At least 53,000 army recruitment advertisements have appeared on the Russian social media outlet VKontakte since the beginning of March, according to a report by Novaya Gazeta Europe.
The figure represents a seven-fold increase compared to Russia’s largely unsuccessful recruitment campaign for volunteer soldiers last summer, according to Novaya Gazeta Europe's calculations.
Recruitment advertisements have appeared on a wide range of public pages on VKontakte, from those of regional governors, job centers and local media channels, to hospitals, libraries and even kindergartens.
Russia is believed to have suffered tens of thousands of casualties in an ongoing spring offensive in Ukraine that has largely failed to achieve significant territorial gains and Russian commanders are now believed to be readying their troops for an expected Ukrainian counter-offensive.
Overall, Novaya Gazeta Europe said in its Tuesday report that 75,000 posts advertising military service have been published on VKontakte since Moscow launched its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022
The vast majority of these advertisements appeared just over the past two months.
Almost 90% of the advertisements were found to be connected to the notorious Wagner private military company, headed by businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin.
The Russian authorities are aiming to enlist up to 400,000 soldiers this year, Bloomberg reported in March, citing sources familiar with the matter.
Following the failure of 2022 campaign to attract volunteers for the Armed Forces, the Kremlin made the decision to announce a “partial" mobilization during which it called up several hundred thousand men.
While Russian officials have repeatedly denied plans to launch a second wave of mobilization, the intensity of the fighting in Ukraine has led observers to suggest the country will soon be in need of more soldiers.