mobilization briefs
February 21, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Feb. 19–20, 2023 CIT volunteer summary  

The Governors of the Tyumen and Yugra regions have visited the so-called LPR and DPR. Governor of the Tyumen region Aleksandr Moor visited servicemen of a field maintenance unit formed of residents of the Tyumen region who now serve in Krasnodon (Sorokyne) in the “LPR”. Moor brought the equipment that the maintainers needed to perform the repairs along with the parcels from their relatives. Head of the Khanty-Mansi — Yugra region Natalya Komarova visited Yugra’s servicemen and volunteer fighters now stationed in the “LPR” and “DPR”. She has also visited Makiivka and has delivered gear requested by the servicemen to the units. Furthermore, during her trip, Komarova became a guest of honor at the wedding of a mobilized soldier from Pyt-Yakh. The wedding was celebrated in the area of “special military operation.”

Governor of the Omsk region Alexander Burkov said that the authorities of the region would address the Ministry of Defense after the mobilized soldiers of the 504th Tank Regiment complained about “the details we learned about regarding the regiment’s disbandment, collection of funds for fuel, and the re-assignment of the servicemen of course warrant clarifications. We await the feedback and in the meantime work on connecting with the commanders of the units in Donetsk.”

Head of the Petrovsk-Zabaykalsky district of the Zabaykalsky region Nikolay Goryunov stated that since the beginning of mobilization about 170 men from the district were mobilized. Only about 15,000 people reside in the region. It is worth recalling that back in the fall Andrey Gurulyov, member of the State Duma [lower house of Russia’s Parliament] stated that, according to the latest quota that the region received, 860 were supposed to be sent to serve in the armed forces. The population of the region is 1 million people.

According to Ukrainian Energoatom [National Nuclear Energy Generating Company], more than 600 Russian mobilized soldiers and cadets are stationed in the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station. “They are stationed in the power plant’s bomb shelter, awaiting the transfer to the Donetsk axis of the frontline.”

The reports about mobilized soldiers getting killed in the war in Ukraine continue to surface. Among the killed ones are Vadim Kaloev (commander of the platoon of mobilized soldiers of the 429th Motorized Rifle Regiment ), Bryansk region native 36-year-old Andrey Loktionov, 28-year-old Kirill Schvadovitch from Arkhangelsk, and also Stavropol region native 24-year old Pavel Korchagin. Korchagin managed to give an interview saying how he liked to be in combat before he got killed. Meanwhile, a whole photo album with pictures of servicemen who got killed was posted in a group chat of Kandalaksha town of the Murmansk region; it already contains 26 photos of the mobilized soldiers who got killed while the total population of the town is less than 30,000 people. In addition, the name of the 111th soldier who got killed in the Makiivka strike is now known. Daniil Besfamylnikh was among the ones missing in action earlier, and today he was buried in his home village.

Six conscripts died in the Kursk region. The servicemen inadvertently poured gasoline into their stove while stoking it in the dugout. It resulted in an explosion, and only two servicemen managed to run outside. The bodies of six conscripts have not yet been found, as water is still being pumped out of the dugout after the fire has been extinguished. The accident was confirmed by the Russian Ministry of Defense, “Today, as a result of a gross violation of safety requirements by the servicemen of the Western Military District in the Kursk region, a fire broke out in the dugout. Six servicemen died, and an investigation is underway."

A serviceman from Murmansk attempted suicide in a military unit in the Leningrad region. The man is in grave condition after inflicting deep cuts in the abdomen and veins on his arms and neck and is hospitalized.

According to the Mobilizatsiya [Mobilization] Telegram channel, 36-year-old Moscow resident Alexey Balashov was called up on Oct. 12, 2022, despite having a reserved occupation as an IT specialist. A military commissar ignored a deferral letter provided by the man. Despite the official request sent by the Ministry of Finance to the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces to release Alexey from military service, the man is still not demobilized and now, according to his wife, is being sent to the Kharkiv area.

The Vyorstka media outlet told the story of a draftee who, during the call-up period, went to a military commissariat to "prove himself valuable", lived in the trenches for three months, could not stand it, and returned home on his own. Independent media outlet Meduza has released an article on how Russian authorities have been fighting the "disloyalty" of the Crimean Tatars since 2014 and why the fall call-up campaign in Crimea is called the genocide of the entire people. The Sibir.Realii media outlet [part of RFE/RL] interviewed a professional serviceman who found himself at the front from the very first days of the invasion. In order to escape from the combat zone, he had to commit self-injury, and after the announcement of mobilization escaped to Kazakhstan.

