mobilization briefs
January 7, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Jan. 4-6, 2023, CIT volunteer summary

The Russian authorities want to carry out "income mobilization",  that is to charge a one-time fee from large businesses for the needs of the "special military operation". According to Bloomberg, lump sum payments will affect coal and fertilizer producers as well as state-owned companies — they want to set dividends for them above 50% of profits. The collected money is going to be spent on military needs, and the tax burden is due to problems in the state budget.

The General Staff of Ukraine devoted part of its evening's report to Russia's preparations for a new wave of mobilization. In it, among other things, the following is reported: “To support the offensive potential and make up for losses, the Russians continue to carry out mobilization measures” and “The military-political leadership of the Russian Federation is taking measures to prevent the mass departure of men of military age abroad before the next wave of mobilization, which is expected in January. A complete ban on crossing the state border for men of military age is not ruled out.” Meanwhile, chief of the Estonian Defense Forces intelligence center Colonel Margo Grosberg said that a new wave of mobilization could be expected after Christmas.

Draft notices had allegedly begun to be distributed in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Tver. Eyewitnesses say that young people are stopped right in the street, their documents are checked and the draft notices are handed over. However, the Sota Telegram channel calls such information fake, “the Sota, as well as other independent media, is receiving photos and videos with fake draft notices. A number of signs speak in favor of the fact that this is a fake, including different signatures of the same person on the forms”.

Governor of the Samara region Dmitry Azarov, head of the "DPR" Denys Pushylin and Deputy Minister of Defense of Russia Viktor Goremykin have visited the mobilized soldiers injured as a result of the strike on a vocational school in Makiivka in the hospitals in Rostov-on-Don and the "DPR". Pushylin said that Vladimir Putin had decided to award 6 survivors "for heroism during the tragedy in Makiivka." Governor Azarov showed the state of the hospital in Makiivka, which has been controlled by the “DPR” since 2014, where some of the injured soldiers were hospitalized after the strike on the vocational school building on New Year’s Eve. Despite claims in the video that the hospital is well equipped, the footage shows shabby walls, old beds, and a lack of medical equipment.

"Approximately 60-70 soldiers" from the Samara region who were injured as a result of the strike on Makiivka, Donetsk region, will be sent home for treatment, the head of the Samara region said. The press service of the regional government has also reported that 45 soldiers, who had been injured in Makiivka and been treated at a Rostov hospital, arrived in the Samara region.

A source of the VChK-OGPU Telegram channel said that the death toll from the strike on the vocational school building in Makiivka was growing every day, not so much because of the discovery of corpses under the rubble, but mostly because of the deaths of severely injured soldiers. According to the source, the use of mobile phones was named as a reason “to make the killed soldiers themselves guilty and to shield the military leadership of the First Army Corps of the “DPR” from prosecution.” Another source of this Telegram channel said that “an active search is now underway for someone who could be publicly blamed,” and also that during the interrogation of the commanders of the 1444th Motor Rifle Regiment (this regiment was deployed in the vocational school building in Makiivka), Colonel Roman Enikeyev and Chief of Staff Vladimir Kuzkin, it was established that they were absent from the vocational school building at the time of the strike "having a New Year's party separately from the soldiers". At the same time, the source of the VChK-OGPU Telegram channel believes that the real number of victims could be about 300 people. The volunteers who visited the place claim that the mobilized soldiers who came under fire cleared the debris themselves.

Families of mobilized troops attacked in Makiivka appealed to Dmitry Azarov, Governor of the Samara region. They pointed out that survivors of the deadly strike were promised to be returned to Russia for recovery and rehabilitation and were due to receive new uniforms and recognition certificates. None of these promises have been fulfilled yet. “They are all traumatized. “Fireworks” trigger panic attacks in most of them. After all, they are no contract soldiers but simple hard-working men,” a wife of one of the mobilized survivors told the ASTRA Telegram channel. She also added that those who had not sustained any injury in the attack were likely to be sent back to the front line again.

