September 25, 2022

Summary of the mobilization in the Russian Federation for September 23-24

Vladimir Putin signed a controversial Federal Law № 365, amending the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedural Code of the Russian Federation, which seriously toughens penalties for a number of articles related to military service, as well as introducing new articles in the Criminal Code.

Partial mobilization continues throughout the country. According to published videos, it is especially widespread in small towns and villages (for example, 200 people were taken from the town of Zlynka in the Bryansk region, which has a population of 5 thousand people). "Novaya Gazeta. Europe" media outlet tells about the village of Tyumenevo in the Kemerovo region, where all men were mobilized. It is likely that this strategy is related to the higher level of support for the war and the lower possibility of resisting mobilization in this kind of settlements.

"Conversations with a military commissar [translator’s note: head of a recruitment office in modern Russia]" category:

  • A military commissar in Nizhny Novgorod region reported "an incident" to the police after a relative of a conscript asked why people are being mobilized differently than Putin has promised;
  • Conversation of a commissar with the mobilized;
  • The Ministry of Defense scolded military comissars for negligent performance of duties during mobilization.

Mobilization is accompanied by numerous cases of violence at recruitment centers. Conflicts occur among conscripted men (video 1, video 2) and with government officials (Bolsherechye). Many incidents are caused by excessive alcohol consumption (video 1, video 2, video 3), "Vodka battalions" are at the march.

In addition to videos from reporting centers, videos with the mobilized at military bases emerged (video from Primorye region, video from Krasnodar Region). The mobilized started to receive uniforms and arms: rusty assault rifles were distributed, reportedly they were replaced later due to media hype, distribution of uniforms in Vladivostok, amulets were given to the mobilized in Buryatia. As expected, the logistics system of the Ministry of Defense cannot cope with so many mobilized (video). At the same time, a reshuffle happened in the Ministry of Defense: Colonel-General Mizintsev known as "The Butcher of Mariupol" took up the position of the head of logistics support of the Armed Forces, previously this position was held by Army General Bulgakov.

In general the morale of the mobilized is extremely low (conscripts in the town of Sasovo, Ryazan region, the town of Semyonovsk, Nyzhny Novgorod region, the village of Ekaterinoslavka, Amur region, and the village of Bolsherechye, Omsk region). The conscripts’ bravado is usually caused by alcohol. After meeting the realities of the Russian army, the recruits’ motivation will likely drop even more.

A textbook example of all the chaos described above is in the article by "Vazhnyye Istorii".

campaign in support of mobilization has been launched among government-paid bloggers with the message that "only 1% are mobilized, don’t worry, it’s not much, it probably wouldn’t affect you".

Reports continue to arrive about the mobilization of men who do not fall under the criteria announced by the Ministry of Defense, including those exempted from mobilization by enterprises they work for. A 51-year-old supply agent without military experience was mobilized in Volgograd region, an employee of a defense enterprise in Barnaul was handed a draft notice, a draft office in Vladimir region mobilized a full-time university student. Against the background of such reports, heads of several regions (Yakutia, Magadan, Buryatia, and Sevastopol) ordered the return home of all wrongfully mobilized people.

A number of outlets have prepared extensive materials to help those who wish to avoid mobilization: Meduza (an independent Russian news website, headquartered in Riga), Mediazona (an independent Russian news outlet that focused on the court and prison systems, and law enforcement in Russia), "Vazhnye Istorii" ("Important Stories", an independent Russian website specializing in investigative journalism), "Sluzhba Podderzhki" ("Helpdesk", an international non-profit organization) (post 1, post 2), Navalny’s team. Pavel Chikov, the head of the international human rights group Agora, notes that military legislation is one of the most confusing in the country, and, of course, there is no mobilization-related law enforcement precedent.

A new arson of a military registration and enlistment office took place, this time in Kansk (Krasnoyarsk region). Map of arsons of military enlistment offices and administrations in Russia for September 23-24. In Nizhny Novgorod, a 19-year-old suspect in the arson of a military registration and enlistment office was detained. In the city of Salavat, unidentified people set fire to the door of the ruling United Russia party office.

In the Belgorod region on September 23, a contract serviceman escaped with a weapon. The deserter was later detained by the police. The serviceman signed the contract a month ago, and, perhaps, having understood the impossibility to break the contract during the mobilization, decided to escape. Most likely, this will not remain a one-off incident.

Further protests against the mobilization, met with detentions and police violence, took place all over Russia (Novosibirsk, Moscow, Saratov, St. Petersburg, and Irkutsk). According to OVD-Info (an independent media project on human rights and political persecutions in Russia), on September 24, 2022, as of 19:03, 730 people were detained in 32 Russian cities.

Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov announced that there would be no mobilization in Chechnya, as the republic had already "exceeded the plan by 254%." At the same time, Novaya Gazeta.Europe claims that 564 ethnic Chechens from different regions of Russia were mobilized in Chechnya. Kadyrov also shamed draft dodgers and suggested sending half of the security forces to the war.

Charles Michel, President of the European Council said that Europe should accept Russians fleeing the mobilization, and Elbegdorj Tsakhia, the former president of Mongolia stated that the small peoples of Russia are used as "cannon fodder." He urged them to refuse to participate in the war and promised to accept them in Mongolia.