mobilization briefs
April 12, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Apr. 10–11, 2023 CIT volunteer summary 

The State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] has passed, in its third and final reading that immediately followed the second reading, the bill that allows digital draft notices and bans draft notice recipients from leaving the country. The text of the accepted amendments to the existing law has been published.

The next session of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation is scheduled for Apr. 12. Given how hastily the law was passed by the State Duma, the senators, in all likelihood, will approve it on that same day. The Vyorstka news outlet’s sources in the upper chamber confirm this information.

The Vyorstka news outlet summarized the main points from the changes to the military duty and military service law:

  1. Draft notices will be sent out simultaneously in written form and electronically through the Gosuslugi public services portal. A paper draft notice will be considered as “served” even when received by another person who resides together with the notice addressee.
  2. One could receive his draft notice not only at his place of registered residence but also at the place of his actual residence.
  3. Upon receiving his draft notice by any means, a person liable for military service loses the right to leave the country the moment his draft notice counts as “served.”
  4. One will be able to enter a military service contract through the same Gosuslugi public services portal. One will be able to register with a draft board without appearing in person. Enlisting in the army reserve without having to appear in person will also be possible.
  5. A special register of draft notice addressees is being created.
  6. Even if the Gosuslugi public services portal account belonging to a draft notice recipient is deleted, the draft notice will still be considered “served” “7 days after it was placed on the draft notice register.”
  7. Military commissariats [enlistment offices] will be able to send digital draft notices from the moment the law takes effect.
  8. After receiving a draft notice, an individual is required to appear at the military commissariat within 20 days. Otherwise, he loses the right to work as a self-employed or individual entrepreneur, participate in real estate transactions, register automobiles, and receive loans.
  9. The law will take effect at the moment of its publication. The President will receive it within two weeks after consideration by the senators and must sign it within five days.

The Voyenny Ombudsmen [Military Ombudsman] Telegram channel points out that the digital draft office is almost ready. The new super-database should integrate information from other, already existing registers and databases: the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Federal Tax Service, the Central Election Commission, the Pension Fund, the National Guard of Russia, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Health and other departments. The digital profile of an individual eligible for military service will include practically all available personal information. Also, in accordance with the new amendments, hospitals, universities, courts, and the Central Election Committee will be required to transfer information about Russian citizens to military commissariats.

The Chairman of the State Duma Defense Committee, Andrey Kartapolov, one of the co-authors of the bill, made a number of statements. In particular, he stated that the new rules for those receiving draft notices to appear in military commissariats will affect not only conscripts but also all persons subject to military service. Also, according to him, amendments to electronic draft notices will not extend to the spring regular biannual conscription. At the same time, the amendments take effect from the moment of signing, as stated in the published text. In addition, Kartapolov once again stated that no new waves of mobilization are planned in Russia. Those who left Russia to work abroad are recommended to take a year off, come back, serve their country, and return to their overseas work. State Duma member Andrey Lugovoy commenting on the new amendments, said, “If you didn’t login to your personal account on the Gosuslugi public services portal, that’s your problem.”

Dmitry Peskov, the Russian President’s spokesman, also commented on the amendments adopted by the State Duma and once again denied information about a second wave of mobilization in Russia.

The Sota media outlet notes that according to the bill, military commissariats will not wait for the creation of a common register of Russians subject to military service: from the moment the law comes into force, they will immediately be granted the right to send electronic draft notices.

Those residing outside of Russia will be able to unregister from military service through the Gosuslugi public services portal. The bill, with the new amendments, provides citizens with the right to submit information necessary for military registration to the military commissariats in electronic form using the Gosuslugi portal.

The Vyorstka media outlet discussed the amendments adopted by the State Duma today with two lawyers. Lawyer Alexey Tabalov explained how the new draft notices delivery rules will work. In his opinion, with the new amendments, avoiding conscription becomes practically impossible. And according to Vitaly Isakov, a senior lawyer at the Institute of Law and Public Policy, the bill on electronic draft notices threatens basic constitutional rights.