Residents of the Samara region demand that the authorities release the full list of military personnel who were attacked in Makiivka on the first night of this year, including both those who were killed and those who survived. Russian officials remain silent — not only because it is hard to identify the dead bodies, but also because the number of the deceased can be shocking, military analyst Yan Matveyev believes. A petition demanding that the Ministry of Defense disclose the full list of those killed in the attack has raised more than 38,000 signatures in two days.

Some information started to come through to relatives of those injured and killed in the incident in Makiivka. However, the fate of many husbands and sons still remains unknown to their families. There is a large number of comments on social media from those who were unable to find their family members either in the list of the injured, or in the list of the deceased. They are being reassured that their relative may be alive but still unconscious. However, these soldiers are most likely to be eventually reported missing, and there is little chance for a list of missing servicemen to be released any time soon. Presumably, such a list can be compiled after the DNA analysis has been completed on all human remains recovered from the scene. “They provide no information apart from confirming that the person is not found on the list of the dead. But we need to know for sure that he is alive and well,” relatives argue. “Why haven’t they released the list of those who survived, so that mothers and wives stop going out of their mind with anxiety? There is no list of those missing! We call the Ministry of Defense every day but we can’t find out anything!” Vladimir Levagin from the city of Tolyatti is looking for Aleksandr Dubylkin, a mobilized soldier. He told the Vyorstka Telegram channel that his relative was stationed in Makiivka and that there has been no information on his whereabouts since Jan. 1, “Officials tell us that we have to wait.” Meanwhile, the Vazhnye Istorii [iStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet] spoke to a mother of one of those injured. According to her, 112 more soldiers injured in Makiivka remain in the hospital in the city of Rostov.

There were reports on social networks about draftees killed during the attack on Makiivka. Here is a photo of Sergey Bastrakov and Vladimir Kuzyaev. It became known that as a result of the attack on Makiivka, mobilized servicemen Yevgeny Tarasov, born in 1982 from Togliatti, Georgy Lozhkin, born in 1976 from Novokuybyshevsk, Aleksandr Androsov, born in 1984 from the village of Maryevka, Nikita Kuruntyaev, born in 1989 from the village of Yelkhovka, Yevgeny Yerkin, born in 1979 from the village of Sukhaya Vyazovka, Askhat Asimov, born in 1993 from the village of Pestravka, Aleksandr Panteleev from the village of Obsharovka and Dmitry Romadanov were killed. All of them were from the Samara region. It was thus possible to identify 11 victims of the attack on a vocational school dormitory in Makiivka.

A mobilized man from Novokuibyshevsk returned back home a day before the Makiivka strike. A father of three was mobilized in fall. By law, fathers of many children or of disabled children are exempted from the forced participation in the war. He managed to leave the unit after publications in the media, statements to the prosecutor's office and with the assistance of local officials, to whom the family turned. The man returned home on Dec. 31, before the attack on Makiivka.

Samara authorities are trying to control dissatisfaction with the deaths of the mobilized in Makiivka. A reader of the Protokol.Samara media outlet was sent an invitation to a mourning rally on behalf of an unknown association Nam ne Vsyo Ravno [We care]. It suggests a collection of “absolutely everything” for the survivors: from underpants to medications, will be arranged and vodka will be served. The organizers do not detail whether the rally was approved, but they say the vodka is a gift from Samara businessmen. Aleksandr Mileyev, member of the regional Duma, is often called a “vodka king” by the press for his connection with the Rodnik vodka production.

Several different organizations and individuals continue to collect aid for the mobilized survivors of Makiivka despite the fact that the Governor of Samara region reported that everything necessary for the wounded had already been provided. As reported by the ASTRA Telegram channel, the collections are carried out simultaneously by the ruling United Russia party employees, a director of an outfit and gear store, and volunteers. Among the essentials on the lists are: socks, shorts, sleeping bags, medical supplies, and military gear.

Mobilization to the RuAF is ongoing in the territory of the so-called DPR. E.g., a woman residing in Makiivka told about raids conducted by draft offices on new employees of a coal mine: men, who have just started their new positions, are being allegedly mobilized at once. According to her, a “military patrol”, reportedly, lurks with filled draft notices by the entrance to the coal mine. Information about new employees may be revealed [to draft offices] by the management of the coal mine. “A military commissar just needs to send out a patrol by the end of a shift”, the woman claims.

iStories media outlet summed up the outcomes of “partial” mobilization starting from its beginning on Sept. 21, 2022.

