mobilization briefs
July 22, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Jul. 20-21, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary 

Authorities and Legislation

Chairman of the Defense Committee of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] Andrey Kartapolov stated that the lower age limit for conscription will not be increased from 18 years to 21 years after all. "Too many young men wish to serve immediately when they turn 18," he argued. However, he had previously justified the change to the lower age limit to 21 years on the grounds it would improve the quality of recruits. It is worth noting that the bill, which passed a first reading previously, would allow people to join the armed forces at 18 years of age if they wished, by simply submitting a voluntary request. Kartapolov did not mention this possibility when explaining why the lower limit needed to remain unchanged. At present, the upper age limit for conscription is still planned to be gradually increased. RBC [Russian media group] summarizes the evolution of the authorities’ approach to changing the conscription age. Demography expert Dmitry Zakotyansky estimates that the mobilization reserve will exceed 2 million people as a result of this legislative change, which is especially significant, given the demographic decline of the beginning of the 2000s.

In an interview to the URA.RU media outlet, State Duma Member from the Zabaykalsky region Andrey Gurulyov stated that a new wave of mobilization is not planned in Russia, because its industry will struggle to supply a larger force for now. "If production was increased, then it would be possible to consider further mobilization," said Gurulyov. Later he claimed that his words were misinterpreted and that "this year, definitely, no further mobilization is planned."

Amendments to the law "On Psychiatric Care" were adopted in the third reading by the Russian State Duma. The new legislation abolishes independent organizations advocating for people with mental disabilities. Not only does it fail to protect people with disabilities from being locked into institutionalized psychiatric care, but it also creates obstacles that keep them trapped inside the system, providing no framework for supported housing options. The amendments will deprive more than 160,000 people living in Russian psychiatric care facilities of their basic human rights. The new legislation will also affect disabled veterans of the war in Ukraine, consistently aligning with the approach adopted in the past, when veterans of World War II, the Afghan war and the Chechen war were largely excluded from society.

A law introducing the 13% personal income tax rate for Russian citizens working for Russian companies from abroad, regardless of their tax residency, was adopted by the State Duma in the third reading. Annual income above the 5 million ruble limit will be subject to 15% taxes.

Other than that, the State Duma adopted a law that allows members of Rosgvardia [the National Guard of Russia] to perform their military service due to a mobilization order in the National Guard Forces Command of the Russian Federation. The new legislation will also allow for short-term contracts for the special mission police service in Rosgvardia.

Members of the State Duma passed a bill in the first reading, according to which families of law enforcement officers from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Federal Penitentiary Service, the Federal Bailiff Service, the Ministry of Emergency Situations, and the Federal Customs Service of Russia, who were killed in the war with Ukraine, will receive a payment to acquire housing. If the document is approved, it will come into effect from the date of official publication and will apply to legal relations starting from Feb. 24, 2022.

The Ministry of Digital Development, Communications, and Mass Media announced that from Jul. 24 to Aug. 8, employees of accredited IT companies must independently submit applications through the Gosuslugi public services portal for a draft deferment from statutory military service during the fall conscription. The IT companies must confirm the draft deferments of their employees through the Gosuslugi public services portal by Aug. 11.

A bill has been introduced in the State Duma proposing to extend the mechanism of revoking citizenship to individuals who acquired it by birth. The revocation of citizenship is proposed as a punishment for committing crimes based on more than 60 articles of the Criminal Code, including discrediting of the army, evading military service, desertion, calls for separatism, rehabilitation of Nazism, as well as actions against the Federal Security Service (FSB). The authors of the bill are "senators" from the occupied regions: "LPR," Crimea, and Sevastopol. Many journalists note that the prospects of this bill are unclear since its authors are not among the senators trusted to pass serious legislation through the parliament. For instance, Senator Andrey Klishas criticized this initiative, stating that the bill contradicts the fundamentals of the constitutional system, and a politician proposing something similar should "reconsider whether he can hold his position."

State Duma member Yana Lantratova sent a suggestion to First Deputy Minister of Defense Ruslan Tsalikov, proposing an increase in the annual leave of mobilized soldiers from 28 to 30 days. Additionally, she recommended that soldiers be granted additional days of leave for their involvement in combat activities.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

A state-owned funeral home in Novosibirsk posted an advertisement for contract-based military service on its social media page. Contract service ads were also seen on gates of the Skazka [Fairy Tale] kindergarten in the town of Yelets, Lipetsk region.

Regions of Russia continue to report on the deployment of volunteer fighters to the war. Seventy men left the Vladimir region, while four left the Bratsk district of the Irkutsk region. Furthermore, a group from the Nizhny Novgorod region was sent to a training unit to engage in joint combat training exercises.

