A MILITARY commissar in charge of enlistment for Vladimir Putin’s chaotic mobilisation campaign has been found dead in “suspicious” circumstances prompting a murder investigation.
Last month, Vladimir Putin ordered the mobilisation of 300,000 extra soldiers to the frontline as his disastrous war continues to falter with Moscow losing ground on the battlefield.
The body of Lt-Col Roman Malyk, 49, was discovered near the fence of his home in a village in the Primorsky region of Russia.
Some reports said Putin's enlistment chief died from hanging.
Russian police have opened a murder probe but have not ruled out suicide.
His “suspicious” death comes after a spate of attacks on mobilisation offices across Russia.
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As many as 70 offices have been hit with Molotov cocktails as anger grows over enlistment.
There is rising fury over mobilisation officials forcibly recruiting men with little or no training in apparent violation of the rules, amid heavy military losses for Russia.
Armed conscript-snatching teams of enlistment officers backed by police have been operating in Russian cities, grabbing men on underground trains, on the street, and in offices.
On Saturday, Russia put in place additional security for mobilisation teams and enlistment offices amid a demand by Putin to find another 80,000 men to complete a total of 300,000 recruits for the initial stage of enlistment.
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They are to be protected by national guardsmen, said MP Alexander Khinshtein.
The mobilisation has led to hundreds and thousands of men fleeing abroad, voting with their feet against Putin.
Married father-of-two Malyk was a veteran of Russia’s war in Chechnya and friends and family strongly denied he killed himself.
He was in charge of enlistment in Partizan district and surrounding areas in Primorsky region.
He was described by friends as a “strong and courageous man” who was “not broken under the weight of harsh military events and great losses” in Chechnya.
“He was a man of his word and deed, known and respected in the city for his honesty and integrity,” he said.
Earlier this month in neighbouring Khabarovsk region Yury Laiko, 41, a military enlistment commissioner, was dismissed amid mayhem over the forced mobilisation of local men.
He was blamed for “errors” in manically conscripting thousands of reservists in vast Khabarovsk region, half of whom were found to be “unfit for service”.
Governor Mikhail Degtyaryov said “several thousand of our countrymen received summonses and arrived at the military registration and enlistment offices.
“Half of them we returned home as not fulfilling the selection criteria for enlistment into military service…[so] military commissar Yury Laiko was dismissed”.
On Friday, Putin promised the messy mobilisation would be called off in the next two weeks – perhaps in a effort to regain support for his war in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, thousands of protesters have been arrested in Russia following a series of rallies across the country against Putin's mobilisation orders.
This comes as humiliating pictures of Putin's "Daddy Army" have emerged showing old-looking men clutching shiny new weapons and getting ready to head to the frontline amid the military debacle.
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Drunken newly conscripts were also filmed staggering, fighting and falling asleep as they were packed into school buses to be taken to training camp as another video filmed inside a bus showed the mobilised men drinking vodka from huge bottles.
At the time, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky described Putin's decision to mobilise 300,000 reservists as a "frank admission that their regular army, which has been prepared for decades to take over a foreign country, did not withstand and crumbled".
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