mobilization briefs
January 26, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Jan. 24–25, 2023, CIT volunteer summary

According to CNN’s sources among US government officials familiar with intelligence data, President Putin is considering the possibility of another wave of mobilization that would enlist an additional 200,000 men. The sources say that the next wave of mobilization will be more “discrete” since Putin knows how unpopular the first one was among the Russian population. The sources emphasize that Putin has not made his final decision yet. Russian President’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov has called this information false.

Mobilized soldiers from Novosibirsk have asked the Ministry of Defense to remove them from the frontline. According to the men, they came from Novosibirsk’s disbanded 1439th regiment. “We were trained as territorial defense forces, but in reality we are used as assault infantry. We already have casualties, 19 wounded and 2 killed in two days,” one of the mobilized soldiers says in the footage. The men say that at this moment they are located in “DPR” without any vehicles or gear. They search for any food or medical supplies on their own. The men ask to figure out this situation and take them out of the war zone.

The Mesto Sily Yaroslavl [Place of Power, Yaroslavl] media outlet writes that the mobilized soldiers from the Yaroslavl region who recorded a video message complaining about their commanders in the middle of January have stopped communicating. A relative of one of the mobilized soldiers tells that after the servicemen complained, an OMON unit [Special Purpose Mobile Unit of National Guard of Russia] paid them a visit, and “LPR’s” military commission demanded that the men return to the abandoned positions. The relatives suppose that the mobilized soldiers had their communication devices confiscated, and that the men got reassigned to various units. The families are trying to find an attorney for the soldiers.

There is yet another improvised detention center for draftees. This one is located in the Zaporizhzhia region at a bus stop near the place where Russian troops are stationed, not far from the military unit where soldiers are penalized by being placed in a pit. According to servicemen, delinquents are locked up at this bus stop for 2-3 days.

Ukrainian pro-Russian blogger Anatolyi Sharii posted a video, in which a Russian serviceman confesses to killing civilians in the occupied territories. He is being interrogated by a man who, judging by his uniform, is part of the Russian military police. Sharii claims that the servicemen referred to in the video were drafted in Russia's Far East, namely in Uglegorsk and Poronaysk.

Members of the State Duma [the lower house of Russia's legislative assembly] demand money from the Ministry of Defense. Alexander Khinshtein made an official request: the 426th military hospital in Samara treats, among others, draftees that were wounded in the Makiivka attack. Some hospital facilities have not been renovated since they were put into service, and the city budget is not enough to cover all the needs of the army. Deputy Minister of Defense Timur Ivanov promised to help. Timur Ivanov is responsible for construction works within the Armed Forces, and is notorious for his activities investigated by the Anti-Corruption Foundation [non-profit organization established by Alexei Navalny].

Seven more names of killed soldiers from the 1444th Regiment have been uncovered:  Aleksandr Zhelezin, Roman Bobykin, Anton Golovinskii, Nikita Dubrovin, Sergei Ligai, Mikhail Petrashov, and Oleg Davydov. In total, the team of CIT volunteers has confirmed the names of 92 soldiers killed in the Makiivka strike.

BBC News Russian has also determined names of 92 Russian soldiers killed in the strike on Makiivka (BBC and CIT lists overlap only partially). The publication points out that the list is still incomplete and will continue to grow. There’re 16 additional names that have not been confirmed dead nor alive. As a reminder, the Protokol.Samara [Samara Protocol] Telegram channel published a list of 60 people missing in action. Their names are gradually showing up in obituaries.

Given this, we can confidently state that the number of soldiers killed as a result of the strike on the building of the vocational school in Makiivka exceeds the official number of 89 as claimed by the Russian Ministry of Defense.

Mobilized soldiers from other regions of Russia also perished. Thus, mobilized Lieutenant Sergey Averyanov from Yaroslavl was killed in the “special military operation” zone. The family of the deceased 41-year-old mobilized Ruslan Mazun from Borodino have searched for him for several weeks. They were not informed of his death. According to Vasilisa, a sister of the deceased, it took a lot of effort to find and return the body of her brother to his hometown.

In Moscow, a mobilized soldier has committed suicide on the last day of his vacation before being sent to the war zone. 25-year-old Mikhail L. from Tsaritsyno mobilized in October last year jumped out of the window in front of his mother. Mikhail did not want to fight but the vacation had ended and a day later the guy had to return to the place of deployment. Because of this he drank heavily and complained about panic attacks.

