mobilization briefs
January 25, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Jan. 23–24, 2023, CIT volunteer summary

Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, stated that the system for the implementation of mobilization had to be improved using the “as we go” approach. “At the same time, the coordinated professional actions of the officers of the General Staff and the authorities of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation resulted in 300,000 reservists enlisted in the military,” Gerasimov said in an interview to the Argumenty i Fakty [Arguments and Facts] newspaper. He also noted that modern Russia has not ever faced the intensity of combat that the country faces now as the “special military operation” continues.

The Legislative Assembly of the Kaluga region introduced two draft laws for the review by the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia]. The first one deals with an increased level of cooperation with military commissariats [enlistment offices] expected from Russian citizens with regard to mandatory military registration. If this legislation passes, male citizens will have to show proof of such registration or a military ID card every time they change place of residence, obtain or renew a drivers license, and obtain or renew a hunting rifle permit. The second piece of legislation proposes changes to the Code of the Russian Federation on Administrative Offenses [Misdemeanor Offenses]. Kaluga region lawmakers propose making employers legally liable in cases when the employers hire workers without first ensuring that a job candidate has provided military registration documents..

The proposal by Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of the State Duma, to confiscate property belonging to Russians who emigrated has sparked a heated debate within the Russian government. A substantial number of Russian government officials have now opposed such an initiative. According to Vyorstka [Russian independent media outlet], Russian prime-minister Mikhail Mishustin, first vice-speaker of the Federation Council Andrey Turchak and his colleague Andrey Klishas are among the opposition to legislation proposed by Volodin. A source in the Russian parliament has told Vyorstka that passing of such law could be dangerous since even a minimal gray area in the law’s verbiage can lead to the possibility of confiscation of property from any and every person who does not currently reside in Russia. This legislation has not yet been written.

To cross the border of the Russian Federation by car from Mar. 1, 2023 to Mar. 1, 2024 it is planned to introduce a queue with required online reservation in advance, according to the author of the corresponding bill Yevgeny Moskvichyov, head of the Сommittee on Transport and Construction of the State Duma. A similar system already exists in Belarus, where a place in the queue can be bought to speed up the border crossing. Additionally Moskvichyov told the RBC media group that the queue for crossing the Russian border would only apply to trucks. However, the original text of the document stated that such a queue would affect all cars, but the draft of the bill itself has disappeared from the State Duma website. Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] briefly explains what is happening with this bill, which is due for second hearing in February.

Russian President’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov provided a comment at a press briefing on the new bill requiring motorists to reserve a date and time to travel outside the country. He said that the Kremlin was not discussing banning Russians to travel abroad.

In the Zaporizhzhia region, a commander sent mobilized soldiers to a pit, where they have been kept for more than two days. According to the “Ostorozhno, novosti” [Beware, news] Telegram channel, two privates and a corporal of the 1430th regiment from Moscow and the Moscow region are contained in the pit (Aleksandr Leshkov, sentenced to 5.5 years at a penal colony for a conflict with an officer, had served in the same regiment). According to other soldiers, their comrades were placed there because they had drunk and violated the charter. The hole was dug right in the field and covered with a lattice of branches from above. The mobilized could not resist as they were threatened with weapons. They have to spend another week in the pit.

The names of two more mobilized killed in Makiivka became known: Mikhail Sergeyev and Nikita Kalyakin. Those mobilized from other regions continue to die. Two more residents of the Omsk region were killed in combat: Gennady Oshchepkov and Yegor Demidov. In total, according to open data, 161 residents of the Omsk region were killed in the war in Ukraine  excluding the missing. It became known about the death of Aleksandr Frantsev, a mobilized soldier from the Kursk region. And in a small village in the Krasnoyarsk region, three killed servicemen were buried at once: Igor Stepantsov, Mikhail Kilseyev, and Igor Shustov. The widow of Igor Stepantsov told reporters that her husband "did not want this war", and was killed in his second battle.

