mobilization briefs
January 13, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Jan. 11–12, 2023, CIT volunteer summary

Starting in the spring of 2023, men aged 18 to 30 will be conscripted for military service. According to Andrey Kartapolov, head of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] Committee on Defense, the minimum age will later be raised to 21. President Putin "conceptually supported" the idea of raising the conscription age, but, as his spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said, "the arguments should be provided by the Ministry of Defense." A draft bill will be submitted to the State Duma shortly, with "weeks" allocated to the development and consideration of the bill, according to the Vyorstka media outlet.

In a comment for the Mozhem Obyasnit [We Can Explain] Telegram channel, human rights activist Sergey Krivenko, head of the Grazhdanin. Armiya. Pravo [Citizen. Army. Law] civic movement, notes that there is evidence of a shortage of conscripts during the last autumn conscription campaign, and the Ministry of Defense may face even greater problems in the spring draft. "People will dodge the army like never before," he commented.

State Duma member General Viktor Sobolev proposed organizing military training for "all the youth" of Russia. He explained such measures as the need to increase combat readiness in the event of a war with NATO.

Russia continues to prepare for a new wave of mobilization. According to sources of the Vyorstka media outlet it could start at any time. According to two sources within the Moscow State Budgetary Institution "Zhilishchnik" [utility provider], employees of this organization claim that draft notes are being prepared. One of them claims that because of this, employees were prohibited from taking leaves in January-February. Two officers of military commissariats told the outlet that their management warned them that the period of January and February would be difficult.

Notices inviting bids for the provision of services as part of the allegedly completed "partial" mobilization continue to appear on the official portal for public procurement. On Dec. 14, the Udmurtia [Russia's constituent republic] Youth Center signed a contract for the provision of "services for the organization of military training on the territory of Udmurtia for persons eligible for partial mobilization." The contract deadline is until the end of March 2023, that is, until the beginning of spring conscription starting on Apr. 1.

A dean of the Omsk State University is forcing the students to report to the military commissariat [enlistment office] in person, allegedly for verification of personal details. Those who refuse will face a reprimand or even expulsion. The students interviewed by the Sibir.Realii [Siberia.Reality] Telegram channel said that they refused anyway, despite the threats. Meanwhile, a student of the Omsk State Transport University has already received a call-up notice for the spring conscription campaign, requiring him to report to the enlistment office on Apr. 5.

Contract servicemen are not allowed to leave the Russian army even after their contracts expire, bound by Putin’s degree on “partial” mobilization which is still in effect. Another case reflecting this growing tendency was reported by the Serditaya Chuvashia [Angry Chuvashia] Telegram channel.

Tomorrow, more than 400 mobilized soldiers from Gorno-Altaysk will be sent from Kreminna through mined fields to conduct an offensive on Svatove and fight with machine guns against tanks, according to some mobilized men who spoke to the Sota Telegram channel. Sota’s sources also pointed out that they had been intentionally assigned to a non-existent regiment so they would not be included in the death count if killed. [At the moment Svatove is controlled by the pro-Russian forces and there is no information confirming that this settlement has been liberated by the Armed Forces of Ukraine — CIT].

A group of mobilized men from the Novosibirsk region are pleading to be sent back home, describing the current situation in the war zone as critical. They claim to have been hiding in the trenches for months “just waiting for the strikes to hit” ever since their arrival to the “special military operation” area. According to them, on the very first day of their deployment four of their fellow servicemen were killed by artillery strikes. These men are due to be sent to the front line soon. “The only way out of there is to become Cargo 200 [KiAs] or Cargo 300 [WiAs],” they say.

Mobilized residents from the Perm region are awaiting to be deployed to the front line, too. A girlfriend of one of them wrote in her post on a social media network, “These men haven’t been properly trained to fight in the red zone of hostilities; neither are they equipped with adequate gear, vehicles and weapons. Under the presidential decree, mobilized men are only supposed to safeguard the liberated territories.” According to this woman, soldiers plead to be transferred to a less dangerous area of the war. It should be noted that the mobilized soldiers from Perm were deployed to the combat area from a training center in the city of Tyumen on Dec. 17-18.

8 mobilized soldiers, who had been released from a basement for refuseniks in Zavitne Bazhannya in the so-called DPR, have reached the Primorsky region. The men, who had refused to fight in Ukraine, bought tickets from the Rostov region to their native region at their own expense.

Previously injured servicemen are taken back to the front line without permission of their doctors. The Agentstvo [Agency] news outlet found out that it had become a common practice in Russia to send out injured servicemen to the combat zone without verdicts of military-medical commissions. Servicemen with shrapnel in their limbs or those with their lungs shot through are taken back to the war. Lawyers and human rights activists consider this to be a law violation.

