mobilization briefs
January 5, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Jan. 2-4, 2023, CIT volunteer summary

President Putin signed a decree on additional benefits for service members. Now, if servicemen of the Armed Forces or Rosgvardia [the National Guard of Russia] are killed in the Ukrainian war, their families will be paid 5 million rubles. Wounded servicemen will receive 3 million rubles. Additionally, Putin approved a list of instructions following a meeting with mothers of servicemen taking part in the "special military operation" that took place on Nov. 25, 2022. In particular, by Feb. 1, Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu shall submit a report on the provision of Russia’s Armed Forces units participating in the war in Ukraine with weapons, military and special equipment, necessary materials and resources, including uniforms and gear, mobile intelligence systems, personal protective clothing and camouflage, as well as on measures taken to improve the work of the Ministry of Defense in this area.

Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation Denis Manturov announced the delivery of about 340,000 sets of clothing and gear for the needs of the "special operation" in 2022. He noted that the task became a serious challenge for Russian industry, but it was successfully completed.

The letter reportedly issued by the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, which we covered in the previous summary, turned out to be fake. Thus, the information contained in it does not correspond to reality.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated that the "terrorist state" is preparing "new mobilization processes." Ukraine's Minister of Defense Oleskii Reznikov previously claimed that the Russian authorities are preparing a new wave of mobilization on Jan. 5.

An anonymous Telegram channel Soldatskiye vdovy Rossii [Soldiers' Widows of Russia], which previously wrote about the beneficial effect of death gratuity payments  on the economy of small towns and villages, urged Putin for the large-scale mobilization and border closure for men. "We are widows of Russian soldiers. We are the ones who didn't hide their husbands behind our skirts. We are ready to do anything for our great Victory." State Duma [lower house of Russia's Federal Assembly] member Andrey Gurulyov tried to calm Russians citizens, "There are no prerequisites for a second wave of mobilization in the next six months."

On the night of Jan. 3 to 4, the Russian Ministry of Defense issued an additional report covering the Makiivka incident. According to the report, 89 people were killed, including Lieutenant Colonel Bachurin, the deputy commander of the regiment. "The multiple launch rocket system, with which the AFU attacked Makiivka, was destroyed by counterfire." Following state news agencies and some "military correspondents" the Ministry of Defense blamed the incident on mobilized servicemen themselves, citing the violation of the existing prohibition to use cell phones as the cause of the strike. Family members of mobilized servicemen have told Vazhnyye Istorii [iStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet what they think of the Ministry of Defense's version. They also reported that the command is threatening soldiers who survived the attack.

Residents of Samara have started a petition with the demand to publish the list of names of those killed in Makiivka. Activists are concerned that the official death toll — 89 persons — is lowered. By the moment of publishing this summary, the petition had gathered 874 votes. Names of the deceased start to become known. E.g., mobilized soldier Aleksandr Krasheninnikov was killed in the result of the strike on the vocational school in Makiivka.

As we reported previously, the relatives of those mobilized from the Samara region began collecting aid for them immediately after the strike. When the aid was collected, media outlets related to the regional administration reported that the volunteers were working "by the order of Governor Dmitry Azarov." After public criticism, the corresponding post was removed. Governor Azarov appealed to his fellow countrymen and asked them to have patience and faith. “This work [identification of the killed and wounded] is very meticulous and takes time. Any inaccuracy can turn into a tragedy for a family. Therefore, I ask you to have patience and wait for official information.”

A video of a survivor of the strike on Makiivka appeared on the Internet. He names the possible perpetrators of the tragedy — the commanders of the battalion and the regiment. Other survivors told their relatives, “After the explosion in the vocational school, we were provided temporary shelter and meals, now they want to take us to Shakhty 121. Our regiment’s intelligence said that we were recorded as KIAs or missing. We can’t run away as we have weapons with us, so they can declare us deserters.”

Relatives of those mobilized who survived the strike on occupied Makiivka told the Vazhnyye Istorii media outlet that the Ministry of Defense still holds back information about the casualties. The wife of one of the soldiers said that at first they wanted to collect the survivors, "so that they went on the offensive," but there was a "resonance" among the command. A relative of another mobilized soldier said that a commission was going to Makiivka and that the men "could be sent somewhere or hidden." According to Telegram channels, some of the military are being interrogated by the security.

“Makiivka is criminal negligence!” Military analysts and pro-Kremlin propagandists blame Russian Army commanders for this massive loss of soldiers. The Vazhnyye Istorii media outlet has studied the mistakes, for which commanders are being blamed by military analysts and propagandists.

