Mobilization in Russia for Apr. 26–27, 2023 CIT volunteer summary
Authorities and Legislation
Russia’s Federation Council [upper house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] approved a law allowing all military personnel with special training, including conscripts and volunteer fighters, to take part in “peacekeeping” missions. Until now, only personnel enlisted under contract could participate in such missions. The new law will enter into force as soon as Putin signs it.
In the Leningrad region, the administration of the town of Murino refused for the third time to approve a rally, planned by the Yabloko party to protest digital draft notices. According to the authorities, the town is already hosting the Ribbon of Saint George event ] at the proposed time. At first, the authorities refused because the rally application had been submitted digitally. Later, they claimed it was submitted too late. A court found these refusals to be unlawful on Apr. 26.
Member of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] Maxim Ivanov wrote in his Telegram-channel that he was preparing a request to the Military Prosecutor’s Office to investigate several cases, where lost orders of transfer between military units had resulted in servicemen being erroneously declared as deserters.
Conscription and Military Service Advertising
The Voyenny Advokaty [Military Lawyers] Telegram channel (formerly Voyenny Ombudsmen [Military Ombudsman]) provided detailed guidance to full-time students, if they receive a draft notice. The law entitles them to draft deferral for the entire period of study. During this time, the only type of draft notice they may receive relate to military service register data check-up. Despite this, draft offices are attempting to anticipate conscription activities: they conduct medical examinations and, immediately after the final university exam, dispatch students for military service. This practice is illegal without the students’ consent.
More than 40 fifth-year students of the Gnessin Russian Academy of Music were apprehended in the dormitory and transported to the draft office, where they were held for 14 hours without access to any means of communication. Following that, some of the students were directed to the recruiting center to be called up for conscription service despite being entitled to a deferral. Moreover, the draft office personnel claimed that the deferrals were invalid.
Information emerged about a young man having been forced into a car by unidentified people in civilian clothes (presumably, draft office employees) on Apr. 27 outside the draft office of the Babushkinsky district of Moscow. Standing nearby were the police officers who watched silently — and did nothing.
The Ministry of Defense released another video advertisement, featuring service members taking the oath, and, in particular, swearing to defend the Constitution of the Russian Federation.
Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters
The growing list of casualties sustained by Russia in the war now includes the names of mobilized soldiers Dmitry Shakhov from the Volgograd region, Dmitry Mukhin from Tatarstan [Russia’s constituent republic], Alexey Ostankov, Mikhail Gaidukov and Vadim Solovyov from the Kursk region, Ildar Magdeyev from the Penza region and Yuri Kukharsky from the Krasnoyarsk region.
The Ministry of Defense continues recruiting convicts across Russia for the war in Ukraine, reaching out as far as the remote penal colonies of Siberia and the Far East. Thus, 400 prisoners from the Angarsk colony No. 15 were coerced to join the armed forces and taken away, the human rights activist Pyotr Kuryanov told the online media outlet Sibir.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty].
A former convict of the Saint Petersburg IK-4 penal colony said that the Ministry of Defense recruited 110 people and threw them into the assault in the Vodiane area. At the same time, the commanders were chosen by the convicts themselves from their ranks.
In March, men who introduced themselves as mobilized soldiers from the Perm and the Sverdlovsk regions addressed Putin and complained that they were sent to the war without suitable weapons for the assault. The Commissioner for Human Rights in the Perm region requested the Chief Military Prosecutor's Office of the Russian Federation. This week, the ombudsman received an answer: a new department, the prosecutor's office of the united group of troops, will deal with complaints of mobilized soldiers from the Perm region to the command.
Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights in the Nizhny Novgorod region has received 35 appeals from relatives of the mobilized. Of these, 11 soldiers returned home due to exchange for Ukrainian prisoners of war, and several more soldiers are known to have been killed. The rest are missing or in captivity.
The Mozhem Ob'yasnit [We can explain] Telegram channel said that the mobilized cannot get leave promised by Vladimir Putin. Commanders refuse it or postpone the terms under various pretexts, including the expected counteroffensive of Ukraine.
A mobilized man from Novosibirsk, who, while on leave, broke his arm, was sent to the war. Due to a fracture, the military medical commission extended his leave for one month, but this was not enough to heal a complex fracture, so the leave was extended again. The regiment commander, having learned about this, demanded that the man urgently fly to the unit and promised that he would be assigned to the hospital there. However, he ended up on the frontline.
Sentences, Legal Proceedings, and Incidents
In Russia’s constituent Republic of Tuva, the Ministry of Defense forced a soldier to return 1.3 million rubles through the court. In the summer, 3 million rubles were credited to his account due to a naming error — the money was intended as compensation for a wound of another soldier with the same name and surname. The military man returned about 1.7 million rubles and refused to return the rest, believing that the money was intended for him as a participant in hostilities in Ukraine. The Abakan Garrison Military Court sided with the serviceman since the incorrect transfer was done through the fault of an employee of the military unit. After the MoD appealed the verdict, the higher court concluded that the soldier knew about the illegality of the payment received by him and ordered him to return the remaining 1.3 million rubles to the Ministry of Defense.
A participant in the war in Ukraine from Tuva has received a suspended sentence for shooting a person in the head during a conflict with security guards at a bar in Kyzyl. The convict, who started a fight with shooting because he was not allowed inside, was charged with intentionally causing serious bodily harm for hooligan reasons using a weapon (the article provides for up to 10 years of imprisonment). The court took into account that the Tuva resident had participated in combat, was injured and awarded a state decoration.
A conscript was wounded in the Bryansk region. He was shot by a fellow serviceman from an assault rifle. The wounded man was taken to the hospital. According to the perpetrator of the incident, the shot was accidentally fired, and an investigation is underway.
