mobilization briefs
February 19, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Feb. 17–18, 2023, CIT volunteer summary 

According to Putin’s order signed on Nov. 25, a single electronic database of information including phone numbers, e-mail addresses, places of registration and driver's licenses, real estate, and vehicles belonging to people registered as liable for military service, as well as their places of work, criminal records, family and health status, will be operational from Apr. 1, 2024. However, it is reported that a test release is ready, and the database may be tested this spring. In the opinion of the authorities, digitizing military registration files and adding data from other databases operated by the state will make the next call-up less chaotic compared to the first mobilization wave, when draft notices were issued to seriously ill men, fathers of many children, students and even the deceased. Additionally, the newly created database will make it easier for authorities to close country borders for "evaders".

Students of the Moscow State Academy of Veterinary Medicine, named after K.I. Scriabin and its Canine College are forced to attend a meeting with a military commissar on Feb. 21. Young men are reassured that conscripts will not be sent to the war. The reasons for the student's participation in the meeting remain unknown: they hold a deferral from military service.

After a conscript from the Komi region committed suicide [we covered this story in one of our recent summaries], several human rights projects, anti-war activists, and more than 40 active and former municipal assemblies members from Moscow and the Moscow region, St. Petersburg, Tula, Novgorod, Kurgan, and Krasnodar regions wrote an open letter to federal authorities demanding to protect the rights of conscientious objectors.

The following names have been added to the list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war: Dmitry Sergunin, Vladimir Boyarinov, and Yaroslav Nikolaev, all from the Yaroslavl region, and Mikhail Goshkoev from Petrozavodsk.

Draftees from the Omsk region have recorded a video address to the President. They stated that they had been trained as artillerists and that on Jan. 5, 2023, they had been sent to the so-called DPR. Once there, they were presumably, divided and assigned to several different units. Then, the mobilized soldiers were told that they had been placed under the command of the “DPR Army.” “They started to drive us to a training ground and retrain us as infantrymen. After several such trips, they started demanding money for gas. A refusal from us would mean that we don’t need training and are ready for combat at the front,” stated those on camera for the video address. Authors of the address asked to be transferred back under the command of Russian officers.

In St.Petersburg, at least five draftees succeeded in getting themselves subjected to a medical examination and then deemed as temporarily or permanently unfit for military service as a result. All of them were drafted at the very beginning of mobilization and had to fight for a month or more to be assigned to an appropriate service fitness category (D or E).

A man drafted by mistake now owes money to the state. The man was mobilized in the fall and received all the payments. However, three months later, it appeared that he was not supposed to be drafted for health reasons. Currently, he is back at home, his health has become worse, and he has to repay in excess of 100 thousand rubles.

The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation shows footage of tactical training of motorized infantry from the Central Military District in the rear of the so-called “special military operation.”

In Kaliningrad, several juveniles have been detained under suspicion of cooperating with the Ukrainian Security Service. Information that emerged on Feb.14 on local social network groups telling of setting fire to relay cabinets at the Ryabinovka train station in Kaliningrad led to the arrests. Later, a video appeared showing unidentified persons filming burning relay cabinets.

The Novosibirsk Garrison Court-Martial convicted Captain Aleksandr Zakharov, who was accused of larceny after stealing 120 thousand rubles worth of hospital staples from a military hospital. He was sentenced to two years of probation. It should be noted that the maximum penalty for this type of offense is six years of imprisonment. In the meantime, funds are being raised all across Russia to purchase medicines and medical equipment for military personnel.

French supermarket chain Auchan vehemently denied its involvement in supplying goods to the Russian Army in Ukraine. The company commented on the investigation report published by Le Monde, The Insider, and Bellingcat media outlets. The report revealed that shortly after the start of the invasion, Auchan employees in Saint-Petersburg prepared pallets full of goods collected from the company warehouse to be delivered to the Russian military. Auchan alleged that the order of groceries, clothing items, and other consumer goods had been made by the city administration. The company denied giving those items away for free at its own expense and insisted on not knowing who the final recipient of the goods was.

Residents of Izhevsk continue to protest against the plan to repurpose the shopping mall called Italmas as a drone-production plant. The new owners are evicting the mall’s businesses, including a bathhouse, using fire safety restrictions as a pretext. Meanwhile, the Udmurtia against Corruption Telegram channel claims that the owner of the bathhouse, who had signed the lease agreement with the shopping mall for a period of 30 years, never received a termination notice.

Patients from the Mamontovsky psychiatric-neurological boarding school in the Altai region for kids with a profound degree of mental retardation collected 105,700 rubles for the war with Ukraine. The money was used to purchase medicines, food, T-shirts, underwear, cigarettes, and hygiene products. It should be noted that 75% of the funds that patients receive from the state, the boarding school keeps for itself.

Volunteers of school No. 35 in the city of Chita purchased wheelchairs, crutches, and walkers for servicemen who were seriously injured in the war with Ukraine. For these purposes, according to Kristina Vaskovskaya, the adviser to the director of educational work at the school, 2,000 rubles per class were collected from the students, and 500 rubles were taken from each class teacher. Meanwhile, the Committee of Veterans of the War in Afghanistan and Chechnya in the city of Chaikovsky, Perm region, is organizing “patriotic" events.  As a part of a “patriotic tour" to schools and kindergartens, children are shown cartridges, pointed rifles at them, and taught how to shoot.

A new form of fundraising, a lottery, has appeared in chats of the war supporters. To participate, one needs to buy tickets, one of which has a prize, usually something homemade (cakes, toys, etc.) Thus, in one of these chats, ”Tashtagol district. Ours are us!”, the knitted “Cheburashka-Chevykashka” is played out. [Chevykashka is a playful word derivative from a private military company abbreviation].

On March 9, in Verkhoturye town, Sverdlovsk region, a ski race will be held in memory of the kid’s coach Oleg Litovskikh, who was killed in the war with Ukraine. The man was drafted at the end of September and was killed a month later. His widow secured funds to hold a race in his memory.