mobilization briefs
August 30

Mobilization in Russia for Aug. 28-29, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] compiled the available information concerning recent raids on immigrants and schemes to send them to the frontline, including refusals to consider their citizenship applications until they sign a military service contract with the Ministry of Defense. For his part, Governor of the Kaluga region Vladislav Shapsha denied that such a practice exists in his region: "Maybe those who complain do not understand Russian well and they have the impression that they are being forced to sign a contract, instead of just being offered one. In this case, we do not need such citizens. They should learn the Russian language first." We covered the immigrants’ complaints in one of our previous summaries.

Custody department officials in the city of Bratsk, Irkutsk region, have been urging orphans under their care to enlist and fight in the war, in order to jump the waitlist for housing, which the state has an obligation to provide. According to the Sota media outlet, the officials have been using their personal accounts for this purpose. The practice of giving priority for state housing to orphans, who participate in the war, exists in a number of regions. The Cherta media outlet identified at least 20 orphans who volunteered to fight in the war and have since been killed.

Draft notices will be sent in Omsk at the beginning of next month to summon reservists to a 4-day military training scheduled to start on Sept. 14. One source of the NGS55 local news portal, however, says that the training could last for up to a month and is intended "for those who served in the army to keep fit." Reservists can be called up for military training until they reach the age of 50, or 65 for officers.

Authorities of the Voronezh region now offer the sign-up bonus of 120,000 rubles [$1252] to conscripts, who agree to sign a contract with the Ministry of Defense. Earlier, it was paid only to civilians who enlist.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Eduard Babaylov and Valery Isakov from the Sverdlovsk region, and Andrey Kashapov from the Perm region.

Relatives of the mobilized soldiers from the Moscow region have complained to the regional governor about the "Volki [Wolves] PMC," which has been keeping their loved ones on the frontline for almost six months and sending them to storm enemy positions without proper training. According to the relatives' statements, the men were initially drafted into the 352nd Regiment, but they were later transferred under the command of the "Volki PMC," while the unit number on their military IDs was changed. The soldiers also complain about the lack of leave and promised payments from the Ministry of Defense.

A soldier from Crimea, who had previously reported death threats from the command of the 810th Brigade and the denial of medical assistance, recorded a video in which he "disproved the materials and audio that were posted on the Astra Telegram channel" (links 1, 2, 3 to the publications on the channel). Journalists believe that the new video was recorded under pressure. The soldier has not been in contact since Aug. 23.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

Previously convicted former mercenary of the Wagner Group, 37-year-old Aleksandr V., has been arrested in the Rostov region for the rape of a minor. A criminal case has been opened against him under the corresponding article, and he is currently in a pre-trial detention center.

An 18-year-old conscript soldier escaped from a military unit in Novocherkassk [Rostov region] on Aug. 25. It is unknown whether the conscript is armed and why he decided to escape. The Ministry of Internal Affairs did not comment on his escape.

The Military Court of Cassation upheld the verdict against Aleksandr Leshkov, a mobilized soldier who was convicted of assaulting a senior officer in November 2022. At first, Leshkov was sentenced to 5.5 in a maximum security penal colony, later the court of appeal increased this punishment to seven years of imprisonment.

On the morning of Aug. 29, a 21-year-old man was detained near a military commissariat [enlistment office] in Ufa, the capital of Russia's constituent Republic of Bashkortostan. He came to the collection point with gasoline and matches, and attempted to flee upon seeing the police. The man was detained, the motive for his actions is being investigated.

A Moscow court has extended the arrest of 36-year-old Aleksey Tikhomirov on charges of setting fire to relay cabinets. This case dates back to April, but it has not been reported until now.

In the Stavropol region, a treason case has been initiated against a resident already suspected of an act of terror due to an administrative building arson. Law enforcement said he planned the arson at the behest of the "Freedom of Russia Legion."

In the Omsk region, the Federal Security Service (FSB) detained a 21-year-old man who allegedly set fire to relay cabinets on behalf of the "Freedom of Russia Legion" to prevent deliveries of military equipment to the frontline. The detained, whom the law enforcement officers call an "agent of the Ukrainian intelligence services," has had a criminal case initiated against him on charges of sabotage, aiding terrorist activities, and high treason.

Besides, the FSB reported the detention of a resident of the Kaluga region suspected of planning a terrorist attack on a critical infrastructure facility in Kaluga. Allegedly, after the attack, he intended to join the Azov Regiment. The man was arrested and charged with intended treason, terrorism, and aiding terrorist activities.

Assistance

In the Krasnodar region, on the eve of Sept. 1, Cossacks presented stationery supplies to the families of participants in the war with Ukraine. Meanwhile, in the Republic of North Ossetia–Alania [Russia's constituent republic], members of the Berzayushka Cossack choir and employees of the local cultural center in the town of Ardon engaged in weaving camouflage nets for the Russian Army.

A resident of Kamchatka who took part in the war with Ukraine was granted veteran benefits only after the involvement of the regional prosecutor's office. According to information on the social fund's website, the monthly benefit equals 3,896 rubles [$40].

The Vladimir branch of the pro-government All-Russia People's Front movement has launched the Cheburashka Mobilization campaign. The activists suggested knitting Cheburashkas (a character from Soviet children's literature) for participants in the military intervention in Ukraine.

Children

The Agentstvo.Novosti [Agency News] Telegram channel reports that, according to the Federal Institute of Pedagogical Measurements, all tasks for the Unified State Exam [graduation examination in Russia’s schools] on history relating to the war in Ukraine will be compiled according to a new history textbook co-authored by presidential adviser Vladimir Medinsky.

Governor of Saint Petersburg Aleksandr Beglov officially confirmed that more than 800 military men and children of participants in the war in Ukraine had been admitted to the city universities.

Raisa Kassina, Minister of Education and Science of the Perm region, proposed creating exhibitions in schools dedicated to the heroes of the "special military operation" and museum memory corners. Meanwhile, an installation in honor of the war in Ukraine with quotes from Putin has already been set up in a school in Cheboksary after the repair.

Pro-war volunteers from Surgut held several meetings with children right in the courtyards of the town and showed quadcopters, weapons and anti-drone guns purchased to be sent to the frontline. They also explained the necessity of the "special military operation" to the children.

In Omsk, children were asked to draw soldiers for a contest held by a contract military service recruitment facility. According to the organizers, "this event gives children and teenagers a sense of belonging to their national culture, to what is happening in the country, and helps them understand why adults must take up arms and stand up for Russia."

Longreads

Denis Volkov, the director of the Levada Centre [Russian independent, nongovernmental polling and sociological research organization], shared whether opinion polls in modern Russia can be trusted, what influenced the mood of Russians over a year and a half of the war, how they explain their support of military action and how young people in Russia react to what is happening.

During the first year of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, suppliers of the Russian Ministry of Defense doubled their profits—such is the conclusion of the Vyorstka media outlet, which analyzed the reports of 97 Voentorg company contractors. More than a third of these contractors concealed their financial statements for 2022, and those contractors who did not, significantly increased their revenue and profit. Only for food, tailoring, laundry and bath services for Russian soldiers the Ministry of Defense could have spent more than 134 billion rubles [$1,4 billion] in a year.

The Lyudi BaikalĐ° [People of Baikal] independent media outlet tells the story of the rector of an orthodox church in Bratsk. This priest participated in the war against Ukraine as a volunteer fighter for almost six months, and upon his return, continued to serve in the church. The Russian Orthodox Church authorities did not see any violations or obstacles to the continuation of his service, although according to the canon, a priest who took up arms should be defrocked.