Since the Feb 24 invasion, Putin has cracked down on dissent and the media, with thousands arrested at anti-war protests and a new law that calls for 15-year prison sentences for those who distribute “fake news” about the military.
Russian state television casts critics as traitors who are in the pay of the West. Putin says the country is in a battle with the West over Ukraine which he says is being used by the United States and its allies in an attempt to destroy Russia.
Russia’s anti-war groups called for street protests against the mobilisation order.
“This means that thousands of Russian men – our fathers, brothers and husbands – will be thrown into the meat grinder of war,” the Vesna anti-war coalition said. “Now the war has come to every home and every family.”
It called for Russians to take to the streets in major cities on Wednesday.
In the days after the start of the war, riot police cracked down on nightly street protests detaining at least 16,000 protesters, according to the OVD-Info rights group.