Russian President’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov redirected a question about the possibility of extending compulsory military service to two years to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
According to the Presidential Executive Office, "additional documents and materials" are necessary to determine whether a decree for the termination of mobilization is needed. In this regard, Boris Vishnevsky, a member of the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly, will receive an answer to the relevant request only in early February. In addition, Andrey Lysenko, military commissar for the Krasnoyarsk region, was asked whether more events are planned as part of the "partial" mobilization, and what should be done by those who received a draft note with a report date in January-February. The military commissar decided not to comment on this.
Russians who have emigrated will be prohibited from working remotely. Not everyone though — the list of professions will be determined by the Russian Government.
After the announcement of mobilization, volunteers who have signed contracts with the Ministry of Defense cannot break them now and are forced to continue their service. This fate befell, in particular, volunteers of the Shaimuratov Battalion [formed in Russia’s constituent Republic of Bashkortostan], who are not allowed to go home, despite the expiration of their contracts.
Relatives of the mobilized servicemen from the Altai region claim that their loved ones were sent to the front line as part of a company assembled from former convicts. According to the wife of one of the servicemen, her husband was brought to a tent camp in the Luhansk region on December 17 where he received a uniform and was immediately sent to the front. The man turned out to be a member of a company assembled from former convicts. Now he is stationed in a village in the Lyman direction, where not only service members live, but also civilians and refuseniks who were kicked out into the streets by their fellow soldiers. Soldiers are not given any specific orders, and conflicts between ex-convicts and mobilized soldiers regularly occur. On December 23, the men are going to be sent into battle. Many servicemen state that they would rather become refuseniks and live on the streets than become a Сargo-200 [killed].
The Russian Ministry of Defense talks about everyday life of the mobilized soldiers. Combat coordination continues at the training grounds of Belarus, and mobilized fighters from Kuban take tactical training every day. Active combat training of the mobilized soldiers in the Far East is underway. Mobilized tankers are being trained at the training grounds in the Zabaykalsky Region. A machine gunner named Dmitry reported preparations behind the lines of the "special military operation".
Combat everyday life of the mobilized soldiers is being brightened up by pop artists. Thus, the soloist of the Mosconcert Alexander Gladkov performed for the mobilized men in the Rostov Region. “Many times I had to perform in front of the military, but it was the first concert in front of the mobilized guys. I feel proud,” says Gladkov.
Buses with mobilized people left a training center in Novosibirsk with fireworks. “Going to Ukraine,” relatives and friends say at the gates of the training center. Transferring mobilized people from Tyumen continues. This time the local residents were accompanied by the mobilized from the Kama River area. The Governor of the Samara Region held a meeting with officers before going to war and talked about helping with supplies. He specifically emphasized that he was ready to come to the front in order to continue to sort out supply issues. Mayor of Novosibirsk Anatoly Lokot has also visited the mobilized soldiers from his region.
The E1.RU online portal tells the story of two twins from the Sverdlovsk region who ended up at the “special military operation” zone. One brother was killed there, and currently, the family is trying to return the second one home.
In the Penza region, two mobilized soldiers were poisoned with an unknown substance. One of them died. 31-year-old Aleksandr B. from Chuvashia [constituent republic of the Russian Federation], who was heading to Penza, died on the train. His body was found by his fellow soldier at the Kuznetsk-1 train station. According to preliminary information, he died due to poisoning with an unknown substance. The body of the deceased, as well as another soldier in critical condition, was taken to the toxicology unit of a local hospital. At the moment, the police are trying to determine the cause of poisoning and the death. In the military unit of the town of Klin, Moscow region, an engineer was killed. According to the ASTRA Telegram channel, the murder took place on the Klin-5 military airfield on the morning of Dec. 18. On suspicion of murder, a helicopter technician was detained. He is suspected of having killed his drinking companion with one head-shot of his service gun while drinking alcohol together.
The wives of mobilized soldiers from Mezhdurechensk (Kemerovo region) claimed that their children needed the help of psychologists. The kids miss their fathers, who are at the war in Ukraine. The authorities promised to help them and gave women tickets for children’s New Year parties in Kemerovo and Novokuznetsk. Volunteered and mobilized soldiers from Bashkortostan [constituent republic of the Russian Federation] who are currently at the frontline will be supplied with horsemeat sausages.
Online groups where Russian women seek relationships with military servicemen are gaining popularity in the Russian social network VKontakte. Since the beginning of the Russian invasion into Ukraine, new posts in such groups have been appearing daily. The Verstka news outlet found out why the women wanted to date military men specifically, how they were envisioning these relationships, why they were not deterred by the news of atrocities committed by the Russian army, what the military men themselves were seeking in such forums, and what kind of love stories the relationships started in such dating groups led to.
“I went on camera for money. The honorarium was 8 thousand rubles.” For about a month, videos calling upon men to sign a contract with the Russian military and go to war in Ukraine have been appearing in the Ya mobilizovan [I was drafted] public forum in the VKontakte social network. TheVazhnye Istorii [Important Stories] independent Russian investigative media outlet found actors from these propaganda videos and asked them why they had agreed to act in them and whether they understood that they were encouraging people to kill and be killed. In Moscow, migrant workers are being urged to sign army contracts and participate in the war in Ukraine. According to the Sota Telegram channel, flyers to that effect are being distributed near the Vykhino subway station.
Eduard Viktorovich Ploshking, a safety instructor from the town of Pyt-Yakh in the KhantyMansi Autonomous region, declared that as a true patriot, he was prepared to switch places with any draft evader. Moscow Culture Minister Aleksandr Kibovskiy cited the World War II era poem called Kill Him by Konstantin Simonov [the Soviet poet] and then concluded his recitation with the slogan, “To work, brothers!”
In November, the regular autumn military draft into the Russian Army started and roundups of young men eligible to serve followed. The draft offices are trying to enlist as many men as possible into the army during the draft period. In Moscow, the police — district officers, patrol officers, and even detectives — are being called upon to conduct raids. Roundups occur everywhere: in dormitories, hostels, cafes, on the subway, on the streets, and on the way to work. The men are even being searched for with the help of the Yula and Avito classified ad portals. The Mediazona independent news outlet has reported on the tricks the authorities were employing during the draft period and recommended what actions were better to avoid to evade the raids. Meanwhile in the Kursk region, the autumn draft quota has been 94% filled. The draft campaign in the region started already on November 1 but as of this moment, it is still ongoing. According to a statement by deputy governor of the region Aleksey Smirnov, several districts are so far unable to fill their quota.
In Chita, new figures of plastic soldiers with children and wives were placed on Lenin Square. The inscriptions “Mi Vmeste V 2023” [“We are TogeZer in 2023”] appeared there, as well as cubes with the inscription “Za SVOikh” [“For our SOldiers” — a reference to the “Special Operation”] and images of Ded Moroz [Grandfather Frost], a bunny and a bear cub. This composition cost the budget 400 thousand rubles. Meanwhile, boys studying in the Novorossiysk Cossack Cadet Corps weave camouflage nets to be sent to the front.
The Russian authorities are actively using the New Year to promote war. Despite the refusal of fireworks, big celebrations and sending the money saved on New Year's decorations to support Russian military personnel, Russian cities were still decorated for the main holiday of the year. The Sirena Telegram channel reports how much and what the authorities will spend money on preparing for the New Year.
A resident of Megion [town in Khanty-Mansi Autonomous region] was mobilized despite the fact that he was subject to a draft deferral. The man's grandmother is a person with a group 1 disability and there are no other relatives in the family. In this case, the officials helped: they addressed the military commissariat [enlistment office], and they agreed to send the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous region resident home.