It's a fact that many folks will use the military as a path to a better life. Not just in this country, and not just in this era. This has been a part of moving-on-up since before the Romans. And it continues today.
Fox had an interesting international story on its website the other day about the Buryat soldiers of the Russian army. And how these soldiers--from one of the poorest areas of the old Soviet Union--are paying a high price for Putin's War in Ukraine.
It seems the brass in the Red Army--can we still call it the Red Army?--doesn't like the headache of having funerals in the Moscow area. Think of Moscow as the Capital in "The Hunger Games." But in the poor rural areas . . . Out of sight, out of mind.
That thinking is getting pushback.
About 150 Buryat soldiers "terminated their military contracts" with the Russian army. Who knew a body could just do that?
It helps that a group of mothers and wives of the soldiers put together a video that was widely seen. In the video they demanded their men back. Moscow must've seen the bad PR coming; apparently the men went home.
Somebody with a Free Buryat outfit told the network: The war in Ukraine and the Buryat soldiers fighting there "is the colonial policy of Russia. It's about xenophobia and chauvinism because we are Buryats. We are not the core population of Russia. So, basically, they treat us as expendables."
Soldiers from the rural parts of poor Russia can make nearly 10 times the money in the army as in other occupations.
But their families say they were deceived during recruitment, and are being used as cannon fodder.
"There are no Nazis in Ukraine," the Free Buryat guy said. "[Buryats] face Nazism in Russia. If Asian Russians go to Moscow, they hear insults. It's not our war. Not all Russians support this war. A lot of people want democracy."
And that's a message Vladimir Putin doesn't want noised about in Moscow.