The war speeds up the decline of the Russian population, according to the demographer Aleksey Raksha. Effects of poverty, emigration, mobilization and war losses will show up in 2023 already. In 2022, the overall population of Russia reached its 10 year low, but in 2023, the country will fall into a demographic pit. Circa one million residents have left Russia in regard to mobilization, an abrupt increase in marriages can be observed, and war losses might comprise up to 55,000 men, according to Aleksey Raksha.

The mobilization deprived contract soldiers of the opportunity to discharge. Courts in the southern regions of Russia refuse servicemen in discharging even though the term of their contracts had expired long before the announcement of the mobilization, according to court practice, which has been studied by Kavkaz.Realii media outlet [Caucasus.Realities, a local subdivision of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty media company, which covers developments in the North Caucasian regions of Russia].

The mobilized from Mari El [Russia’s constituent republic]  could have been sent to Ukraine without training. They had been trained as artillery men for three months, but they were transferred to infantry on the front line. The same situation was reported by wives of the mobilized from Bashkortostan [Russia’s constituent republic]  on Jan. 4. Director of the Management center of the head of the Republic of Bashkortostan Elena Prochakovskaya responded to the complaints of wives of the mobilized regarding the decision to reassign their husbands from artillery to infantry, “Commanders at different levels have sometimes to take tough but fair decisions. It is required for victory”.

Mothers of disabled children are trying to return their mobilized husbands home. The Sibir.Realii [Siberia.Realities] news outlet told the stories of four women who are trying to return their mobilized husbands home. On Oct. 4, the Russian General Staff issued a special directive relieving fathers of three or more children as well as fathers of disabled children from being drafted. In practice, however, the directive is not always followed.

Soldiers asked Penza residents to send them gear, communication equipment, and technical means, not “sweets and cookies.” Participants of the “special military operation” recorded a video from the Afghan club belonging to the Russian Union of Afghan War Veterans in Penza in which they stated, among other things, that quadcopters and thermal imagers are needed at the front.

A video recorded by soldiers from Yakutia [Russia’s constituent republic] at the frontline in Ukraine has been published on the internet in which the service members show their trenches, gear, clothing, and food. Speaking Yakutian, they express their disillusionment with the Russian Army.

Details have emerged on the fire that erupted at a camp in the village of Cheremushki in the Omsk region. According to the preliminary information, a spark from a heating stove caused the accident. No soldiers were hurt but their personal items and documents burned down. The Omsk region governor’s Telegram channel claims, “The fighters have already been issued replacement passports and military cards. The guys were immediately rehoused and given new clothing and outfits.”

According to the Baza Telegram channel, three people [two of them are minors] were detained in Rostov-on-Don on suspicion of intending to set fire to a military commissariat [enlistment office].

Sergeant Roman Kashtakov, awarded the title of Hero of Russia at the beginning of the war for blowing up five APCs with one shot, was given a suspended sentence for refusing to return to the war. The verdict handed down to Kashtakov on Oct. 28 says that the serviceman “...decided to temporarily not arrive at the “special military operation” zone in the village of Urazovo, Belgorod region. For going AWOL (reluctance to come back from vacation), Kashtakov was sentenced to 2 years’ probation.

The Russian Ministry of Defense reports that T-90M Proryv [Breakthrough] tank crews of the tank unit of the Central Military District continue combat coordination in the rear areas of the "special military operation".

Another trainload of mobilized soldiers left Tyumen on Jan. 5 after they had undergone combat coordination. This time, most of the departing servicemen were from neighboring regions.

Mobilized soldier Nikolay Pereverzev, born in 1975 from the village of Spasskoye, Medvensky district, Kursk region, was killed on Dec. 15 on the territory of the “DPR” in Bakhmut.

Several mobilized soldiers under the age of 40 might have escaped from a military base in Belarus, presumably they were armed. They are put on the wanted list in the Minsk region. Let us recall that a group of soldiers had already escaped from the Obuz-Lesnovsky training ground near Baranavichi. There hasn’t been any information about their capture yet.