mobilization briefs
February 10

Mobilization in Russia for Feb. 8-9, 2024 CIT Volunteer Summary

Protests in Bashkortostan

In Bashkortostan [Russia's constituent republic], a working group has been established to protect the rights of the individuals detained during recent protests. The group was formed as a result of a directive issued by Governor Radiy Khabirov. It is composed of lawyers, human right defenders and community leaders. They will meet with relatives of the detained and provide protest participants legal assistance free of charge. It is worth noting that authorities have charged at least 55 protest participants with criminal offenses, while Bashkortostan courts have considered 152 misdemeanor cases. For his part, Khabirov spoke negatively about the protesters and refused to honor the memory of Rifat Dautov, who died in police custody.

On the night of Feb. 9, law enforcement officers took in for questioning the son of ecoactivist Ildar Yumagulov, who had emigrated after the beginning of the protests. Yumagulov does not know which case his son was questioned about, its procedural status, or whether he has been released since.

Authorities and Relatives of Mobilized Soldiers

Police in Moscow have begun issuing warnings to journalists who covered Saturday's protests by the wives of mobilized soldiers. According to the Sota media outlet, several such incidents have been reported. The warnings, issued on Feb. 9, mention administrative and criminal liability for participation in unauthorized rallies. According to the Ostorozhno, Novosti [Beware the News] Telegram channel, law enforcement officers are also delivering warnings to participants of the Saturday action from the Put Domoy [Way Home] movement. Plainclothes police officers visit women who were previously photographed at flower-laying events, including those unaffiliated with the movement who attended the event independently.

Meanwhile, activists from the Put Domoy movement are calling on all concerned citizens to gather across the country for a flower-laying event on Feb. 10, marking the movement’s tenth action. The previous similar event in Moscow ended with the detention of journalists, who were all released by evening, with administrative proceedings initiated against two detainees.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

Following a massive brawl at the Wildberries warehouse in the city of Elektrostal, Moscow region, police not only detained those most actively involved but also sent 15 men to the military commissariat [enlistment office]. These men, having acquired Russian citizenship, had not yet registered for military service.

Mobilized Soldiers, Volunteer Fighters and Contract Soldiers

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Aleksandr Klimkin from the Rostov region and Dmitry Ikhineev from Buryatia [Russia's constituent republic]. An obituary by the Tunkinsky National Park, where Ikhineev was employed, reveals his body has been in a destroyed tank near Vuhledar for over a year.

According to the Astra Telegram channel, servicemen from 155th Guards Naval Infantry Brigade have barricaded themselves in a building, refusing commanders’ orders despite threats of execution by firing squad. The soldiers claim they are being treated as "cannon fodder," sent to storm the village of Novomykhailivka without support and with no means to evacuate the wounded. Survivors are reportedly sent back into battle unarmed, except for knives. Furthermore, the soldiers say that their commanders have put "barrier troops" behind them. Such tactics reportedly resulted in the loss of 6 tanks, 3 MT-LB multi-purpose armored vehicles, and up to 200 casualties in capturing one position. The military personnel are planning to push for a change in leadership.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

In 2023, Russia's Ministry of Internal Affairs reported 410 registered acts of terror, marking the highest figure since 2004. This sharp increase, compared to 127 incidents in 2022 and 41 in 2021, can be attributed to the classification of anti-war protests as acts of terror by Russian authorities. Additionally, actions by Ukrainian military personnel are sometimes categorized similarly, further contributing to the uptick in reported incidents.

The Second Eastern District Military Court sentenced Russian citizen Vitaly Alekseyev to 12 years in prison for his involvement with the "Freedom of Russia Legion." According to the prosecution, Alekseyev shared information about employees of the Siberian Electronic Customs and the location of defense industry production facilities in Krasnoyarsk with the "Legion" via a Telegram chat. Additionally, he allegedly planned to throw flammable liquid at the local branch of the United Russia party in Krasnoyarsk. Alekseyev was apprehended on Sept. 11 after leaflets from the "Legion" appeared in Krasnoyarsk, purportedly distributed by him.

Meduza, an international Russian-language online media outlet, released an analysis of all currently known information regarding the case of Andrey Vasyurenko from Karelia, Russia’s constituent republic, who was sentenced to nine years in prison for incitement to terrorist activities and preparation for incitement to treason.

Children and Educational System

In the town of Pervouralsk, Sverdlovsk region, a paramilitary sports game called Zarnichka [Summer Lightning] was organized for children from kindergartens, during which the children competed in speed crawling through the snow with toy guns and participated in a quiz dedicated to Defender of the Fatherland Day. Meanwhile, in the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region–Yugra [Russia’s federal subject], plans are underway to teach disabled children march drills, hand-to-hand combat, and weapon handling.

At School No. 6 in Yuzhnouralsk, Chelyabinsk region, a meeting was held with war veteran Dmitry Yepishkin, during which he spoke to students “about the necessity of serving in the army, about fulfilling one’s duty to one’s people.” The veteran arrived at the school wearing a patch containing strong language. In the Voronezh region, for the second year in a row, students in grades 8–11 are shown propaganda films and participate in class hours with war veterans from Ukraine as part of the project “I am the heir of heroes and I am against Nazism.” They are also compelled to write letters to the frontline.

Colonel Igor Murog, the rector of Ryazan State University, took students on a tour to a contract military service recruitment center, where they were informed about “support measures and assistance for participants in the special military operation.” Previously, students demanded the resignation of the rector due to the introduction of “army ways” at the university and the dismissal of faculty members.

Students in the Leningrad region are receiving handouts on how to write letters to soldiers fighting in Ukraine, in honor of Feb. 23 [Defender of the Fatherland Day]. The guide suggests expressing gratitude to the soldiers for their courageous effort and includes sample letters for reference.

Students from the Arctic State Institute of Culture and Arts in Russia’s constituent republic of Sakha (Yakutia), held a concert in the territories impacted by the Special Military Operation.

Miscellaneous

A monument is set to be unveiled in the village of Yelan in the Volgograd region, commemorating the anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine. The monument, crafted by a local resident who returned from the war, is made up of the letters Z, V, and O intertwined together with an icon at its center. The names of all local residents who lost their lives in the war will be inscribed on the monument "after the conclusion of the Special Military Operation.”

Longreads

After returning from the war, 41-year-old Dmitry Kiryukhin managed to lead a "lesson of courage" at a school, and shortly afterward, he brutally assaulted his neighbors. He was detained several days later, only after the incident made its way into the media. The Cherta Telegram channel reported on this war veteran terrorizing an entire town in the Saratov region.

The Lyudi Baikala [People of Baikal] independent media outlet analyzed 115 administrative cases pertaining to the discrediting of the Armed Forces and published an article detailing how people are being prosecuted for their anti-war stance in the Irkutsk region and Buryatia.

Journalists from the "Bereg" [Shore] association interviewed the mother of 16-year-old Kevin Lik, who was sentenced to four years in a penal colony on charges of treason.

The Vyorstka media outlet reported that the problem of HIV infection has intensified in Russia amid the war with Ukraine. The Russian Ministry of Health has been unable to purchase HIV therapy drugs due to a lack of bids from suppliers. Activists suspect that the probable cause is the low starting price offered by the Ministry. According to a statement by the Ministry of Health, the existing supply of HIV medications in Russia will suffice for only three months.