More than 30 mobilized residents of the Krasnoyarsk region with service fitness category G [temporarily unfit for military service] have been living for three months already at a military base in the Omsk region. There are people suffering from epilepsy and heart disorder among them. They lay in bed most of the time and the MoD pays them 180,000 rubles a month. People with service fitness category equal to G can't be sent to the combat zone, but their command and draft offices keep those people at the base shifting the responsibility from one to another.

VK Group [Russian technology company] is going to fire all employees who left Russia if they do not return back. This was reported to the Mozhem Ob’yasnit [We can explain] Telegram channel by an informed source familiar with the state of affairs within the company. Another source in the VK management confirmed that department heads were told to return employees working remotely to Russia, explaining this with server security issues and measures to prevent leaks in the company. The reason for the firing of emigrants may be the upcoming “Klishas law”, which prohibits remote work for employees in some areas, including IT. The press service of the company commented on this news, “VK operates in a hybrid format. The schedule and format of work of specialists is set individually.” The source of the RBC Russian news agency in the company says that they do not plan to fire employees as there is a shortage of IT specialists on the market.

Governor of the Samara region Dmitry Azarov held a teleconference with relatives of the servicemen who survived in Makiivka. It was carried out from hospitals of the Rostov region, where the wounded were receiving treatment. Some relatives of the mobilized soldiers report that they did not know about the teleconference or could not participate in it. A lot of them still have no information about the fate of their loved ones, although 11 days have passed since the strike on the vocational school in Makiivka. Under the posts of Dmitry Azarov and on the page of draftees’ community from the Samara region on the VKontakte social network, women ask to help find their relatives. Meanwhile, some residents were outraged that the authorities posted a video showing the faces of their relatives, while refusing to publish lists of the killed due to allegedly possible provocations of “foreign intelligence.”

Novaya Gazeta Europe [independent Russian newspaper] published a report on the funerals of the mobilized killed in Makiivka, which were held in the Samara region. Irina Tumakova, the newspaper's correspondent, ended up in the police station twice during the preparation of the report: for participating in an unapproved public event and for "illegal interviewing."

The funerals of Pavel Tislenko from Samara, Vitaly Sintyaev from Tolyatti, Pavel Malkin from Syzran, and Yury Yeskin from the village of Smyshlyaevka killed as a result of the strike on Makiivka were buried. Thus, the list of service members killed in Makiivka currently contains 42 names. It also became known about the death of 41-year-old Pavel Artemyev from Magnitogorsk, mobilized in September, and 26-year-old Stepan Biryukov from Chelyabinsk. 23-year-old resident of Vologda Aleksandr D. was blown up by a grenade, which his friend brought from the combat zone. Aleksandr, who himself had recently returned from the army, took a grenade in his hands and accidentally set it off.

A resident of the Murmansk region, 48-year-old Sergey Ivanov suffering from diabetes was mobilized at the end of October and almost immediately ended up in the hospital in a pre-coma state. There are no plans to send him home — he will be sent to Ukraine instead.

A plea appeared on the website of the Governor of the Pskov region, in which Aleksandra Kotenyova asked the head of the region to help transfer her mobilized husband from a field hospital to a regular one. According to his wife, Stanislav Kotenev received a third-degree concussion and his health was deteriorating rapidly. Treatment in the hospital in the village of Novopskov in the north of the Luhansk region was not effective.

The mobilized father of three from the Vladimir region cannot return to his family. Mikhail Kornilov was mobilized in October, and at that time,  being the father of three young children was not a reason for a draft deferral. From the moment the clarification about draft deferrals for fathers of many children appeared, the wife of the mobilized man appealed for help to the administration of the Suzdal region, wrote an appeal addressed to President Putin, and Mikhail himself wrote a report to the command, but all efforts to return him home have failed so far.

The military commissar of Dagestan also ignores the Instructions of the General Staff of the Russian Ministry of Defense on the draft deferral for fathers of three or more children under the age of 16. Alibek Alibekov, a 24-year-old resident of Dagestan, a father of three young children, was called up for mobilization on Sep. 24. The Military Commissar of Dagestan, Colonel Daytbeg Mustafayev, made his own decision that the Instructions have no retroactive effect, and those residents of the republic with many children who had been called up before they were adopted cannot return home.

According to the joint press service of the courts of Bashkiria [Russia’s constituent republic], the Ufa garrison court sentenced 24-year-old corporal Marsel Kandarov, who evaded military service from May to September 2022, to five years in prison. The court found the soldier guilty; an aggravating circumstance was that Kandarov had committed a crime during the period of mobilization.

The Mash online media outlet reported that a soldier armed with a machine gun and grenades had escaped from a military base in Moscow. As it turned out later, an unknown person had been calling the police departments in Rostov-on-Don, St. Petersburg and Moscow for 24 hours, claiming that he was a conscript who had escaped from a military base and was preparing an attack on the security forces.

Warm clothes are being collected in the Moscow region for a psychiatric hospital, where veterans of the war in Ukraine are also held. Meanwhile, schoolgirls from the Moscow region will sew sheets and diapers for hospitals in Belgorod at handicraft lessons.