The Voyenny Ombudsmen Telegram channel activated a hotline to provide information on the latest legislative changes to the draft notice process and responded to the key questions, such as 1) what is going to change if the bill is adopted; 2) who will be unable to leave the country after receiving a digital draft notice; 3) can reservists be limited in their civil rights if they do not report to the draft office once called; 4) if a citizen is registered as a private entrepreneur or a self-employed person, will he be banned from working; 5) can citizens eligible to deferment from military service be banned from leaving the country; 6) will liability be aggravated for failure to report to the draft office upon receipt of the notice; 7) what is the duration of restrictions that apply following the city’s failure to report to the draft office upon receipt of the notice; 8) can a holder of dual citizenship be banned from leaving Russia.

The Mozhem Ob'yasnit [We can explain] Telegram channel focuses on what is wrong with the law on digital draft notices. The 59-page text of the law, while significantly restricting the rights of citizens, contains some ambiguous provisions and, to a certain extent, contradicts the oral statements of the members of the State Duma.

The Pervyi Otdel [Department One] human rights project created flashcards with advice on what actions to take considering the latest changes to legislation and provided a list of organizations that help citizens avoid military service. A similar list was published by the OVD-Info independent human rights project.

An anonymous State Duma member told the Vyorstka media outlet that the amendments will also affect mobilized men. He recalled that the President announced the end of mobilization, "but if there is a new wave, the new rules will affect its participants as well," as the presidential decree on mobilization is still in effect.

Activists in Samara launched a petition on against the law on digital draft notices. As of the release of our summary, it had been signed by 4,381 people.

On the morning of Apr. 11, the option to delete an account reappeared on the Gosuslugi public services portal. However, deleting an account with the adoption of the new law will not help to avoid receiving a draft notice.

The State Duma also adopted laws reducing the timeframes for declaring participants of the “special military operation” missing or killed. According to the document, a commander's statement, witnessing a soldier's death, will be sufficient to declare a soldier dead. If there is no witness to the death, the person will be declared missing no later than six months after the presumed death. Immediately after receiving this status, family members will be able to achieve recognition of the soldier as dead through the courts. Previously, this required waiting for two years after the end of hostilities.

The Wagner Group has taken responsibility for distributing recruitment leaflets in Chita apartment entrances. Readers of the ASTRA Telegram channel shared advertisements calling for joining the Wagner Group from Saratov, Vidnoye, Khimki, Voskresensk, Azov, Kaliningrad, Noginsk, Korolyov, Moscow, Dolgoprudny, Rostov-on-Don, and Novosibirsk.

Nizhnevartovsk authorities explained the advertising leaflets containing calls to sign a contract for military service appearance in schools. The officials declared that the posters are not propaganda and not intended for children. "The material is prepared for informing parents and is not a promotional material for scholars," the Mayor’s Office Department of Education commented.

Information from the regions about prisoners of war returned from captivity as part of the Apr. 10th exchange continues to flow. Yaroslavl region human rights Commissioner Sergey Baburkin confirmed the return of five residents. Later, it became known about another returned resident of the region. Also, a mobilized man from Buryatia [Russia’s constituent republic] has returned home.

Mobilized servicemen continue being killed in the war in Ukraine. Viktor Anpilogov from the Voronezh region, Nikita Boyko from the Omsk region, Vasily Kostin from the Arkhangelsk region, Aidar Khamzin from the Orenburg region, and Andrey Turkov from the Altai Republic [Russia’s constituent republic] were added to the lists of the KIAs.

The Walk of Fame in Usolye-Sibirsky, Irkutsk region, has run out of burial space. A new one was created for those who were killed in the war in Ukraine. The available places left on the old one are reserved for 11 veterans of the Great Patriotic War who are still alive.

The ASTRA Telegram channel has published a continuation of the story of the servicemen chastised by the former "South Ossetia's president," Lieutenant General Anatoly Bibilov. According to the relatives of the mobilized, the soldiers were taken by plane to Rostov-on-Don, and at night they were taken to the Luhansk region. There they were forced to sign contracts with the Wagner Group. After the refusal, they were locked up at the car-building plant in Kadiivka and then taken to the landfill. Since then, the service members have not been in touch.

Rosstat [Federal State Statistics Service] demonstrated numbers suggesting a decrease in the level of poverty in the year 2022, to a record low for the entire post-Soviet period — 10.5% of the population, or 15.3 million people. The main driver of the unprecedented reduction in poverty, according to Rosstat, was the growth in social benefits up to 4.7 trillion in the fourth quarter. And for the entire last year, the share of social payments in the structure of income amounted to 20.7%. Novaya Gazeta wrote a story on how poverty in Russia is overcome by death gratuity and "combat" payments.

