mobilization briefs
April 15, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Apr. 13–14, 2023 CIT volunteer summary 

President Putin has signed a law on a common register of Russians subject to military service, which is introducing digital draft notices. The law is published on the official portal of legal information and thus came into force. Learn more about this law and its consequences in our summaries this week.

The Voyenny Ombudsmen [Military Ombudsman] Telegram channel has clarified the issue of the consequences of violating the draft office’s ban on driving. As lawyers note, for violation of such a ban imposed by a bailiff, liability arises under the article of the Code of the Russian Federation on Administrative Offenses, which provides for punishment of up to one year of driver's license suspension. However, in the case of suspension of driver's licenses by draft offices, citizens cannot be prosecuted under this article since it requires a restriction imposed directly by a court.

Various Russian media outlets continue to discuss the issues of changes in the legislation on military service with lawyers and human rights activists and acquaint their readers with their answers. Is it possible to avoid conscription in the new conditions and become “invisible” to the digital database? Aleksey Tabalov, director of the human rights organization Conscript School, and lawyer Maksim Grebenyuk, creator of the Voyenny Ombudsmen project, have answered these questions. Meduza [a Russian- and English-language independent news website headquartered in Riga, Latvia] has also spoken with lawyers and reported what steps can and should be taken before the new amendments to the legislation come into force for those who do not want to be at the frontline. The Sibir.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet has published an interview with the head of the Pervy Otdel [First Department] human rights project, lawyer Ivan Pavlov, who has also told readers how to act in the new conditions so as not to end up at war.

At the request of Governor Dmitry Azarov, the Samara region has simplified the procedure of medical examinations for those wishing to enlist under a contract. The region has created a single-window system, and a health certificate can be obtained free of charge in one day now. Previously, future contract soldiers had to undergo an examination in public hospitals or be tested in private laboratories, which took about two weeks.

Vazhnyye Istorii [iStories, an independent Russian investigative media outlet] reports about cases of campaigning for military service under contract in schools. On Apr. 11, the State Duma [lower house of Russia's Federal Assembly] passed a law allowing Russians to serve under a contract as early as age 18, straight after graduating from high school. Military commissars have already started working with schoolchildren. Although such campaigns are not prohibited by law, according to human rights activists, attendance cannot be compulsory.

In Moscow, advertising stands for military service under contract are located at almost every subway exit, as well as in shopping centers. In the Russia's constituent republic of Bashkiria, citizens may be advised on military service under contract in Multifunctional Public Services Centers; the Centers' press service claims that male visitors are most interested. And on the Avito advertising website, a "highly paid job from the Ministry of Defense" with a salary of 285-290 thousand rubles is offered. The authors of the ads are looking for rotation workers to go to the so-called LPR and DPR, noting they will not be working on a construction site.

Students of Moscow Timiryazev Agricultural Academy living in dormitories received draft notices. They are delivered by the dormitories' staff. However, according to the law, either the military commissar or a person with a power of attorney from him can deliver draft notices. meanwhile, in Saint Petersburg, in one of the shops, visitors were offered shopping bags resembling draft notices.

Posters appeared in Lyubertsy near Moscow, inviting men to join the "Lyubertsy militia." Such an ad was even posted on the children's art school website. The ad contains a QR code leading to the Gosuslugi Public Services portal, where men can apply for enlistment in the Armed Forces under the contract. An employee of the Lyubertsy administration told a correspondent of BBC News Russian that in order to join the Armed Forces, men must personally visit the administration and bring military IDs. She did not explain what the Lyubertsy militia is, saying that "it will be necessary to serve in the special military operation zone" and that it is the Ministry of Defense that is recruiting men.