A volunteer soldier from Tyumen is unhappy with aid provided by his governor. In his address to the Governor Aleksandr Moor, the volunteer Vitaly Panov asks him to do a better job in helping the military: to collect funds from Tyumen entrepreneurs, to supply thermal imaging cameras, and to pay out the salaries due his fellow soldiers. Draftees from Kemerovo, meanwhile, are asking their compassionate compatriots to send them an automobile, a thermal imaging camera, a night vision device or a collimator sight.

The Govorit NeMoskva [This is Not Moscow Speaking] Telegram channel points out the changes in the lists of items requested by mobilized soldiers. When previously they were asking for clothing, shoes, and medical supplies, now items such as personal radios, thermal vision cameras, and aerial drones appear on their wish lists ever more frequently.

Yevgeniy Lyulin, the chairman of the Legislative Council of the Nizhny Novgorod region, has sent a gift of 20 rams and sheep to the military personnel originally from his region who are currently deployed in the Belgorod region. The council’s press service clarified that “soldiers in their military unit keep their own subsistence farm where they breed sheep and ducks.

The mother of the late deserter Dmitry Perov told of his mental state on the day leading to his death. According to her, he was in a bad state, “his eyes were empty and he kept repeating ‘I want to go home’ in a monotonous voice.” According to those close to Dmitry, they heard a gunshot but did not see whether he had been the one who opened fire. Recall that the man was killed as he was being detained.

Emergency electrical outages happening all over Russia are affecting families of draftees whom the authorities promised to support. For example, in the Irkutsk region, where abnormally low temperatures are hitting -50°C [-72 F] and whose residents are subjected to emergency power outages, a family of a mobilized soldier is freezing without his handyman skills. “We are freezing! Help! I am writing, calling, and nobody answers! I am alone with two small children. It’s colder inside the house than in the street. After the power outage, the water heater is not coming on and I don’t know what to do! My husband used to always fix it but he was taken away with a draft notice and was transferred to Ukraine a month ago. I have nobody to help me!” complains Anasthasia, the wife of a draftee from the village of Granovschina.

Russian authorities are reluctant to keep their promises to citizens whose homes and property were damaged as a result of hostilities. A couple from a village in the Kursk region whose house had been completely destroyed by a strike have been waiting for help from local authorities for an entire month. No help at all was provided by the local government to residents from the Volgograd region who suffered heavy losses caused by Russian missiles.

In the city of Omsk, Major Alexey Ivanov was sentenced to three years in a penal colony having been found guilty of stealing over 22 million rubles worth of flight helmets and oxygen masks.

According to the source of the VChK-OGPU Telegram channel, on the night of Jan. 23, security guards detected smoke in a relay cubicle at Surazh railway station in the Bryansk region. Experts concluded the cause of the fire had been arson. As a result, equipment in the cubicle was burned out.

Russian lawyer and human rights activist Pavel Chikov reports that the number of criminal cases related to crimes committed with the use of weapons, ammunition, and explosives increased by a quarter (24%). The largest upsurge was registered in the Central Federal District, while in Moscow the increase amounted to 146% (from 621 criminal cases to 1504).

The Voyennyy Ombudsmen [Military Ombudsman] Telegram channel noticed that in 2022 the number of reported crimes against military service increased almost threefold. This follows from the statistics on reported crimes published by the Prosecutor General's Office. According to the data, 2,835 crime reports were registered in 2022, while only 1,089 were registered in 2021.

Employees and patients of the Tomsk Clinical Psychiatric Hospital make trench candles from cans for Russian troops.

The historical and patriotic festival called "I remember and am proud!" was held in Syzran, Samara region, in November-December 2022. At the festival, children reenacted the Battle of Kursk that happened in 1943. Member of the United Russia ruling party Sergey Ivanov organized the event at the Syzran branch of Samara State Technical University. 2,175,000 rubles were allocated for the event from the Presidential Fund for Cultural Initiatives (we have reported on the fund’s activities several times in our summaries). Another 3.5 million rubles were allocated from the fund to the Splocheniye [Cohesion] organization that co-organized the event.