Editors of the Vyorstka media outlet were contacted by a mobilized man claiming to have participated in the clearing of debris after the strike at the building of a vocational school in Makiivka. The channel has verified the man’s identity. On condition of anonymity, he reported having seen about 200 dead bodies. He also estimated that at least 150 people had been injured.

A pro-government mobilization-related group for Samara residents on the VKontakte social network  recommended to family members of the mobilized men attacked in Makiivka to change their names in their profiles, so they can no longer be contacted by reporters, e.g. journalists from the Vazhnye Istorii media outlet.

On Jan. 3, memorial gatherings initiated by regional pro-government organizations Boyevoye Bratstvo [Combat Brotherhood] and the Women’s Council of the 2nd Guards Army were held in the cities of Samara, Tolyatti, Novokuybyshevsk and Syzran. Citizens of the Samara region honored the memory of servicemen killed in the “special military operation” against Ukraine, including the victims of the AFU strike in Makiivka. In Samara, attendees appeared with numerous flags of the ruling United Russia party; the wife of the commander of the Second Guards Army Andrey Kolotovkin, Yekaterina, delivered a speech about “the West who closed ranks against us.”

Information emerges about other Ukrainian attacks on Russian temporary military bases. For example, according to the morning report of the AFU General Staff of Jan. 3, about 500 Russian soldiers were killed or injured in the village of Chulakivka, Kherson region, as a result of the attack launched on Dec. 31. Russia did not acknowledge this attack officially. Furthermore, a video was posted showing a destroyed tourist center named Grand Prix in an occupied village of Pravi Sahy, Kherson region; this is where Russian service members appear to have been stationed. Prior to the strike, multiple photos of the Grand Prix had been published by a Russian volunteer fighter Pyotr Lozhkovoy. Russian pro-war channels blamed him for having revealed the place where the troops had been stationed, which presumably led to the attack. This information was not officially confirmed by Russia’s Ministry of Defense.

At least 538 mobilized Russian soldiers have lost their lives since mobilization began, according to information verified by the BBC’s Russian service together with Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] (Mediazona reports at least 533 mobilized to have died). This number reflects the situation as of the morning of Jan. 2 and it doesn’t include those killed in the Dec. 31 Ukrainian attack on occupied Makiivka in Donetsk region, as their names are not known yet. According to Mediazona, the strike in Makiivka is not the only incident involving a large number of fatalities among the mobilized. At least 34 draftees died on Oct. 24, but the actual death toll is likely to be much higher than the number of confirmed deaths, as open sources do not always state the exact date of death.

A draftee shot himself in the Kursk region. The ASTRA Telegram channel reports that according to its sources, the body of Senior Lieutenant Aleksandr Ivanov, 57, from St. Petersburg, was found behind a school building in the village of Krupets on Jan. 2. There’s preliminary information that he shot himself from his service weapon.

Wifes of Biysk draftees are calling for their husbands to be returned to the rear. “Please consider this request, think of the children who can’t wait to see their fathers come home,” the author of the petition stated.

Wifes of Bashkortostan [Russia’s constituent republic] draftees told of their husbands being reassigned from artillery to infantry despite having gone through three months of artillery training. Several women commented to this effect under the posts at the page of Radiy Khabirov, the head of the Republic of Bashkortostan. “Military correspondent” Kots reports the same after soldiers from Bashkorotostan and the Saratov region complained to him. Draftees being trained to become driver-mechanics at the 32nd Military settlement in Yekaterinburg found themselves in a similar situation. According to the Povyornutye na Z voyne [Z-War Fanatics] Telegram channel, the driver-mechanics were informed that they would be serving in infantry even though they trained to shoot only once and had only two hours of tactical medicine training.

A fire erupted at a camp where Tomsk draftees are located. The cause of the fire is unknown. Three tents and personal items belonging to draftees burned in the fire. Nobody was hurt.

The Russian Ministry of Defense published footage of draftees practicing “administering first aid using medical kits and available items” at a training ground in Sakhalin. It also published video of mortar operators from the Central Military District training in the rear of the “special military operation.”

The two remaining divisions formed out of draftees from the Prikamye [the area near the Kama river] are being sent to the war. Today, a military unit that includes draftees from Prikamye was dispatched to the war from Tyumen. Tomorrow, Jan. 5, another division will be sent out. The special Rosomaha [Wolverine] battalion formed out of service members from the Tyumen region and the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous region have already departed Tyumen heading to the zone of the “special military operation.”

In the Tambov region, director of forestry Svetlana Zhelyabovskaya was awarded a letter of recognition for delivering firewood and wood chips to the families of mobilized soldiers. Students of a college in Samara are supplying the front with field heating stoves that they themselves manufacture. The director of the college makes assurances that the students work on the volunteer basis, seven hours a day in two shifts.