mobilization briefs
January 28, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Jan. 26–27, 2023 CIT volunteer summary

Instead of destroying the confiscated clothes and shoes, the Russian government proposes to hand them over to the Ministry of Defense "as humanitarian aid". A corresponding draft bill was posted in the database of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly].

In the Zabaykalsky region, enterprises began taking military IDs from their employees. Employees are also required to bring regular IDs and other documents. Local residents believe that this may be a sign of the beginning of the second mobilization wave. According to State Duma member Andrey Gurulyov, military IDs are collected under Putin's decree on digitalization of military registration. The data in the military enlistment offices are supposedly outdated, so they are being updated.

Schools near Bryansk were instructed to prepare for the accommodation of troops in case of emergency. Principals were instructed to show educational institutions to military inspectors "without asking any questions." A local resident told Vazhnyye Istorii [iStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet] that servicemen had already visited a school and checked the shower and other conditions to accommodate about 70 soldiers.

Workers who were not paid for digging trenches at the border with Ukraine complained to Governor of the Belgorod region Vyacheslav Gladkov. The Mozhem Ob'yasnit [We can explain] Telegram channel drew attention to angry comments on the governor's VKontakte social network page. Judging by these posts, draftees and employees of state-funded entities are involved in building defensive lines. They complain to the governor about not being paid for earthworks.

A draftee from the 392nd regiment complained about heavy drinking in his unit. He claims that soldiers and the unit's commander regularly get drunk and fight using knives and gunstocks. Also, the serviceman claims a murder took place against this backdrop.

A few days ago, mobilized troops from the 346th regiment were forcibly taken to a forest line and cut off from supplies, being coerced into signing contracts. “At some point, those who kept refusing were being shot at the feet,” relatives of the soldiers told the ASTRA telegram channel.

The Chto Stryaslos’ [What’s Happened] project of the ROMB YouTube channel covered a mass fatality incident that claimed dozens of lives of mobilized residents of Volgograd on Oct. 24, 2022. There was no public acknowledgement of what had happened to the soldiers and no official mourning day was announced by the regional authorities. Even to the families of the victims, no information on the incident was disclosed. Instead, the government chose to buy their silence.

Six servicemen were injured near Belgorod when the KAMAZ truck they were in rolled over in a road accident.

In Moscow, 27-year-old Vladislav Komandzhiyev, blind in one eye, was mobilized after a medical examination. According to his mother, he had undergone 12 surgeries and has an official disability status, which did not stop the draft office from declaring him fit for service.

The Russian military death toll in Ukraine continues to grow. In the Novosibirsk region, a mobilized father of three was buried by his family. 38-year-old Konstantin Semyonov, born in the town of Chulym, was killed on Jan. 10. At the time of his mobilization in Sept. 2022, the instruction of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces that exempted fathers of three children from military service had not yet been in effect. Semyonov is known to have been deployed to the Kherson region in Dec. 2022. The circumstances of his death are not disclosed. Another two recently killed mobilized troops were from Bashkortostan [Russian constituent republic]: Sergeant Rustam Gindullin from the village of Chishma-Urakaevo and 24-year-old Maksim Chernov from the village of Tashla.

At least 12.500 Russian servicemen have been killed in the war, while the number of casualties among the mobilized has reached 823. This total number of deaths as of Jan. 27 is corroborated by publicly available data collected by Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] and BBC News Russian that maintain a list of names of Russian military men killed in the war against Ukraine. Since their latest update issued 10 days ago, 876 more names have been added to the list, and 179 of them were mobilized soldiers. The outlets also identified the names of 458 dead convicts enlisted in the Wagner Group.

19-year-old mobilized soldier Aleksey Littau from the village of Zimino, Omsk region, was captured by the Armed Forces of Ukraine in January. The Ukrainian Internet television company Espresso.TV published a video on YouTube where Aleksey said that shortly after his return from regular biannual conscription the military commissar personally had brought a draft notice to his home and threatened him with 10 years of imprisonment if he would refuse to accept it. He also promised that Aleksey would only "protect the borders of Russia". The relatives of Aleksey Littau reported this to the Sibir.Realii [Siberia reality] publication.