In Kaluga, foreigners applying for Russian citizenship claimed that migration service officials allegedly refused to accept their documents without certificates from the military commissariat [enlistment office]. However, those applying were unable to obtain written refusals of document submission from officials.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Anton Kuvshinov from Volgograd, Aleksey Kapitonov and Vitaly Komissarov from Russia’s constituent Republic of Tatarstan, Nikolay Mikhailov from the Orenburg region, Dmitry Sambayev from Russia’s constituent Republic of Buryatia, Vladislav Zhabin from the Novgorod region, Sergey Yeganov from the Saratov region, Andrey Fomenko from Saint Petersburg, Aleksandr Sitnichenko from the Vladimir region, Daniil Chetvergov from Kursk, Aleksandr Yevtushenko from Penza, and Pyotr Sergeyev from the Pskov region.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings, and Incidents

The Novosibirsk Garrison Military Court has sentenced a mobilized soldier to five years, suspended for a three-year probationary period for failing to appear for service on time without valid reasons. The soldier fled from the train station in Rostov-on-Don during the unit restructuring process because he did not receive the promised payments and, "wishing to find out the reasons for the non-payment of allowances," returned home.

The Stavropol Garrison Military Court has sentenced a contract soldier to two years and three months in a penal settlement for failing to execute an order during mobilization. The serviceman refused to go to Ukraine in October 2022 as his contract had already expired. A month prior to that he had applied for resignation but the commanders rejected it due to mobilization.

The Tula Garrison Military Court has sentenced a serviceman to five years in a penal colony for going AWOL during mobilization. The man failed to appear at his unit on Nov. 22 and remained at home for two months before surrendering to the military police on Feb. 13. The trial was held with 200 servicemen attending. Previously, at least two show trials had been held in Tula.

On the night of Jul. 21, an unidentified man set two buses on fire in the territory of the Institute for Advanced Training of Employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Domodedovo, Moscow region, and ran away. The fire was extinguished in two hours and no one was hurt.

A 51-year-old local man, Yevgeny Burago, was arrested in Berdsk on suspicion of an arson attack on the draft office. He is charged with the intentional destruction of property. The man had previously posted critiques of Putin on his social network page.

Assistance

‚Äč‚ÄčMilitary hospital patients were taken on a cultural outing to Saint Petersburg museums. The idea was initiated by the United Russia party [Putin‚Äôs ruling party]. The Russian Museum expressed hopes that these servicemen would find solace in the realm of creativity and, after recuperation, will "return with their families and the victory."

The FORES oilfield service holding, whose offices were subject to searches in March, has awarded Russian soldiers with 500,000 rubles [around $5,500] each for their role in destroying Western tanks.

Residents of Slobodo-Turinsky district of the Sverdlovsk region sent a motorcycle with a sidecar to military medics. In another display of support, residents of Volokolamsk sent another aid package to the frontline.

Children 

Military centers and camps aimed at training teenagers in military specialties have been established across Russia. Several projects focused on youth military preparation received support from the Presidential Grants Fund. Voin [Warrior] military training centers have been set up in 12 regions of the country. Over 9,000 youths between the ages of 14 and 17 are expected to undergo training there.

Artyom Sheikin, the Deputy Chairman of the Council for the Development of the Digital Economy under the Federation Council, announced that starting from Sept. 1, children in schools will be learning the fundamentals of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operation as part of their basic military training course.

In the courtyard of a residential building in Ulyanovsk, the Regional Center for Patriotic Education organized a "military-applied art" workshop, where children were taught how to shoot an assault rifle.

The events around the Perm Gymnasium with an emphasis on studying German, put under pressure by the Prikamskiye vityazi [Prikamsky Knights] local pro-Russian community (we reported about the situation earlier), have developed. Although pro-government activists succeeded in making the principal and main teachers resign, dissatisfied parents still managed to defend the school and achieve a compromise with officials, the details of which, however, have not been disclosed yet.

Miscellaneous

Former mercenaries of the Wagner Group sell their medals for hundreds of thousands of rubles in pawnshops and online marketplaces. For example, the medal "For the capture of Soledar" costs 40,000 rubles [$442], and the set of medals "Bakhmut Meat Grinder"‚ÄĒ100,000 rubles [$1,105]. According to the owner of an antique shop, mercenaries sell medals because they need money.

Avon Products, Inc, Russia, is looking into reports that Russian Volunteer Corps leaflets were found in boxes of the company's cosmetics, as this "contradicts the company's mission to support women through beauty."

The Sibir.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet published a report from the village of Domna in the Zabaykalsky region. –ź lot of male residents there went to war, some of them went to the army on a contract basis, and others were mobilized. The journalists managed to interview some of them about their attitude towards the war.