their salaries, pensions and social benefits on time, card and transfer payments work and new ones can be issued. credits,” the central bank said in a statement.

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