Due to a debt write-off, a draftee deployed in the "special military operation" zone threatened to blow up a branch of VTB Bank [Russian majority state-owned bank]. A few days ago, a bank employee talked to a client from St. Petersburg, Ivan S. The client expressed dissatisfaction with the recent write-off of 11,000 rubles, claimed that it was erroneous, and threatened to blow up the bank and bailiffs with grenades. Police officers inspected several bank branches in the city with detection dogs but did not find any grenades. As a result of a false terrorist attack report, the draftee is being checked, but his location in a combat zone makes finding him difficult.

The Astra Telegram channel has uncovered the name of the man detained on Feb. 17 at a railway station in Moscow carrying two grenades and four fuses: he turned out to be 41-year-old Vladimir Zhigalov, presumably a mercenary of the Wagner group. At least, that is what the man told the police at first and later changed his testimony, presenting himself as a transient laborer for hire.

The Investigative Committee of Russia opened a criminal case against a military doctor for refusing to participate in combat. Denis Vasilyev, a 2022 graduate of a military medical academy, had been serving in one of the military units of the Northern Fleet since last summer. In September, he was presented for early discharge from the army but could not resign due to the soon-announced "partial" mobilization. Thereafter, due to personal convictions, the doctor refused to execute the order to leave for the combat zone. On Jan. 20, 2023, the military investigation department of the garrison opened a criminal case against him under the article for failure to comply with an order during the mobilization period. Now he faces up to three years in prison.

Supyan Khuzhulov, a member of the regional assembly of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous region, who was deployed to the war zone back in April 2022, has not yet been able to receive a veteran identification card, "First, I applied to a Multifunctional Public Services Center [for the provision of state and municipal services], from there I was directed to the department for social support, and then to a draft office. Ultimately, they told me I had to request a card in Rostov. I have all the required documents. But at the draft office, they simply told me they couldn't care less for me."

The Russian Orthodox Church allowed Russian service members in the “special military operation” zone to skip fasting during the upcoming Great Lent. In the town of Volzhsky in the Volgograd region, medical college students on a field trip to the Church of Nativity were offered to apply for early conscription into military service. 6th-year students at the Omsk State Medical University were offered to intern at Military Unit No.64712. College students in Moscow were promised excused absences and plaid blankets if they stood by the stage at the Luzhniki Stadium during the Feb.22 rally/concert in honor of the first anniversary of the war. In addition, organizers are trying to lure spectators to the event with promises of free food.

Russia’s regions are conducting fund-raising telethons to collect funds for the “special military operation” by Feb. 23 [Fatherland Defender Day in Russia]. Under the motto “Everything for the victory!,” governors go on local TV to motivate people to contribute money for equipment and outfitting for the military and for the population of the so-called LPR and DPR. Stations also air stories “from the frontlines” and reports featuring residents of the “people’s republics.”. In the Primorsky region, works by local artists will be featured at an art show/sale organized in support of the “special military operation” participants.

In the Krasnodar region, almost 2.5 million rubles are being spent on billboards featuring portraits of the “special military operation” participants. In the village of Voskhod, Sakhalin island, families of draftees have been distributed a bag of navaga [small fish from the cod family] each.

Russian State Circus Company (Rosgoscirc) has purchased helmets and body armor for 2.3 million rubles. The corresponding contract was found by Polygon Media [an independent Russian media outlet] on the government procurement portal. A Rosgoscirc representative explained that the helmets and body armor were purchased for business trips of employees to the territories of “LPR” and “DPR”.

In the Ural Federal District, various military-themed events are being held for children as part of the "Week of Courage" project. In Yekaterinburg, for example, toddlers from four kindergartens competed in providing medical assistance, went through an obstacle course, and played as sappers. Meanwhile, female students from the sixth to eighth grade who performed as cheerleaders took first place in the Ural Federal District championship in cheerleading, with a routine about war set to the song "Donbas is Behind Us." In a Novouralsk school, first and second-graders competed in marching and sang songs about the army. In the meantime, in the Krasnoyarsk region, representatives of the Young Army [pro-Kremlin youth organization] held a lesson on marching for children in a kindergarten and also taught them how to disassemble and assemble an assault rifle.

In honor of the special forces soldier from Chita Albert Mavlikhanov, who was killed in the war in Ukraine, a hockey competition for children was held. The children were awarded the winner's cups from the 29th Combined Arms Army, certificates of honor, sweet prizes, and special prizes from the parents of the deceased soldier and from a member of the City Duma.