Russian President’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov denies reports about an alleged ban on the departure of men from the Russian Federation from Jan. 9 claiming them to be part of a misinformation campaign.
The VChK-OGPU Telegram channel reports that according to its sources preparations for a new wave of mobilization are underway. A single list of potential draftees has been formed. In particular, sources from Crimea report about cases when authorities were recently visiting apartments of men who fall under mobilization. A source from the Saratov region claims that a local military commissariat [enlistment office] ordered a large batch of newly printed draft notes.
The MinTsifry [the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of Russia] is working on measures to bring emigrated IT specialists back to Russia. Actors in the IT market told the Kommersant newspaper that since December, the Ministry had been holding meetings with representatives of relevant associations and IT companies discussing measures to return IT specialists who left Russia back home. Reportedly IT specialists will be lured back by making positions in IT a reserved occupation exempting employees from military service.
Russia’s Ministry of Education and Science has developed a draft decree on benefits for admission to universities for the children of mobilized servicemen. Universities will reserve 10 percent of the total number of seats for them. The children of killed or wounded soldiers were already given a right to be enrolled without admission tests.
The Ministry of Defense has developed a procedure for receiving parcels by service members (in particular, those in Ukraine), including clothes and personal belongings. The state budget will cover related expenses only for a single delivery per soldier. Also, the Ministry of Defense plans to amend Article 10 of the Federal Law "On the Status of Service Members". An explanatory note to the draft bill indicates that the bill is aimed to support contract servicemen who were injured during fighting, recognized as incapable for military service in this regard and appointed to other positions. It is proposed to provide such people with a social pension in the amount of 5034 rubles 25 kopecks [about USD 75] per month.
The Setevye Svobody [Network Freedoms] project has warned internet users against phishing messages sent by online fraudsters under the guise of information about upcoming mobilization. An attempt to follow the link leads to an authorization form in Telegram requiring a phone number for SMS verification.
Russian lawyer and human rights activist Pavel Chikov warns citizens against using fake documents giving the right for draft deferral or mobilization exemption, which are being widely spread over the internet. In case of revealing fake documents such actions can be considered as violation of Art. 327 (3) of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.
Besides, Pavel Chikov refutes the information about the closure of borders for those liable for military service, which spread based on fake Federal Security Service orders and phishing emails with lists of people to be mobilized, as already stated above.
State Duma [the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] parliamentarians consider the possibility of expanding the mobilization reserve — in case of a "large-scale war" there wouldn't be enough people. Previously, Andrey Gurulyov, a member of the State Duma Defense Committee claimed that Russia needed to expand the mobilization reserve. The particular idea behind it was clarified by head of the State Duma committee Andrey Kartapolov during his interview to RBC news outlet. According to Kartapolov, the existing principles of forming a mobilization reserve "fully meets the needs of the state [defensive]", but "it's impossible to rely only on reservists in case of a large-scale war."
Military commissariats [enlistment offices] in Russia’s regions are looking to hire personnel to deliver draft notices, while businesses are seeking staff to manage employee mobilization records. For example, a draft office in the city of Kurgan has recently posted several job openings at once. Meanwhile, as many as 27 vacancies are being advertised by draft offices across the Kurgan region. A search on a popular Russian employment search website hh.ru returns 350 recent job postings matching the keywords “draft office.” Companies in Russia’s regions are most likely to be looking for HR specialists and military registration clerks who will maintain employee mobilization records, liaise with draft offices, and reserve employees to be exempted from the draft.
Volunteer fighter Aleksandr Leshkov was found guilty of insulting and using violence against a military commander (Art. 334 (3), Art. 336 (2) of the Russian Criminal Code), as Leshkov’s wife confirmed to the Ostorozhno Novosti [Attention News] independent news outlet. She added, however, that the decision was not final and that the verdict would be appealed. In Nov. 2022, Leshkov became notorious after being filmed shouting profanities and shoving an officer while fiercely criticizing gear shortages. With the charges he faced, Leshkov could have received up to 15 years in prison, but he was eventually sentenced to 5.5 years in a maximum security prison.
