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Russia Considers Six Day Working Week to Prop up War

More hardship looms for Russian citizens as a “patriotic” business confederation and elements of state media lobby to push the country to a six-day week to support the invasion of Ukraine.

Russia Considers Six Day Working Week to Prop up War

So far the overwhelming majority of the pain of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been felt in Ukraine, which has suffered over a year of bombardment, military casualties, and civilian displacement and disruption. While the number of Russian families touched by the rapidly rising number of their own war dead following Moscow’s invasion is not inconsiderable, the war may hit a much broader base of the population if calls for switching to a six-day working week are realised.

The Russian government is being lobbied by its own state-controlled media, says the United Kingdom, to adopt a six-day working week to boost economic output to secure victory in its war in Ukraine. First floated publicly by the Association of Entrepreneurs for the Development of Business Patriotism (‘Avanti’), the plan is described by one Russian newspaper as intended to “help increase the strength of the Russian economy in the face of modern challenges and achieve the goals set by Russian President Vladimir Putin for 2023”. Furthermore, the lobbying of the Russian Ministry of Labour by its own state media said it was necessary to “achieve a technological and industrial breakthrough, strengthen economic sovereignty and reduce dependence on foreign institutions”, citing six and seven-day weeks endured by Russian workers in the Second World War. Proponents of the plan point out that Russia only got a five-day working week in 1967.

The discussion represents, Britain’s Ministry of Defence notes in an intelligence bulletin, a shift in Russian discourse from merely punishing those who don’t support Putin’s war, to actively requiring active work towards supporting its goals from the populace, rather than just passive acquiescence.

The British report also noted this change signalled “a Soviet-style sense of social compulsion” and underlines the Russian government’s belief that a strong economy will be a major factor in whether they win or lose in Ukraine. This isn’t the first time senior Russian figures have called for public participation in the war, however. As previously reported, the leader of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group has called on the country to move to a Second World War-style full wartime economy. Yevgeny Prigozhi said, lamenting the state of the country and the progress of Russia’s invasion: “We are in such a condition that we could fucking lose Russia – that is the main problem... We need to impose martial law... Stop building skyscrapers, new roads, new infrastructure – and work only for the war. We must live like in North Korea for several years, and shut the borders.” If the six-day week call suggests Russia’s economy is suffering more from Western sanctions than Moscow would otherwise admit, perhaps another such call for extra work this month implies Russia is facing an ammunition shortage. Described by the UK MOD as a leading Russian propagandist, Russia Today editor Margarita Simonyan called on patriots to put in an extra shift every day after their regular job at the local ammunition factory. Simonyan said, per Newsweek: “In the war of 1812, the Crimean War, [World War One]... we’ve been dealing with this basically in every war. Just from what has been publicly announced, there has been more than one firing of the people responsible for supplying the army... Our guys are risking their lives and blood every day, We’re sitting here at home. If our industry is not keeping up, let’s all get a grip! Ask anyone. Aren’t we all ready to come help for two hours after work?”. Simonyan has hit the headlines in the recent past for her bloodthirsty opinions, including speaking out in support of the execution of a war critic who was killed on video by being beaten to death with a sledgehammer.

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