Among the new names on the list of mobilized men killed in the war are: Timur Sadykov from the Tyumen region, Alexey Korzyukov from the Tver region, Roman Shevchenko from the Volgograd region, Viktor Yevdokimov from the Novgorod region, Sergey Zaporzhanu from the Pskov region, Vyacheslav Murych and Denis Stroganov from the Rostov region, Ruslan Khairullin from Tatarstan [Russia’s constituent Republic], Nikolay Muzyka and Andrey Vasyutin from Yugra [Russia’s constituent Republic], Andrey Povarennykh from the Sverdlovsk region and Mikhail Sizov from the Kursk region.

Through open sources, BBC News Russian, Mediazona [an independent Russian media outlet], and a team of volunteers managed to identify 20,451 names of Russian service members killed in the war against Ukraine. 1900 of them are mobilized soldiers. Thus, a total of 763 names were added to the list of casualties this week, including 117 draftees.

Mobilized soldiers from the Chistoozyorny district of the Novosibirsk region released a video appeal to the head of the district administration, Aleksandr Appel. Servicemen claim they have been in the “special military operation” zone since Jan. 27 but have never received any support from the district administration. They need thermal goggles, drones, and silencers. Earlier, the servicemen asked the administration for a car, but their request was ignored.

The Sever.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet published a story told by mobilized residents of Kostomuksha, a small town in Karelia [Russia’s constituent republic]. An investigation completed in Kostomuksha by the prosecutor’s office revealed that no medical examination of draftees had been carried out during mobilization last September. As a result, men with serious health issues were sent to the frontline. Six months later, they are still trying to obtain permission to be examined by the military medical commission, but the Karelian officials reject these requests.

150 mobilized residents of Russia’s constituent Republic of Bashkortostan, who had previously come home on leave, were solemnly sent off back to the war.

Servicemen who have returned from the war arrange fights In Russia, enter into conflicts, and commit murders. Some of these outbursts of violence may be related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). BBC News Russia analyzed various studies on PTSD and spoke with psychiatrists to understand how the war affected the psyche of those who were directly involved in it, as well as those who simply follow the news closely.

In Novosibirsk, it was proposed to create a specialized psycho-narcological center to help participants of the “special military operation” in their fight against PTSD. According to the Candidate of Medical Sciences, a member of the Legislative Assembly of the Novosibirsk region Yakov Novosyolov, who made such a proposal, the psychiatric service is currently disorganized and may not be able to cope with new needs.

In Kazan the new building of the hospice under construction, it is planned to equip a center for the rehabilitation of participants in the “special military operation.” This decision was initiated by the management of the hospice. Note that the construction of the building is financed by charitable donations. In March 2022, at the initiative of the chairman of the charitable foundation, hospice patients, their parents, and staff lined up in the courtyard of the institution in the shape of the letter “Z”.

A serviceman from the Russia’s constituent Republic of Tuva, in order to steal money, organized in the city of Kyzyl an imitation of a sports club for recruiting contract soldiers and thus stole about 1 mln RUB [~12,150 USD]. He collected money under the pretext of entry fees, purchase of uniforms and gear, as well as assistance in the promotion. According to the Taiga.Info media outlet, the Abakan Garrison Military Court sentenced him to a fine of 200,000 RUB [~2,400 USD] and settled the civil claims of the complainants.

In the Moscow region, a local resident found a loaded grenade launcher in the woods. It was lying in a box 20 meters from the road. The police are currently investigating the case.

A criminal case has been opened against police officers in Murmansk for setting fire to a military commissariat. Two policemen were supposed to guard the territory of the city military commissariat. At around 4 a.m., the officers decided to go inside the building to warm up, and at that moment, the arson occurred. Only the window frame and part of the wall were damaged. As a result, the police officers were accused of failing to comply with the orders. The leadership came to the conclusion that their actions led to "serious consequences in the form of an act of terror."

The identity of a man from the Novgorod region who allegedly "tried to persuade mobilized individuals to provide information about the locations of Russian military units, to steal military equipment and voluntarily surrender to captivity" has been established. He turned out to be a Ukrainian citizen named Pyotr Opalnik, who moved to Russia back in 2011 and obtained Russian citizenship in 2022.

