mobilization briefs
January 16, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Jan. 13–15, 2023, CIT volunteer summary

Vladimir Putin could mobilize up to half a million extra troops for his war against Ukraine, The Times claims referring to its sources in Western intelligence. The new draftees will be sent to the front line by April. According to the Times, the decision will be taken in a few weeks. The Kremlin relies on internal polls which allegedly show that the Russians “are unwilling to accept defeat in the war.”

The spring campaign of regular biannual conscription in all likelihood will still follow the current requirements with the age range of conscripts unchanged, as Chairman of the Defense Committee of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] Andrey Kartapolov reaffirmed last Sunday on Russia’s RBC television channel. “[The new age range] will not necessarily be introduced in the coming spring. This is just one of the options; once again, it is unlikely to be implemented this spring.”

Draft offices in the Kuban region are preparing for a new wave of covert mobilization, the Mobilizatsiya [Mobilization] Telegram channel claims, citing its sources in the region’s draft offices. In the Krasnodar region, draft offices have allegedly accumulated a “buffer” of men whose military IDs were retained during the first wave of the draft. These men will be the next ones to be mobilized.

The principal of the Vladimir State University ordered all employees liable for military service to report to the mobilization department, allegedly for verification of personal details. The Dovod [Argument] media outlet believes this to be an indication that mobilization will continue.

A pro-Russian war reporter and blogger Vladlen Tatarsky visited the positions of the artillery regiment composed of the mobilized residents of Primorye [Russia’s constituent entity] and reported a critical lack of military equipment. Artillerymen who did not receive weapons were sent to the infantry.

Mobilized soldiers from Bashkiria [Russia’s constituent republic] complained of a lack of any combat training, of being misled by their commanders about their operational tasks, and of severe conditions in the combat area. They pleaded with their leadership to review their mission (reassigning them to safeguarding objects on occupied territories) and to redeploy them to safer locations.

A nameless staffer to a member of Novosibirsk Legislative Assembly, his face covered, snidely replied to the statement issued by Novosibirsk draftees that we reported on recently. Recall that in the statement, the draftees complained that commanders dispatched them to trenches from where it was difficult to come back alive.

Vazhnye Istorii [Stories, independent Russian investigative media outlet] published an account by a Novosibirsk region draftee about the conditions under which he and his fellow soldiers were forced to fight in Kreminna in the Luhansk region. Despite the fact that the service members there are being shelled by artillery and some have been killed or wounded, they are still officially considered to be in the “green” zone rather than on the frontline. Draftees have been issued one summer uniform each; a platoon of 30 men was issued 10 pairs of boots.

The iStories media outlet also produced a news report about the Sverdlovsk region which is one of the leading regions of Russia in the number of draftees killed in this war. Many of the soldiers were killed in the Kherson region whose capital was abandoned by the Russian Army after eight months of occupation. The relatives of the draftees said that despite the promise by the authorities not to send untrained soldiers to the frontlines, their loved ones were killed a week after they were drafted; some, literally, after a few days. At the same time, wives and children of the draftees keep supporting the war and are grateful to Putin.

According to a report by the Russian Ministry of Defense, mobilized tankers continue refining their mastery at the training grounds in the Zabaykalsky region.

In Zavitne Bazhannya in the so-called DPR, the Russian draftees who refused to fight in Ukraine and were detained in a basement were all freed. 15 of the men are currently in the Rostov region. One former detainee is being kept within the “DPR” territory for an unknown reason. Relatives of the freed service members told of their situation to the ASTRA Telegram channel.

Two weeks after the strike on Makiivka, relatives of the mobilized soldiers continue to search for their loved ones (1, 2, 3, 4). The names of seven more mobilized men who were killed as a result of this strike have also become known: Irek Nasyrov, Yegor Ilyin, Nikolay Konovchenko, Aleksandr Gavrilovich, Yevgeny Korotenko, Roman Kochergin, and N. Sokolov. Thus, the names of 61 victims are known so far. Group New Year's photos of the mobilized soldiers appeared on the network, taken shortly before the strike on vocational school No. 19.

Yevgeny Pokidko, a mobilized resident of the Krasnoyarsk region, was killed in Chervonopopivka, Lugansk region. Despite his Ukrainian origins, Yevgeny didn’t try to  escape mobilization and went to war with a school friend, his mother said. The death of Vladimir Naidenko, a mobilized soldier from the Kursk region, is also reported.

Yesterday, in the former Community Center of the Tonenkoye hamlet in the Belgorod region, a platoon commander, a senior sergeant from the Sverdlovsk region, set off an RGD-5 anti-personnel grenade. As a result of the explosion, the ammunition stored in the Community Center detonated. According to preliminary data, three soldiers were killed, 16 were injured, and 8 were missing. A criminal case was initiated, the 112 Telegram channel claims. According to the Baza Telegram channel, all the injured and killed were mobilized soldiers. The military took a grenade in order to "gain authority."

The military investigative authorities transferred to the Military Court of the Vladimir garrison one more criminal case initiated under the article on unauthorized leaving a place of service during wartime or mobilization (paragraph 2.1 of Article 337 of the Criminal Code of Russia). Soldier Grigory Titov faces up to five years in prison.

The Supreme Court of Tatarstan [Russia's constituent republic] ruled in favor of a draftee seeking to overturn the decision of a draft board because he had a deferral from military service. The draftee is an employee of the Transneft-Prikamye oil company. He was mobilized on Oct. 24, although he had a reserved occupation since September. A district court decision was not in his favor, and the man successfully appealed it to the Supreme Court of the Republic of Tatarstan.

In the Tambov region, residents of a village with a population of 1400 people have been trying to raise money for the "needs of the army" for over a month. As a result, they collected 10,000 rubles. The Soyka, a Moscow-based store selling animal-free products, collects first aid kits, clothes, personal hygiene products, and food for servicemen fighting in the "special military operation". According to the store's Instagram account, they sent the first shipment to Lugansk at the end of December.

A 22-year-old woman from St. Petersburg was transferring money to a fraudster claiming to be a mobilized serviceman for six months. She sent him almost 600,000 rubles.

A number of new communities of wives and mothers of servicemen was recently formed simultaneously in Russia. They support the war, give advice on how to support soldiers properly, and divert attention from actual human rights issues. Valentina Melnikova of the Committee of Soldiers' Mothers explains why authorities need such "spoiler" organizations at certain points in Russian history.