The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine stretches across multiple dimensions. One unique aspect of the conflict involves mobilizing citizens of other countries.
Both Russia and Ukraine have mobilization issues, leading them to recruit foreign soldiers.
The Internet is an essential recruitment tool for this purpose, with social networks and streaming platforms providing extended advertising opportunities.
Recruiting operations targeting Armenia involve both conflicting parties, but Russia is currently the primary actor.
The first to actively engage in recruiting foreign soldiers was Ukraine, which established an International Legion and a recruitment infrastructure with the assistance of embassies.
Advertisements appeared as early as March 2022, just days after the beginning of the war.
The following ad was created to target specifically the residents of Germany.
This Facebook ad also targets Armenian residents and provides clear instructions for joining the Ukrainian International Legion.
Currently, Ukraine is not actively recruiting Armenian soldiers, while Russia is actively advertising for contract soldiers to join the Russian army.
The Russian side cannot post ads on American social networks, as they will inevitably be blocked within seconds. That is why numerous Russian websites are used as the primary platform, most of which belong to the VK company, such as the VK social network, Odnoklsniki, Mail.ru platform, and others.
In addition, pirate websites are used for military recruitment, where movies and TV series stream; these sites provide the opportunity to place advertisements without restrictions.
Here are some recruitment ads clearly targeting Armenians.
The advertisement leads to a recruitment site for the contract service of Sakhalin Region.
The list of awards presented on the website clearly indicates that the service will not be taking place on Russia’s eastern shores but on the battleground.
Given that Mail.ru is the primary e-mail platform in Armenia, and Odnoklassniki and VK also have significant audiences, it can be assumed that Russian recruitment ads have an extensive reach.
The views expressed in the column are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Media.am.