Russians in different regions delay the issuance of new international passports with a 10 year validity term. The authorities attribute this to "temporary" failures. According to the information received by the SOTA Telegram channel from one of the subscribers, Russia has stopped issuing international passports with a 10 year validity since Jan. 20, 2023. The Public Services Portal of the Russian Federation offers to issue passports for 5 years instead.

The Agentstvo.Novosti [Agency news] Telegram channel reports with reference to the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper that Finland has suspended the provision of asylum to Russians who fled from mobilization. The Finnish Immigration Service said that they were reviewing and updating data for Russia. The Finnish authorities have asked the European Asylum Agency to clarify whether a person's unwillingness to participate in a war is sufficient to grant refugee status. 743 Russian citizens have applied for Finnish asylum since the beginning of mobilization. More than 1100 Russians submitted similar applications in 2022. Previously Finland received from 200 to 500 of such applications per year.

Granite military club has announced paid basic military training courses for Samara residents. The event will be led by riflemen and Ukraine’s war veterans The organizers will teach civilians how to assemble and disassemble an assault rifle and use a first aid kit. They will also talk about their combat experience. The entrance fee is 1500 rubles [around $20].

Russian military men are taking home weapons from the war. They keep grenades in closets and take pistols with them on walks. Since the beginning of the war, at least 42 Russian servicemen have been put on trial for appropriation, possession, transportation, and carrying of weapons, ammunition, and explosive devices. The Vyorstka media outlet discovered this by examining the databases of all the garrison military courts in Russia.

In Krasnoyarsk, four teenagers were accused of sabotage on the railway: at the end of December, in Ovinny village near Krasnoyarsk, a transformer box that powered the railway caught fire. Young men are accused of sabotage by a group of persons (article 281 of the Criminal Code). Given the latest amendments to the Criminal Code, they face up to 20 years in prison.

The Sovetsky District Court of Bryansk arrested a 25-year-old resident of Surazh town for two months on charges of sabotage on the railway. Recall that yesterday the pro-Kremlin Telegram channel Mash reported that the detainee was sentenced to 10 days in jail.

The Central Military District Court [in Yekaterinburg] extended the period of detention of the defendants in the case of arson of the administration of the town of Bakal until June 17. They face sentences from 15 years to life in prison.

Due to the situation in Ukraine, the demand for the services of psychologists in the Novosibirsk municipal support center Rodnik has grown 70 times since the beginning of the "partial" mobilization in the Russian Federation, the media outlet reports.

A drive to collect old draperies and sheets for the needs of the front is underway in Tambov so camouflage nets could be made out of them. A veterinary clinic in the Moscow region is collecting dog fur for knitting socks for the military. In Belgorod, broken sewing machines are being collected so school children could sew shirts and underwear for soldiers. Olga Krestyaninova, a beautician and a beauty salon owner from the town of Tutaev in the Yaroslavl region, together with her friends repurposed her studio into a trench candle workshop. In the Amur region, the production of “dry borscht” for the front has reached the next level: people can now donate their Spasibo [Thank you] points to support the project. [Spasibo is a cashback bonus program offered by Sberbank, Russia’s largest consumer bank.]

Putin’s United Russia party initiated an item donation drive for the needs of the Russian army to mark the "one year anniversary of the war with Ukraine". Posters have appeared in Moscow buildings calling for Feb. 23 [the Fatherland Defender’s Day, formerly known as the Soviet Army Day] gifts for the soldiers. Judging by these flyers, the soldiers are lacking soap, toothbrushes, flashlights, batteries, lighters, tea, and cookies.

Kazaks from the hamlet of Nikolaevsky who took part in combat visited the 83rd “Kazak” kindergarten in the city of Sochi. Children sang songs for the guests.

The Vyorstka news outlet profiles Yekaterina Kolotovkina, the wife of the commander of the 2nd Combined Army. She recently drew attention to herself with her speech at a mourning rally for those killed in the strike on a vocational school in Makiivka and by handing out HIMARS-deterring shoulder patches depicting the Virgin Mary to the service members. At the same time, local entrepreneurs say that Kolotovkina’s fund is being used to pay kickbacks, and journalists consider her “a political project.”