mobilization briefs
January 31, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Jan. 29–30, 2023 CIT volunteer summary

The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation has offered to supply volunteer fighter units with weapons, military vehicles and logistic support. The draft of the order by Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s  Minister of Defense, has been published on the legal information web portal.

The UK Ministry of Defense writes about the possibility of the new wave of mobilization in Russia in their daily update on the war in Ukraine. In particular, the authors note the fact that Russian border guards are preventing Kyrgyz Russian dual citizens from leaving the country.

The members of the Legislative Assembly of the Rostov region have proposed to enact a uniform set of social guarantees for mobilized soldiers on the federal level. The members of the legislative assembly also proposed extending the social guarantees to volunteer fighters.

Roman Starovoyt, Governor of the Kursk region, stated that additional forces were sent to the region for the defense of the border with Ukraine. Starovoyt has not clarified whether the servicemen are regular contracted soldiers, conscripts or mobilized soldiers.

Andrey Kartapolov, Chairman of the State Duma [lower house of Russia’s legislative assembly] Defense Committee, said that the draft exemptions for fathers of 3 and more children under the age of 16 stayed in effect, “The Defense Committee has received the official reply from the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation confirming that the guidelines of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation enacted on Oct. 4, 2022, have not stopped being in effect.”

In the meantime, more reports are coming of fathers of many children being killed in the war, such as Nikolay Yemelyanov from the Zabaykalsky region. Mobilized soldiers who don’t have the right for draft deferment also keep on dying. Such were the cases of Nikita Panfilov from the town of Furmanov, Yevgeny Khitsov from Volgograd, and two mobilized men from the Yekaterinburg region: Denis Selyanin, 23, and Ilya Skakun, 30. Denis Blyudin from the town of Bor and Ivan Korovin, 34, from the town of Zima. A draftee from the Tyumen region was killed at the Ukrainian border, near Belgorod. It happened on November, 30 last year near the village of Novopetrovka.

The court sentenced a mobilized man from the town of Kolchugino to one year in a penal colony. The private fled a training center for the mobilized and went home to avoid going to war.

The Federal Security Service (FSB) reported they had apprehended three eighth-grade school children in the town of Chekhov, Moscow region. The report claims they damaged rail tracks after being tasked to do so via Telegram messenger. Their counterpart had allegedly promised to pay them for damaging rail tracks in the region. The boys may face life sentences.

In Yekaterinburg, the prosecution asked for thirteen years in a penal colony for a man accused of filming the arson of a draft office in the city of Nizhnevartovsk. The incident occurred back in mid-May last year. Unidentified perpetrators threw two bottles of flammable liquid that set the office's wooden wall panels on fire.

The Russian authorities continue deceiving laborers who arrived in the territories annexed by Russia to restore the infrastructure. They are being sent to dig trenches and are left without the promised pay. As the laborers themselves told the Sota Telegram channel, they had been receiving nothing but their wages.

Grigory Mikhailov, a member of the City Council in the town of Novocheboksary, was mobilized on the last day of the draft period. Many of his supporters consider this revenge for his anti-corruption activities. After he was mobilized, Dmitry Sudlenkov, son of the former chair of the Public Chamber of Chuvashia [Russia’s constituent republic], filed a request to the Prosecutor's office to relieve Mikhailov of duty due to him being often missing at the council sessions. The Prosecutor's office, however, redirected the request to the Novocheboksary City Council, which declined it.

Yevgeny Osipov, a mobilized student from Volgograd whose unlawful mobilization we covered in our summaries, was finally returned home. Osipov's family managed to get him discharged, and he left his military base on Jan. 23. He is home now.

The Russian Ministry of Defense published a video of a combat coordination exercise performed by the Central Military District motorized rifle units in the "special military operation" zone.

Governor of the Zabaykalsky region Aleksandr Osipov instructed to introduce rewards for soldiers from the region for capturing or destroying NATO tanks. For example, the capture of a Leopard tank would net the serviceman three million rubles. However, lawyers believe the decision to be against the law. "Article 71 of the Constitution assigns military concerns to federal jurisdiction. Regional authorities are not authorized to reward anyone, let alone collect information about particular events of the war necessary to pay any reward money. At the same time, misappropriation of budgetary funds is a criminal offense punishable by up to five years in prison."

A memorial to the “heroes of the special military operation" will be erected in the village of Aginskoye, Zabaykalsky region, with a population of about 7000 people. The village administration announced a competition to choose a sketch. The memorial will be built at the expense of the presidential Far Eastern Unified Subsidy inter-budget transfer. At the same time, many Russian regions are reducing the amount of aid for children with disabilities. This happens, in particular, in the Sverdlovsk and Volgograd regions, as well as in the Jewish Autonomous region.

In the Moscow region, vocational school students are being coerced into signing an informed consent form to “voluntarily” join a boot camp in the Avangard “patriotic” youth center associated with the Ministry of Defense. Students are threatened with expulsion if they refuse to volunteer, referring to the order issued by the Ministry of Education. The form that the students are forced to sign states that participants of the boot camp bear all risks to their health and life while organizers waive any liabilities, therefore, students have no right to demand compensation in case of injury.

The children's Orthodox Christian club "Velikovrazhskaya Druzhina Dmitriya Donskogo" [Dmitry Donskoy’s squad in Velikii Vrag] in Kstovo "educates patriots" through prayer, training with assault rifle dummies and playing laser tag. The squad begins each training session with a prayer, and reports from training sessions on social media are mixed with posts in support of the Wagner Group and criticism of compatriots who fled from mobilization.

The leisure project for the retired "Moscow longevity" created by the Moscow City Hall is used to supply the Russian Army. Volunteers there, mostly women, weave camouflage nets, make special pillows for hospitals, and collect tin cans, from which trench candles are subsequently made. Their activities are organized by the OPSB association, which calls itself "people's assistance to the Russian Army".

The Ogonyok [Light] kindergarten from Novy Urengoy organized a fundraiser for military personnel. The money was collected from the families of the students. As a result, they collected 20 thousand rubles.

The Vyorstka media outlet has collected information about who and how uses the labor of children and retired people to provide soldiers on the front lines. Retired people, schoolchildren, students, pupils of children's social institutions, and even kids from orphanages across the country are involved in the manufacture. At master classes, electives, technology lessons, and practical classes in colleges, they weave camouflage nets for military equipment, make trench candles and potbelly stoves, sew clothes for the mobilized, and bake bread. Elderly Russians knit socks and write letters to the front from nursing homes. Orders for these products, as the Vyorstka found out, often come directly from military units.

The war and the mass migration of the young Russian citizens that followed will seriously affect Russia’s demographics, reports The Insider. Demographer Aleksey Raksha thinks that the birth rates will decrease by 12–15% already in the next year and a half. A diverse group of demographers from several countries and belonging to different institutions share similar predictions. For example, Bloomberg published an article in October on a record fall in birth rates due to the war. The authors estimate that the war caused the birth rate to fall to 1.2 children per woman, a number not seen in Russia since 1999.

The Vazhnyye Istorii [iStories, an independent Russian investigative media outlet] conducted an investigation on how the war exacerbated the situation of small ethnic minorities disappearing. These ethnic populations, already on the brink of extinction, may vanish forever because of the full-scale war.