mobilization briefs
January 21, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Jan. 19–20, 2023, CIT volunteer summary

Kommersant [newspaper, which belongs to Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov], citing State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] member and one of the authors of the bill Nina Ostanina announced the Ministry of Defense being ready to support amendments to the bill on deferment from mobilization for fathers of children with disabilities and the only children of single parents-pensioners. Ostanina, in turn, referring to a conversation with the chairman of the State Duma Defense Committee Andrey Kartapolov, said that the position of the Ministry of Defense, which had previously “slowed down” the adoption of bills, had changed. However, Kartapolov denied the fact of this conversation, “I didn’t confirm anything to her, because I don’t have the habit of confirming what I don’t know,” Kartapolov emphasized.

Fathers of many children, who were mobilized from the Zabaykalsky region, will be returned home, Governor of the region Alexander Osipov promised. We have repeatedly reported on the problems of fathers with many children from the Zabaykalsky region. The situation has also moved forward with the mobilized residents of the Krasnoyarsk region, who have been in a military unit in Omsk for more than three months, having service fitness category “G”. After publicity in the media, the issue began to be resolved. A decision has already been made on five men from Norilsk — they are going home.

Once again, Russian President’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov urged the public to be guided by Putin's words about the end of mobilization, and called the fact that the decree is still valid "a legal feature." This was his response to the query on what the phrase about the mobilization decree being in force means in the presidential administration response received by Artur Gaiduk (a member of the Pskov regional assembly from the Yabloko party) a few days ago.

Although mobilization is completed, draft notices delivery continues. A reader of the Sirena Telegram channel said that he received a notice at the government services portal, inviting him to appear at the Syktyvkar military commissariat [enlistment office] on Jan. 20. On Jan. 19, a 29-year-old resident of Bryansk who did not serve in the army, but has military specialty “driver”, received a draft notice demanding to appear at the military commissariat. The draft notice mentions a "wartime".

The Rostov military commissariat urges to be prepared. "To what? To any event according to the laws. To the [second wave] of mobilization,” said Azov district military commissar. The Ministry of Emergency Situations of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky conducted a drill on organizing reception and distribution of mobilized people. Among the rest, employees were trained to reduce the risks of “inadequate behavior” of the mobilized and isolate those who arrived in an “unstable state”. The drill was carried out on Jan. 12, and was attended by doctors, psychologists, personnel officers, as well as uniforms supply departments.

A university in Chelyabinsk instructed its mobilization department to check employees' military registration files. One of the readers told the Sirena Telegram channel that in November and December 2022, the South Ural State University was collecting data on employees and students who were enrolled as reservists and subject to the draft. These men had to visit the mobilization department with a military ID card, regular ID and driver's license.

New evidence of the deployment of air defense systems in Moscow and the surrounding areas continues to emerge. Another such system was spotted near the village of Zarechye, located near Putin's residence in Novo-Ogaryovo. Several other systems were filmed two kilometers from the Ostafyevo airfield, home to both the Gazprom Avia airline and the military. The Sirena Telegram channel mapped seven known sites where air defense systems  were installed. An analysis of the situation with comments by experts was published by the Mozhem Obyasnit [We Can Explain] Telegram channel and the iStories independent Russian investigative media outlet.

Dmitry Peskov referred queries about the air defense systems newly installed in Moscow to the Ministry of Defense, while a member of the State Duma Defense Committee Yevgeny Lebedev claimed the photos of the systems to be fake and suggested they had been fabricated with digital tools. No comment was offered by the Ministry of Defense.

In the Krasnodar region, families of mobilized men killed in the war will be exempted from kindergarten charges. Meanwhile, head of Buryatia [Russia’s constituent republic] Alexey Tsydenov signed a decree exempting the mobilized and their family members from accrual of penalties for the missed housing and utility payments, as well as missed fees for capital repairs. Tsydenov also added that a local non-profit organization named Sodeistvie [Assistance] frequently donates chargers, binoculars, mobile radio stations and other essentials to military units.

In the Stavropol region, a 30-year-old father of three minor children Pavel Menshikov was mobilized. On Sept. 24, the man was enlisted and sent to a military training center, to be deployed to the combat zone only a week later. His wife had been fighting for three months to have her husband back. However, the military prosecutor's office and the draft commission of the Stavropol region found that Menshikov was drafted lawfully, claiming that his rights were not violated and he did not qualify for a deferment.