Two Russian citizens were detained on the same day on the border of the Belgorod region for smuggling ammunition from Ukraine. The first one was a volunteer fighter, and the one was the wife of a Russian military member. In both cases, the police issued orders refusing to initiate criminal cases since the detainees allegedly did not know what exactly they were transporting in their cars. Near Belgorod, a military member was also detained for transporting 195 liters of moonshine to his fellow servicemen. The discovered alcohol was confiscated due to a random inspection on the road, and the investigation materials and cargo were sent to the military commandant's office. The man could face criminal charges.
A court in Vladivostok has canceled the decision to arrest the former mayor of Bolshoy Kamen, Rustyam Abushev, who went to the war as a volunteer fighter. In March 2023, he was put on the federal wanted list for fraud. Recently, he recorded a video in which he announced that he had decided to become a volunteer fighter.
The court sentenced a mobilized soldier from Gus-Khrustalny, a town in the Vladimir region, to three years in a penal colony for going AWOL. The corporal was sent to the Belgorod region, but he did not want to fight and thus returned home. The soldier explained his refusal to fight by the fact that the authorities did not provide him with weapons and means of protection.
The Tver Garrison Military Court sentenced a mobilized soldier to five years in a penal colony for leaving his military unit. In October 2022, the man was mobilized and sent to the military unit. After 10 days, the private left the unit and went to Moscow, where he lived in a rented apartment. Only at the end of January 2023, the police removed the serviceman from the train and handed him over to military police officers.
Since the beginning of mobilization, the courts have received 1,064 criminal cases against servicemen who refused to serve or obey orders, Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] reports. A sharp increase in the number of cases regarding mobilization began in March 2023 when almost 400 cases were received by the courts within a month, and most of them ended with suspended sentences.
Valeriya Zotova, 19, a Yaroslavl resident who has been in detention since mid-February facing attempted act of terror charges for trying to set fire to a draft office is now being threatened with new criminal charges of treason. Valeriya herself wrote of the situation in a letter to her mother from the pre-trial detention facility.
A 36-year-old Yelets resident (Lipetsk region) has been criminally charged with an act of terror after an attempt to set fire to the building housing the local administration and the court. The building did not catch fire and suffered no damage during the incident which occurred on Apr. 25.
A Nizhny Novgorod resident has been awarded 100,000 rubles in damages from the authorities. Last fall, this 19-year-old college student was detained under suspicion of arson at a draft office. His house was searched and his computer system block was confiscated. After several days at the pre-trial detention facility he was released on bail. Later, it was determined that he had nothing to do with the fire, and the student sued for damages.
The Mediazona news outlet described a new phone scam. Fraudsters introduce themselves as bank employees or agents of security services to gullible Russians, convince them to hand over money, and then offer to commit arson in exchange for returning the stolen funds. Sometimes the victim is told that the arson is necessary to catch the criminals who stole their money. Victims of this scam have already committed seven attacks on draft offices.
The mayor’s office in Perm initiated a campaign called Let’s protect the protectors. Perm residents are urged to weave ribbons into frames installed in several locations throughout the city. Camouflage nets produced as a result of this campaign will be sent to the front.
Russian servicemen from the Altai region, who signed a contract after Mar. 1, 2023, will receive an additional payment of 100 thousand rubles. The corresponding decree was signed by the Governor of the Altai region Viktor Tomenko.
The Ministry of Health of the Vladimir region sent a letter to the heads of medical organizations in the region demanding to provide lists of doctors who are ready to “immediately leave for the Krasnodar region for at least a one-month period” to work in a field hospital deployed by the Federal Center for Disaster Medicine in Anapa.
The Perm 36.6 media outlet reports that, following students from Perm, employees of Perm enterprises of the military-industrial complex are made to take a survey about attitude towards Vladimir Putin and the war. As with the students, these surveys are also not anonymous — authorization is required through the VKontakte social network or by mobile phone number.
A 57-year-old man was detained in Yekaterinburg for insulting an 11-year-old boy for wearing a hat with the letter Z. According to Meduza [international Russian-language online media outlet], a criminal case has been initiated against him under an article on hooliganism, and the security forces have published a video showing the man apologizing to the child. The administration of Yekaterinburg said that the boy, whose father turned out to be in the “special military operation” zone, was organizing an educational project about the “special operation” and was going to tell schoolchildren the “truth” about the war in Ukraine.
Six-year-old children in a kindergarten were told about the "threat of annihilation looming over Russia" during a patriotic lesson in honor of May 9. Meanwhile, schoolchildren’s parents in Samara complained that the students had a tantrum after military chronicles were shown to them at school. In the Perm region, schoolchildren are made to weave camouflage nets. At the same time, the Patriotic Alphabet was created in the Magadan region.
The Serditaya Chuvashiya [Angry Chuvashia] Telegram channel reports about the grand opening of the “Hero’s Desks” in the school of Bolshiye Yalchiki village in honor of Senior Sergeant of the Airborne Forces Aleksandr Malov who used to study there. On Dec. 26, he spoke to schoolchildren, and on Jan. 23 he was killed in the war.
Another student recited poems glorifying members of illegal armed groups.
The Fontanka media outlet published an interview with Chairman of the Defense Committee of the State Duma Andrey Kartapolov about his proposed idea of creating fighter battalions from the local population in the border regions to protect the borders.
The Govorit NeMoskva [NonMoscow Is Speaking] Telegram channel found methodological recommendations for organizing and holding events dedicated to the Victory Day on May 9. Among other standard activities in this manual, a campaign to create video messages by war veterans which have to “emphasize the fact that the Russian Army in Ukraine is fighting Nazism, following in World War II soldiers’ footsteps” was the one that caught the attention of the channel.