A Russian troop convoy moving in the Zaporizhzhya region, Ukraine, July 2022
Alexander Ermochenko / Reuters

At least since Soviet times, Russians have used dark humor to cope with dictatorship. Perhaps it is not surprising, then, that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s partial mobilization has already been colloquially dubbed the mogilizatsia, a wordplay on mobilizatsia, the Russian word for “mobilization,” and mogila, the word for “grave.” What is more, in practice, this move-to-the-graveyard is proving to be far from partial. Despite assurances by Putin and his defense minister that the draft would be limited to 300,000 people, primarily military reservists who had already served in the army and in conflict zones, Russians have already witnessed the forced

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