Regional branches of the pro-Kremlin Committee of the Families of Soldiers of the Fatherland keep emerging across the country. Offices of the Committee have been already established in the regions of Nizhny Novgorod, Bryansk, Pskov, Kostroma, in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) [Russia’s constituent republic] and in some other regions of Russia.

Reports of the mobilized soldiers’ deaths keep coming from across the country. Thus, another mobilized soldier from the Sverdlovsk region, Yury Udovitsa from the settlement of Kalya, was killed during “the special military operation”. A 26-year-old mobilized soldier from Nizhny Tagil, Danil Sergeyev, was killed on Dec. 30 in the so-called LPR. Also, two mobilized soldiers from the Krasnoyarsk region were killed — Timur Silantyev, 22, from the Kazachinsky district, and Valery Vozhakov, 36, from the Karatuzsky district.

The names of another two killed in the strike on Makiivka on New Year’s Eve became known. They are Sergey Madyukov and Aleksey Yazgeldyev. The Protocol.Samara media outlet managed to interview relatives and friends of the mobilized soldiers based in Makiivka on the condition of anonymity, as well as  to acquire a list of the mobilized soldiers, whose fate is still unknown. There were 60 names on the list in total, some of them turned out to be dead.

In the border area of the Belgorod region, colleagues found the body of 33-year-old mobilized soldier Denis R. from Revda (Sverdlovsk region) with stab wounds in the heart. According to the law enforcement authorities, he committed suicide at night by stabbing himself in the heart area with a knife.

A group of laborers came under fire in the Belgorod region while digging trenches. They were hired on the VKontakte social network ad that offered to dig trenches for 400 rubles an hour [around $6/hour].

Draftees from Mari El [Russia’s constituent Republic], who were trained at military bases in the Ulyanovsk region, were sent to the combat zone. And in the Cheryomushki neighborhood in Omsk where mobilized soldiers are stationed, the prohibition of alcohol is extended until March 1.

Pro-Russian so-called military correspondents continue to report on the practice of transferring the mobilized, who have been trained for service in the artillery, to infantry units. Among them were the 640th and 641st Howitzer Battalions which were sent to reinforce the "1st Army Corps" of the so-called DPR.

Draftees from the town of Chebarkul-based 90th tank division who are currently in Svatove, Luhansk region, are complaining that according to their documents, they are still stationed at their home base. In addition, they are not receiving the payouts promised by the government.

Wives and mothers of draftees who are part of the “Moscow battalion,” recorded a video address where they complained that their loved ones lacked supplies and were deployed to the frontline without artillery support.

The Geroi Spetsoperatsiyi Z [Heroes of the Special Operation Z] Telegram channel published a conversation with Private Sergey Puschin who had been drafted in September. As a civilian, he used to work for a water utility. Approximately a year prior to the commencement of the “special military operation”, he enlisted in the army reserve. Currently, he is participating in combat operations in Donbas in order to “protect the citizens of the new Russian territories.”

In St. Petersburg, a contract soldier who did not report back to his unit after the “partial mobilization” was announced, has been detained. The 22-year-old contract service member left his unit located in the south of Russia already on Sep. 23. He was charged with desertion and placed on the federal wanted list only in January. Since the beginning of the year, the Ministry of Internal Affairs agents are actively searching for dozens of military personnel who went AWOL.

An anti-war activist from Tver, who is accused of setting fire to a military commissariat, claims to have been tortured with electricity and threatened with rape by FSB [Federal Security Service] officers.

Russian lawyer and human rights activist Pavel Chikov analyzes the latest trends in criminal politics. Thus, criminal cases on arson of military commissariats began to be qualified as terrorism, the first cases of sabotage appeared, the number of cases of espionage and high treason increased, and the forecast of an increase in criminal cases of desertion comes true.

The Vyorstka media outlet found out how the Russians are hiding from mobilization inside the country. The journalists of the media outlet spoke with the Russians hiding from mobilization in villages and secluded settlements.

A Ukrainian war participant has spent a whole week in a village in the Ivanovo region talking to the students. Even elementary school students had to listen to the lectures. The young winners of military sports games (similar to the Zarnitsa game [children's war game organized within the Young Pioneers organization]) in Novosibirsk will get gas masks for a trophy.

In the Krasnoyarsk region, children received a master class on making trench candles, and in Altai, dugout candles are decorated with children's drawings.