mobilization briefs
February 24, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Feb. 22–23, 2023 CIT volunteer summary 

President Putin said that he had discussed with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow issues of additional state benefits for chaplains serving in the combat zone. A suitable level of support will be provided to the clergy, according to Putin.

The Kremlin is discussing the possibility of introducing "coffin capital": payments to relatives of servicemen killed in the Ukrainian war in a form similar to "maternity capital" [federal subsidies for multiple-child families]. In this case, the money can only be spent on certain purposes prescribed by the law. A source of the Sota Telegram channel close to the Russian Presidential Executive Office claims that the idea has not yet reached the stage of implementation: officials are weighing its pros and cons.

The Russian Government has submitted to the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly] a draft bill expanding the mechanisms for sending peacekeeping missions abroad. The draft bill makes conscripts and draftees eligible for being sent on a peacekeeping mission. This law will apply to legal relationships arising since Aug. 15, 2022, as previously reported.

[Russian] Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu signed a decree on reduced fares on public transport for volunteers participating in the war in Ukraine. They will be able to get free of charge to their military unit, volunteer formation, as well as a place of medical rehabilitation and home, but only once after the resignation.

Wounded in the "special military operation" were promised "comprehensive rehabilitation" in the Novosibirsk region. Sports training and general physical training will be provided to “persons with a lesion of the musculoskeletal system by discipline,” as well as to “deaf” and “blind” people. "Excursions, performances, concert programs, and film screenings" will also be offered.

A “mobile contract military service recruitment facility" was set up at the "Novosibirsk-Glavny" railway station on Feb. 23. Same facilities appeared in the courtyards of Yekaterinburg. According to local residents, there are no queues at the facilities. But the children’s shooting gallery nearby is really overcrowded.

The names of four more killed in the strike on Makiivka have become known: Pavel Rodionov, Sergey Pavlenko, Andrey Krzhizhevsky, and Sergey Labyntsev. Thus, at the moment, we already know 120 names of those killed in Makiivka. The locals visited the site of the strike on the vocational school on Feb. 23. Despite the promise of the authorities, no official memorial to fallen soldiers has yet appeared there.

In the Dzhidinsky and Kabansky districts of Buryatia [Russia’s constituent republic], festive events were canceled, and in the Tunkinsky district, a tournament in the Buryat folk game will not be held due to the funeral of soldiers. Over the past week, according to the Lyudi Baikala [People of Baikal] independent media outlet, at least six soldiers were buried in the Kabansky district, six in the Dzhidinsky district, and five in the Tunkinsky district. Nevertheless, the authorities of the republic staged mass events: on Feb. 22, they held a rally in honor of the Defender of the Fatherland Day (which is celebrated on Feb. 23), and on Feb. 19, a rally-concert was held where the head of Buryatia, Aleksey Tsydenov, read out a self-authored poem.

On Feb. 22, the RBC [Russian media group] media outlet, citing a representative of the military prosecutor's office, reported that the office had conducted an inspection and found no evidence of bodily harm of the mobilized soldiers from Tuva [Russia’s constituent republic]. Recall that previously mobilized Tuvans had published a video message with a complaint about the military authority of the so-called DPR. The latter allegedly had shot “not caring where,” forced them to do push-ups at gunpoint, and threatened them. On video recordings, the use of violence against one of the servicemen was captured.

In January, mobilized soldiers from the Irkutsk region recorded a video appeal, revealing that untrained men were being lured into assault detachments and then sent straight into combat. On Feb. 22, one of the authors of the video reached out to the People of Baikal and said that following the release of the video, the command had reassured them that they would not be used as stormtroopers. However, after some time, they were enrolled into assault units and forced to attack the AFU positions for an entire week.

Families of veterans of the war in Ukraine complain increasingly as regional authorities are failing to provide enough support to contract soldiers and volunteer fighters. Multiple comments with complaints were posted on the social media page of Dmitry Makhonin, Head of the Perm region.

Three residents of Achinsk were mobilized despite their reserved occupation. Moreover, the court canceled the mobilization decisions and ordered their return home. However, neither the Krasnoyarsk military commissariat [enlistment office], nor the Achinsk administration, nor the city prosecutor's office can enforce the court's decisions and refer to each other, saying that they do not have the authority to file a request for their dismissal.

In September last year, 41-year-old Saveliy from Ufa was mobilized, but very soon, he was returned home due to health reasons. He spoke about his life during training. The man still hopes to get back to the war.

In Volgograd, the prosecutor requested 4 years and 5 months in a penal colony for Denis Serdyuk, who is accused of setting fire to a draft office. The prosecution recognized Serdyuk's mother suffering from a chronic illness, guardianship of a child, confession, and cooperation with the investigation as extenuating circumstances. In Murmansk, on the morning of Feb. 23, a draft office was set on fire. A Molotov cocktail was thrown through the window. As a result, only the window frame was burned, and no one was injured.

The Makhachkala Garrison Military Court refused to consider the claims of the families of four mobilized fathers of many children from Dagestan [Russia’s constituent republic]. Relatives of Dagestan men sent to war have been insisting on the illegality of the mobilization. The court, in turn, cited the formal absence of a power of attorney signed by the mobilized.

On Sep. 26, 2022, residents of Nalchik, the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria Republic [Russia’s constituent republic], gathered on the main square to ask the head of the republic questions about mobilization. A few days later, one of the participants in the meeting, Svetlana Semyonova, was detained. Two protocols were drawn up against her: under Article 20.2 of the Code of Administrative Offences of the Russian Federation on rallies and under the article on “discrediting” the Army. On Jan. 13, the Supreme Court of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic terminated the proceedings and canceled the fine for the first charge. On Feb. 21, 2023, the Nalchik City Court considered the case on “discrediting the Army” and also terminated the proceedings.

In the Leningrad region, relatives of those killed in the war in Ukraine were presented with shaving foam and shampoo in honor of the Defender of Fatherland Day. Also, in honor of the holiday, the Ministry of Defense organized a teleconference between mothers, wives, and draftees. The Ministry of Labor of the Republic of Komi [Russia’s constituent republic], on the occasion of the Defender of the Fatherland Day, opened a hotline for emergency psychological assistance for a day to instill patriotism in children.

Telegram channels reported how the Defender of Fatherland Day was celebrated in schools and kindergartens. The “My country — my pride” nationwide youth festival took place at Depo Food Mall (near Belorusskaya metro station) in Moscow on Feb. 23.

Military-patriotic orthodox camps for children announce enrollment for the summer months of 2023. Attendants of such facilities are instilled with the idea that "the highest meaning of military service" is self-sacrifice. A scandal occurred in such a camp in St. Petersburg in July 2022: instructors shot children in the legs, systematically beat them, and forbade them to call home at a military training camp with the telling name "Defender." The Sirena Telegram channel shared the way camps are arranged and what campers go through there.