The Astra Telegram channel told a story about a RuAF officer who refused to go to the war in Ukraine. Half Ukrainian, half Russian, the man lived in the Luhansk region for 15 years. From the very beginning of the full-scale invasion, he refused to participate in the war, and now he is being investigated under the article "failure to obey orders." The term of imprisonment under this article is from 2 to 3 years. The man is ready to go to jail for his beliefs.

In Ulyanovsk, a teacher who spoke out against renaming a school in honor of a Russian military officer killed in Ukraine was removed from her position as a homeroom teacher. Instead of the Russian military officer, Russian language and literature teacher Natalia Sharkaeva proposed to name the school after her deceased husband, Radiy Sharkaev, who had been the school's director for 50 years. Her initiative was supported by students, colleagues, and close relatives of the deceased director who wrote an open letter. However, in the end, the teacher was removed from her position as a homeroom teacher for the ninth grade, and her name was removed from the gallery of teachers on the school's website.

Journalists tell stories of two residents from the village of Urshelsky, Vladimir region. One of them, Elena Kuryakova, lost her son during the invasion of Ukraine. The woman lives in a structurally unsafe house, but instead of help, the head of the local administration advised her to buy a new house at the expense of death gratuity. Only after a wide publicity campaign of the failure to provide housing a criminal case was initiated. In Anna Savelyeva’s case, the authorities drafted her husband Dmitry Morozov to the war, and her son was called up for military service. The woman lives in the same barrack as Elena Kuryakova. As in the case of Elena, local authorities are in no hurry to help the woman.

BBC News Russian reported that the rating agencies predict the largest increase in real wages in Russia over the past five years. This is directly related to the war since many people of working age either left the country or were drafted. Now it is more difficult for employers to find workers and they must compete for them, including by raising salaries.

Members of the Legislative Assembly of the Vladimir region adopted a law on new measures to support war veterans and their families by giving them the right of preferential purchase of wood bypassing a queue. This means firewood and lumber.

In Buryatia [Russia's constituent republic], a local meat processing plant sent canned stew worth 1 million rubles to the republic residents currently fighting as paratroopers. Recall that a canned stew from Buryatia has already been sent to the front. However, sometime later, it was discovered in the shops of Armyansk, Russian-occupied Crimea. In Rostov, the residents of one of the housing complexes did not succeed in sending aid to the front: a box was placed at the entrance to collect food; however, some of the collected items got rotten, and some were stolen by the homeless.

According to media outlets of the Primorsky region, the Mayor of the town of Artyom Vyacheslav Kvon visited the war zone once again and brought SUVs to servicemen. Meanwhile, the Novosibirsk branch of the pro-government All-Russian People's Front sent seven UAZ-2206 minivans to the special military operation zone.

Omsk special forces veterans are sending out letters to local entrepreneurs asking them to raise money to purchase 18 camouflage coats for soldiers of the Omsk Vityaz special forces unit fighting in the war.

The Lyudi Baykala [People of Baikal] media outlet reported about the abbots of Irkutsk churches raising money for the war. One of them was so impressed by the trip to Ukraine that he initiated a fund-raising campaign for sights and drones for Russian servicemen.

The United Russia party [Putin’s ruling party] launched a campaign among schoolchildren in Amur: children will have made banners for the Immortal Regiment event by May 9, as well as medals and amulets for the participants of the “special military operation.”

In the Ulybka [Smile] kindergarten of the Chelyabinsk region, there was a competition between two teams: the Berkut [Golden Eagle] team of the Young Army [pro-Kremlin youth organization] movement and the team of kindergarteners. As part of the event, the children demonstrated drill training, took part in the relay race, and completed a number of tasks, including dismantling assault rifles with gas masks on.

The Vyorstka media outlet talked to Russian servicemen about their trips to schools, asked schoolchildren about their impressions of these meetings, and found out from a psychologist why such "lessons" scare children and can cause an increase in violence among them.