mobilization briefs
February 15, 2023

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

Mobilized individuals will lose social guarantees and compensations if the decree ending mobilization is issued before the end of the military conflict,” this was the answer received by Artur Gayduk, a member of the Pskov regional Assembly from the Yabloko party. He requested the Ministry of Defense to issue a decree ending mobilization. Earlier, Gayduk received an answer from the Presidential Administration that the decree was in effect because the “military commissariats are continuing to fill out military regiments” with volunteer fighters and contract soldiers.

Meduza [an independent Russian media outlet] gathered all of the various explanations given by the government as to why the president has not signed the decree ending mobilization.

Vyacheslav Volodin, Speaker of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia], stated that 60% of those Russian citizens who left the country have returned, “By the way, more than 60% of those who left [abroad], returned and resumed work at the same workplace as before.”

Yevgeny Popov, a member of the State Duma Committee on Informational Policy, Technologies, and Communications, sent a request to the Prosecutor General’s Office to investigate the Gardarika company for possible violations in executing government contracts (Popov erroneously named the company Garda). We have earlier reported on the story concerning purchases of military uniforms from this company by the Ministry of Defense. More details about the situation with the procurement of military uniforms by the Ministry of Defense can be found in materials by the Vyorstka media outlet.

Sergey Zlatogorsky, the head of the town of Kuznetsk in the Penza region, proposed to send unemployed people to the war in Ukraine. He offered this suggestion after reporting on the number of unemployed in the town — which there’re 256 of. As a reminder, a similar initiative was offered earlier by Maksim Ivanov, a member of the State Duma from the United Russia party [Putin’s ruling party].

Seven members of the State Duma informed that they went to join the war as part of the “Kaskad” special unit. However, it turns out that their action is limited to words and fighting behind the backs of professional soldiers. Additional details can be found in the reporting of the Mozhem Оb’yasnit [We can explain] Telegram channel.

Buryatia [Russia’s constituent republic in eastern Siberia] sent 1.9 billion rubles in support of the “special military operation”. This news was shared by Ivan Alheev, deputy chairman of the government of the republic. At the same time, in 2023, the budget deficit in the republic will reach 7.3 billion rubles (almost 7%). In the Kabansk region of Buryatia, government workers are forced to donate a day’s wage to the purchase of an automobile, thermal cameras, drones, and other military equipment.

It became known that graduating students in the Volgograd region are being forced to sign application requests to voluntarily go through drafting activities during their deferment. This way, the draft office can circumvent the law and draft the students of universities, colleges, vocational and specialized schools while they are still eligible for a deferment.

The residents of Baikonur, a city in Kazakhstan, are being promised a one-off payment of 260,000 rubles (around 3,500 dollars) for participating in the war. The head of the Baikonur city administration has issued a decree on “social support measures” for draftees and volunteer fighters. By signing a contract, the city residents lay a claim on a one-off payment of 260,000 rubles. They are being promised that the money will be transferred to a Russian bank account. It is worth reminding that Baikonur, alongside the Baikonur Cosmodrome, is on lease to Russia until 2050.

The relatives of the draftees from Kaliningrad region have recorded a video message in which they have told that their relatives had been sent to the combat activities zone under the command of the People's Militia of the so-called DPR, which instructed them to join the assault infantry even though they were trained as Territorial Defense Forces. Their relatives are calling on Anton Alikhanov, Governor of the Kaliningrad region, to get involved in this situation.

The Governor of the Irkutsk region met the “draftees’ wives” after the soldiers’ complaints about their transfer to the assault infantry. Among others, Yulia Domashevskaya, head of a local office of the “Fatherland warriors’ families committee,” was present. She said that local authorities had “helped, supported and solaced” the women. Yet it remained unclear whether any decision regarding the draftees was made. At the same time, several relatives of those draftees have told the Lyudi Baikala [People of Baikal] media outlet that they didn’t hear anything about the meeting with the governor and were not invited by anyone. Moreover, one of the women said that she was banned from the governor’s Telegram channel after she wrote several messages there asking for help.

The draftees keep being killed at war. It became known about the deaths of two officials from Yugra [a federal subject of Russia]: Maksim Dyomin and Nikolay Tarasov. Among those killed are also a 35-year-old private first class Maksim Arefyev from Prudnya village in the Vladimir region, a 41-year-old Nikolay Markelov from the Sverdlovsk region, and Mikhail Laptev from the town of Tulun in the Irkutsk region.

On the first night of this year, a draftee from Samara reportedly walked out of the vocational school in Makiivka, where he was being stationed, as he was planning to smoke some marijuana in the company of other soldiers. This twist of fate saved him from the deadly strike of the Ukrainian rocket. Within an hour of midnight, all servicemen were ordered to gather in the assembly hall to watch Putin's New Year's address to the nation on TV. Rather than that, a group of 15-20 soldiers decided to "step outside to get some fresh air.” This decision saved their lives. It should be noted that, at the moment, we are unable to independently verify this report.

RIA Novosti [Russian state-owned news agency] posted a video showing units composed of mobilized residents of Bashkiria [Russia’s constituent republic] engaged in training activities on a training ground in the Zaporizhzhia region. Meanwhile, the Russian Ministry of Defense released footage featuring crews of modernized BRM-1K reconnaissance vehicles being trained in the rear area of the “special military operation.”