The Saratov garrison military court passed a sentence on a serviceman for going AWOL during mobilization. Last September, a contract soldier Yevgeny Golygin decided to temporarily leave his military base even though he was aware of the ongoing “partial” mobilization. Nevertheless, in October Golygin returned to the military commandant's office in the town of Volsk and pleaded guilty. As a result, he was sentenced to one year of suspended imprisonment with a probationary period of one year under Art. 337 (2.1) of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. The maximum penalty for this type of crime is five years in prison.
In the village of Magdagachi in the Amur region, unknown persons set fire to a draft office. Last night, a bottle presumably containing “flammable liquid” was thrown into a draft office building igniting a window frame that later caused the offices to catch fire as well. The fire was promptly put out and the arsonists remain at large. At the end of last year, a Perm resident set fire to two entrances of a building housing the district draft office. Authorities are still looking for the suspect. Whether the draft office was specifically targeted by the arsonist is not entirely clear.
In Moscow, a father of a disabled child has been drafted. A draft notice for Andrey Borzakov arrived on Sep. 23. During his visit to the draft office, the man submitted a document certifying that he was raising a 5-year-old disabled child as well as a document issued by his workplace that granted him reservation from mobilization. Nevertheless, Borzakov was drafted into the war. Complaints filed by Borzakov’s wife have had no effect so far.
Russian service members at the 329th motorized rifle regiment have complained that they are forced to live in frozen trenches that are, apparently, part of the fortification system being constructed nicknamed “the Surovikin line”. Despites multiple complaints and news reports, the defensive structures, as it appears, remain unprepared to house military personnel.
A brigade of mobilized Russian soldiers sent to the Bakhmut direction in October and replenished in December with another group of mobilized servicemen has not been heard of since the New Year; the command is silent.
On Jan. 8, in the Bakhmut direction, the Armed Forces of Ukraine captured two mobilized soldiers from military unit 12672: Sergeant Ivan Seleznev from the city of Syzran and Private Anton Borisovich (surname unknown) from Moscow.
Three more names of soldiers from the Samara region killed in the strike on Makiivka have become known: Aleksandr Potapov (b. 1986) from the village of Kurumoch, Aleksandr Nesterov (b. 1991) from the village of Mirny, and Oleg Pankratov (b. 1983) from the village of Kuibyshevsky. Meduza [independent Russian media outlet] posts photographs showing what the site of the vocational school looks like now. Meanwhile, the BBC’s Russian service spoke with the relatives of those killed and survivors of the strike on Makiivka.
An employee of the Trofimuk Institute of Petroleum Geology and Geophysics SB RAS Grigory Makarov was killed during the "special military operation" on Dec. 4. He was 40 years old. It also became known about the death of 35-year-old Maksim Proshin, who was mobilized on Oct. 10 from the city of Zheleznogorsk, Kursk region, and Aleksandr Sapyan from the Karatuzsky district of the Krasnoyarsk region.
Mobilized soldiers were seen off in the interspecific regional training center of the signal troops of the Central Military District in Ulyanovsk. The Ministry of Defense revealed a video of training mobilized soldiers from the Far East at the training ground in the rear of the “special military operation."
The Crimean organization of the All-Russian Society of the Blind donated chainsaws and optical sights to Russian servicemen in Ukraine. Another incident of a disappeared train car carrying the property of mobilized soldiers happened to the military personnel of the 45th Motorized Rifle Regiment. The soldiers loaded things collected from all over the Samara region into the car with their own hands, and upon arrival at the terminal station, they discovered that the last car carrying all their property had mysteriously disappeared.
The families of mobilized soldiers in the Omsk region will be able to use local sports facilities, a skating rink and a swimming pool, free of charge. Meanwhile, the families of soldiers taking part in the “special military operation” in the Krasnoyarsk region are given free firewood for heating. In the Chelyabinsk region, the authorities asked the mother of a mobilized soldier not to publicly complain about the cold in the apartment. Now she has to live in a garden house as there is a heating stove in it. 10 pairs of socks, 20 plastic bottles of dried plums and apples were handed over to Russian servicemen by 94-year-old Elena Kizilova from Rossosh, Voronezh region. Meanwhile, the wife of a mobilized resident of Tomsk drove across the country to celebrate Christmas with her husband and feed soldiers with pies and pancakes.
In Chita, a court fined Major Aleksey Strukov 60,000 rubles for concealing the missing rations. Fearing negative consequences for improper accounting of material resources, he hid the fact that 1521 sets of individual rations were missing and simply wrote them off.