46-year-old Russian conscript dies by suicide at army training center

A Russian soldier reportedly died by suicide at a training center in the Sverdlovsk region about two weeks after being mobilized for the war.

The conscript, identified as 46-year-old Vladimir Potanin, was found dead Saturday morning in the canteen of a tank training center run by a military unit near the village of Poroshino, Russian independent investigative body The Insider reported, citing statements from Baza and Astra.

Potanin, who was from the southern Kurgan region of Russia, had two lacerations on his neck. A blade was also found next to him.

According to preliminary reports, the soldier died by suicide.

Potanin was drafted on September 26, five days after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced troop mobilization in Russia.

The mobilization, which was the first such initiative in the country since World War II, aimed to call up 300,000 people, according to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

However, Russia can draft up to 1.2 million conscripts, an unnamed source close to one of Russia’s federal ministries told the Meduza news agency.

Putin’s mobilization sparked protests across Russia and also led to an exodus of Russians to neighboring countries including Belarus, Finland, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia.

Around 261,000 left Russia after Putin declared mobilization, Russia’s Federal Security Service said.

Around 47% of Russians aged 18 and over felt worried and frightened after the announcement, according to a poll released Thursday by the Levada Center, an independent Russian research organization.

Another 13% felt angry, while 23% were proud of Russia, the poll results showed.

Russia is accused of sending untrained conscripts to the front lines in Ukraine.

In addition, there were reports of men being ineligible for draft convening, leading to growing criticism of the mobilization.

“Such excesses are absolutely unacceptable and I think it is absolutely right that they should provoke a sharp reaction in society,” said Valentina Matviyenko, the chair of Russia’s upper house, the Federation Council, in a statement on the reports.

Lawmakers claimed that Russia’s regional governors had “full responsibility” for implementing the bill.

Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of the State Duma, Russia’s lower chamber, also expressed his concern.

“Complaints come in. If a mistake is made, it has to be corrected [it]. Authorities at all levels should be aware of their responsibilities,” he said.

Putin admitted in a televised speech on Thursday that “mistakes” had been made in the mobilization.

“[A]All mistakes must be corrected and prevented in the future,” Putin said.

If you’re having suicidal thoughts, you can get free, confidential help from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call 1-800-273-8255. The line is available 24 hours a day, every day.

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