In the military settlement of Yelansky in the Sverdlovsk region, where mobilized people from all over the Urals are brought for combat training, authorities have been trying to curb alcohol abuse for months. But putting a ban on the sale of alcohol did not stop the draftees from drinking. According to local residents, the mobilized live “as if it were their last day.” For more details about what happens in Yelansky, check out the longread released by the Novaya Vkladka [The New Tab] media outlet.

In the Krasnoyarsk region, a 27-year-old man was mobilized despite being exempt from military service due to a reserved occupation. He has been in the combat zone since Nov. 5. His wife appealed to the mayor of Achinsk and to the military commissar of the Krasnoyarsk region, but to no avail. Similarly, in Moscow, a father of a disabled child who also has a reserved occupation was mobilized, and his wife has been struggling to bring him back home for five months. The military commissar of the Kuzminsky district confirmed to her that her husband was included in the General Staff’s list of citizens eligible for deferment and sent a notification thereof to the commander but refused to follow up any further.

The verdict of Vladislav Borisenko from the city of Nizhnevartovsk, who set fire to a draft office with his friend last May, was appealed by the defense. As we mentioned in our previous summaries, Vladislav Borisenko became the first ever individual in Russia convicted of arson of a draft office. Initially, Borisenko, as well as the second arsonist, Vasily Gavrylishen, was only accused of disorderly conduct and of causing intentional damage to property — which is a less serious offense carrying a maximum penalty of only five years imprisonment. Later, the accusation was reclassified as “terrorism.” Vladislav Borisenko was sentenced to 12 years of imprisonment, and Vasily Gavrilishen, who reached a plea deal with the prosecutor, may be facing up to 10 years in prison.

Four residents of the Penza region, aged 16 to 24, are accused of starting fires that occurred on Dec. 21 and 22 last year at railroad tracks near Penza. A relay cabinet and a substation powering one of the railways burned down as a result. Initially, the group was charged with the destruction of property (Russian Criminal Code Article 167), for which they could be sentenced to up to five years in a penal colony. Later, however, the prosecution requalified the charge as an act of sabotage (Russian Criminal Code Article 281), and the young men are now facing up to 20 years in prison.

In the Krasnoyarsk region, three young men, aged 19 to 21, have been detained under suspicion of setting fire to a transformer substation. Citing its sources, the Astra Telegram channel reports that criminal sabotage charges were filed on Feb. 13 under Article 281 of the Russian Criminal Code. The young men allegedly attempted to burn down a transformer substation in the village of Ovsyanka between Dec. 20 and 31.

A 19-year-old Rostov region resident has been sentenced to four years in a penal colony in connection with the arson of a draft office. The young man was found guilty under Article 213 of the Russian Criminal Code ("conspiracy to commit hooliganism") as well as Article 167 (“premeditated attempt to destroy the property of others”).

In northern Crimea, workers are being hired to prepare trenches. As trenches are being dug for defensive purposes, the job is to line them with wood on the inside. The workers are being paid on an hourly basis. The employment is expected to last “for 2–3 months, many people are needed, [and] one can start right away.” Recall that in many instances, citizens who went to do similar work were unlawfully sent to the war or have not been paid the salary promised to them.

In relation to the war in Ukraine, Russian defense factories are facing record shortages of qualified personnel. Losses caused by mobilization as well as mass emigration of Russian citizens, made the situation significantly worse. A case in point is defense enterprises located in the Vladimir region that are experiencing severe staff shortages. These plants have vacancies in more than 300 specialties and are planning to fill them at a “job fair.”

Russian schoolchildren are urged to write letters to soldiers fighting in Ukraine. At the same time, they are asked not to use blue and yellow colors and not to mention mobilization and tactical regroupings of Russian troops. Meanwhile, in the Zabaykalsky region, teachers make camouflage nets after work. In Bashkortostan [Russia’s constituent Republic], students of the Krasnousolsk boarding school are collecting aid for the participants of the “special military operation”. In Kuzbass [Kemerovo region], children who had found themselves in a difficult life situation were made to draw postcards for soldiers at the front.

A video was filmed in the village of Suromna, Vladimir region, showing children in a kindergarten talking about their love for soldiers. While watching the video, one can hear that words are being prompted to the children by a voiceover of an adult. The children are holding handmade presents for the soldiers for the Defender of the Fatherland Day on Feb. 23 in their hands. Some of the handicrafts have a ‘Za Podedu’ [For Victory] inscription on them.

At the recent "Talking About Important Things" lessons, schoolchildren from grades 1 to 11 were shown a video address by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. He stated that people in Russia “feel like one family” continuing the traditions of their ancestors and offered schoolchildren to visit the front to "help their country."

Parishioners of the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Krasnodar were offered to consecrate aid for the Russian servicemen. There was an announcement on the door of the cathedral saying that priest Father Mikhail "undertook the mission of consecrating the volunteer aid" for Russian soldiers. In the morning hours (from 7 to 10 a.m.) Father Mikhail charges 780 rubles for consecrating the "volunteer aid", while later (from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.), the price goes up to 1230 rubles.

A court in South Korea allowed Russians trying to escape mobilization to enter the country. They had lived right at the airport for several months, and on Tuesday, the Incheon District Court ruled in favor of two of the three Russians. The decision against the third applicant will be appealed.