In the Leningrad region, a conscript escaped from a military unit, crossed the border to Latvia and eventually received a residence permit there, according to the Baza Telegram channel. He really did not want to get to the “special military operation” zone.

The Mediazona independent Russian media outlet  told the story of mobilized Kaliningraders who fled the war zone before the New Year. They went to hand over their weapons to a police station in Podolsk, Moscow region. We reported this story in our summaries.

The Moscow Prosecutor’s Office confirmed that a resident of Chuvashia [Russia’s constituent republic] was unlawfully mobilized at his workplace. Member of the Chuvash parliament from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation Aleksandr Andreyev submitted an appeal to the Moscow Prosecutor’s Office asking to investigate unlawful mobilization of a resident of Cheboksary who worked in Moscow on a rotational basis. In Oct. 2022, the man received a draft notice from the Moscow enlistment office and on the same day he was sent to active duty, although the law required him to be enlisted by the military commissariat of his home city of Cheboksary. The Moscow Prosecutor's Office issued a communication to the military commissar and made a request to the Chief Military Prosecutor's Office for the soldier to be returned from service.

Yakov, a 35-year-old man from the city of Krasnoyarsk, is in danger of being sent to the “special military operation” area despite his complaints of frequent numbness in his right arm. Yakov’s shoulder was injured in a road accident in 2013, and a metal plate with screws was implanted in his arm to secure the pieces of the bone. At the end of Sept. 2022, Yakov was mobilized; reportedly, no medical examination was conducted regardless of his condition. Yakov has recently started to suffer from complications, but no treatment has been provided to him.

The VChK-OGPU Telegram channel reports that a man suspected of setting fire to a relay cubicle at a railway station near the city of Bryansk has been arrested. Meanwhile in Moscow, a citizen of Belarus has been detained by the police for flying a drone.

In Izhevsk, more than 4,500 residents have signed a petition against drones production in the converted Italmas shopping center located near residential buildings. They are afraid of an attack by the AFU. Despite this, on Jan. 24, First Deputy Prime Minister of Udmurtia [Russia’s constituent republic] Konstantin Suntsov said that the owner of the shopping center has the right to dispose of the property at his own discretion and no one can forbid him to “follow the chosen development vector” if this does not violate the law. The Deputy Prime Minister offered Italmas tenants to find free space in other shopping centers.

Following Russian lawyer and human rights activist Pavel Chikov, the Vyorstka [Layout] media outlet analyzed the statistics of registered crimes published by the Prosecutor General's Office. In addition, the publication provides specific examples of crimes involving weapons committed by military personnel. In general, the conclusions of Vyorstka coincide with the opinion of Pavel Chikov.

Another example of this kind of crime is reported by VChK-OGPU, citing a source. During a search of 28-year-old Artyom F., who was mobilized in early October and is currently undergoing rehabilitation after being wounded, the police seized an offensive grenade, 7.62 caliber cartridges and one large-caliber cartridge.

The 7-year-old poet Darya Vedyasheva from the town of Alatyr in the Chuvash Republic has started, with help from her teachers, to write poetry praising heroic feats by Russian soldiers performed during the war in Ukraine. In the Poretsky municipal district in Chuvashia, schoolchildren, under the direction of their teacher, sewed snoods, sweatshirts, fleece socks, pillow cases, duvet covers, and towels for the needs of the front. The pupils’ parents procured the materials. In Bashkiria [Russia’s constituent republic], women wearing T-shirts with letter Z, made pasta for the soldiers at war in Ukraine.

As one can conclude after reading the CIT summaries, volunteers, homemakers, retirees, and even children all across Russia are making trench candles for the military out of empty food cans. Master classes on how to make the candles are held regularly at schools, places of worship, and cultural centers. The Vyorstka media outlet attended one of the classes and told of an all-woman group working to “warm the army with the heat of our hearts” while the song Katyusha [a 1938 Soviet hit] was playing.

Two residents of the Chukotka Autonomous region [federal subject of Russia] who crossed the Bering Strait to escape mobilization were allowed to stay in the USA. In a few months, they will be permitted to work. The Meduza publication retells the story originally broken by The Economist.