The Belgorod authorities began to build checkpoints on the borders with other regions of Russia. During the open line, Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov called the construction of checkpoints a possible security solution for the residents of the region and the military present. Previously, such checkpoints were built only at the border with Ukraine. The government of the Bryansk region decided to build 17 such checkpoints following the "sabotage incident" in the Klimovsky district.

The FSB [Russian Federal Security Service] reported an arrest of a Sakhalin resident that had reportedly been planning to join the Ukrainian side in the war. He was charged with preparation for treason. Also, according to Russian media, the FSB detained a resident of Khabarovsk on suspicion of treason, who, according to the intelligence service, had donated money to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The FSB also detained a resident of Orenburg for his “intention to join the Armed Forces of Ukraine under the influence of ISIS.”

In the Kaliningrad region, a local resident Sergey Chursin was sentenced to two years of forced labor and charged with arson of a military enlistment office. According to investigators, on Sept. 25, 2022, Chursin threw two bottles of gasoline into the building of a local military enlistment office. As a result of the fire, the walls of the enlistment office and the memorial plaque got covered with soot.

A schoolgirl from Kazan was sentenced to two years probation for attempted arson of a military enlistment office last fall. The girl explained that she wanted to set fire to the office because she opposed the war and mobilization. In the Leningrad region, the father of a teenager accused of setting two military enlistment offices on fire was fired from his job. The man connects this termination with the criminal case against his son.

The Ulan-Ude Garrison Military Court sentenced Private Aleksandr Potyomkin, who had deserted his military base, to three years and two months in a penal colony. Potyomkin had been serving as a conscripted private. On Sept. 28, 2022, he went AWOL, and on Oct. 15, he was detained by the military police. Previously, he had already gone AWOL, for which he received six months of detention in a disciplinary military unit.

The court sentenced a mobilized soldier to seven years of maximum security penal colony for desertion. The Krasnodar Garrison Military Court found Sergey Kanev guilty of going AWOL and theft of money from a bank account.

The Sota media outlet has published new details of the case of Sergey Klevtsov from the Severodvinsk unit who set fire to a residential building, which we reported on in yesterday's summary. It turned out that Klevtsov also tried to resign after the end of his contract but was not allowed to do so, so the man refused further service. He was held in the unit for two months, waiting for an investigator to bring charges against him for refusing to participate in the war. The investigator never showed up, after which the man left the unit and went to Arkhangelsk.

The Perm 36.6 media outlet publishes another story about commanders who refuse to dismiss a soldier after the end of the contract because the presidential decree on mobilization is still valid. It is noteworthy that a resident of Perm should have been mobilized, but instead, he was persuaded to sign a 4-month contract. After the contract period expired, it was assumed that he would go home. The man agreed but is still at the front.

The Novaya vkladka [New Tab] media outlet published stories of mobilized soldiers who became accused under the article on violent actions against the commander, under which, in a state of mobilization, they face up to 15 years in prison.

Mediazona [an independent Russian media outlet] published the story of a Russian serviceman Dmitry Vasilets, who spent five months in the war from the beginning of the invasion, and after his comrades had been killed, revised his views, adopted Buddhism and decided not to return to the front from leave. The military court sentenced him to 2.5 years in a penal settlement, but he thinks it is better than participation in the war.

Students had another "lesson of courage" in a school in Saratov. It was held by Hero of Russia Aleksandr Yanklovich, whose son is fighting in Ukraine, and Andrey Berdnikov, Head of the Immortal Regiment of Russia executive committee for the Saratov region, who volunteered for the war.

According to the media outlet, more than a thousand icons were sent from Novosibirsk to the war. 500 wooden icons were made by mentees of an inclusive workshop of the Podari svet [Give Light] charity foundation and another 500 icons were donated by the diocese.

Three Russian citizens were deported from Vietnam at the initiative of the Russian authorities after declaring an anti-war position. One of them said that he had sent an email to the Russian consulate in Da Nang to express his anger at the war that Russia had unleashed on the territory of Ukraine.