From Murmansk in the Arctic Circle to Perm in the Urals and Primorsky Krai in the Russian Far East, the call has gone out, appealing to both the patriotism and the wallets of Russians.
Relevant military experience is not always required.
In all, analysts assess that more than 30,000 volunteers might be mobilized to supplement Russian ranks depleted by five months of combat -- between one-quarter and one-third of the force deployed to win the eastern Donbas region, where the majority of volunteers would likely be sent.
Last week, Richard Moore, chief of MI6, UK's secret intelligence service, told CNN's Jim Sciutto the "Russians will increasingly find it difficult to supply manpower, material over the next few weeks."
Putin has long resisted the idea of a general mobilization in Russia, and this spring's call-up was similar to that in 2021. These battalions are one way to augment Russia's military manpower without such a drastic step. They also appear to be focused on poorer and more isolated regions, using the lure of quick cash.
What impact these battalions may have is an open question. Chechen volunteer units have played an outsized role in the Donbas campaign, especially in Mariupol. But they are relatively well-equipped and have extensive military experience. The battalions being assembled elsewhere clearly do not.
Kateryna Stepanenko, Russia researcher at the Institute for the Study of War in Washington, says: "Some battalions will partake exclusively in combat support and combat support operations (such as logistics or signal battalions), while others will reinforce pre-existing military units or form combat battalions."
But she adds: "The short-term training is unlikely to turn volunteers with no prior experience into effective soldiers in any unit."
CNN has sought comment from the Russian Defense Ministry on the volunteer battalion program.
Patriotism -- and cash
Stepanenko says the process is being driven from Moscow. "The Kremlin reportedly ordered all 85 Russian federal subjects (regions of the Russian Federation plus occupied Crimea and Sevastopol) to recruit volunteer battalions to avoid declaring partial or full mobilization in Russia."
But the regions are expected to help fund the recruitment, which she says "places a heavy strain on regional budgets." Krasnoyarsk in Siberia, for example, had to set aside about $2 million for the project, Stepanenko said.
The qualifications required for joining up vary from place to place. One online flier in Kazan in Tatarstan said: "We invite men under the age of 49 years who have previously served in the military and offer a contract for 4 months in your military specialization."
Elsewhere, men up to the age of 60 with no criminal record are eligible. There is often no requirement of previous military experience listed in online notices.
The Perm posting -- under the headline "A Job For Real Men" -- seeks "courageous, daring, brave, self-confident, extraordinary, well-rounded patriots of our nation."
According to the postings, about one month is allotted for training -- n