mobilization briefs
July 11, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Jul. 9-10, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

Vladimir Putin has signed a bill simplifying the process of obtaining a residence permit for foreigners who are contract servicemen of the Ministry of Defense as well as their family members into law. One year is the minimum duration of such a contact.

The Committee on State Building and Legislation of the State Duma [lower house of Russia's Federal Assembly] voted against the draft resolution on legislative pardon on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the USSR's formation. The draft was submitted by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. The bill’s authors proposed to pardon all accused and convicted for spreading knowingly false information about the Russian Armed Forces, repeated discrediting of the Armed Forces, and a number of other articles of the Criminal Code. First Deputy Chairman of the Committee on State Building Irina Pankina stated that the number of convicts in Russia has reached a "historic minimum." According to her, as of Feb. 1, 2023, there were about 400,000 people under penal custody. It is worth noting that since last year, the authorities have been actively recruiting convicts to fight in Ukraine. At first, this was done through the Wagner Group, but now the Ministry of Defense recruits contract servicemen among convicts.

Member of the State Duma from the Zabaykalsky region Andrey Gurulyov stated that convicts recruited to participate in the war against Ukraine are not awarded state honors due to their outstanding criminal records.

Oleg Mantulin, the security advisor to the governor of the Belgorod region, announced plans to establish an organization with a license for firearms and the purchase of 400 weapons to address the issue of arming the territorial defense. Mantulin also revealed that the Belgorod self-defense structure currently consists of eight battalions with a total of 2,900 personnel. However, there are plans to expand the number. The regional authorities allocated over 400 million rubles for the purchase of equipment for territorial defense.

Governor of the Irkutsk region Igor Kobzev signed a decree stating that war participants who are orphans will be prioritized in receiving housing. In Russia, nearly 290,000 orphaned children are on the waiting list for housing. In some regions, the waiting period ranges from 5 to 12 years.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

From March to July 2023, at least 650 volunteers from the Vladimir region went to the war with Ukraine. Journalists from the Tomiks media outlet based on regional authorities' publications, calculated that the intensity of recruiting volunteer fighters has increased recently.

The Ministry of Defense continues to place advertisements for contract service. Yet another commercial offers to those who want to sign a contract to apply to stationary and mobile recruiting centers in the Rostov region, where, as stated, it is possible to enlist under a contract within a day.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated with German Bekker from Russia's constituent Republic of Komi, Nikolay Elkin from the Kirov region, Roman Gladkov from the Belgorod region, Aleksandr Bespalov from Saint Petersburg, Konstantin Monastyrskiy from the Krasnodar region, Denis Muharov from Russia's constituent republic of Chuvashia and Andrey Kazakov from the Krasnoyarsk region.

Meduza [international Russian-language online media outlet] and Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] in collaboration with Dmitry Kobak, a researcher specializing in excess mortality, studied data from Rosstat [Federal State Statistics Service] and the National Probate Registry and found that at least 47,000 Russian soldiers were killed during the war in Ukraine. The study also estimates the number of severely wounded, missing and captured Russians. Including those who were discharged due to serious injuries, the cumulative Russian losses could be at least 125,000. The data department of the Vazhnyye Istorii [iStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet], which also calculated Russia's losses in the war, explained the difference in the assessment of losses between the studies—the Vazhnyye Istorii estimates the lowest limit ("not less than"), while Meduza and Mediazona estimate the highest limit ("not more than"). Thus, the calculations are correct for all these media outlets, but reflect different approaches to studying data.

Complaints and Addresses

Servicemen of the Storm Z units, made up of former prisoners, which are part of the 27th Motor Rifle Brigade, recorded an address from a hospital before returning to the frontline. According to the men, the wounded were delivered to the hospital for 2 to 3 days and then returned back as being fully combat-ready. Those who would refuse to get back into the ranks, were threatened with death. The servicemen at the frontline get no supplies and have no opportunity to rest, while their commanders task them with impossible missions. Moreover, it takes several days to evacuate casualties while dead bodies are not evacuated at all. Less than 25 men are left in the company out of the original 110.

Mobilized soldiers from the 12th Tank Regiment have been confined in the basement in Zaitseve, Luhansk region, as one of the platoon commanders refused to lead the soldiers into the "meat grinder" alongside the Storm special unit. Another junior commander was beaten. Part of the military personnel are being held in Svatove because they demanded their regiment commander to grant them their due leaves. They are forced to study the military regulations, endure harsh treatment, and haul water.

Draftees from the 380th Motorized Rifle Regiment, stationed in the Kursk region, have revealed the conditions of their confinement in the so-called pits. According to the soldiers, one can end up there for the smell of alcohol or being too talkative. The mobilized also recount constant beatings by military police and being forced into strenuous physical labor. The commanders mention the assignment to the Storm unit as the most terrifying punishment.

Journalists from the Sibir.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet, have collected stories shared by the relatives of mobilized soldiers from the 394th Regiment, who continue to complain about the lack of supplies, ammunition, difficulties in communication with officers, and the flawed process of evacuating the wounded. In combat situations, even soldiers with minor injuries face challenges in evacuation, and during hospital transfers, documents are often lost, making it difficult for the families of the soldiers to receive any information about their whereabouts.

Numerous relatives of mobilized soldiers have left complaints regarding the absence of leaves in the Telegram channel of head of Tatarstan (Russia’s constituent Republic) Rustam Minnikhanov under his post with congratulations on the Day of Family, Love, and Loyalty, as noted by the Idel.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet.

According to the Sota media outlet, the appeal from the relatives of the mobilized published by Yakutiya's (Russia’s constituent Republic) State Duma member Fedot Tumusov mentions the encirclement of the 83rd Air Assault Brigade near Bakhmut, resulting in the alleged loss of one third of the personnel.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings, and Incidents

In Krasnodar, deputy head of the municipal mobilization department captain 2nd rank Stanislav Rzhitsky, was killed during a morning jog. He was shot multiple times in the back and chest. The suspect, as claimed, fled. Ukrainian media accused Rzhitsky of the missile strike on Vinnytsia in July 2022.

The Yakutiya.Antifake Telegram channel requested to check the reports of a meeting between member of the Legislative Assembly of Yakutiya Elena Golomaryova and human rights ombudsperson Sardana Guryeva with the families of war participants. The information about the meeting was exchanged between users on WhatsApp, although, according to the channel's information, Golomaryova and Guryeva had plans for such a meeting.

The Murmansk Regional Court sentenced officer Aleksandr N. to two years in a penal colony for failure to execute orders. According to the investigators, the contract soldier twice refused to obey the order to go to the combat zone. The soldier pleaded guilty, justifying his refusal with the deteriorating health of his relatives.

A court in the Moscow region sentenced a contract soldier to five years of suspended imprisonment for going AWOL. In January 2023, he was supposed to go to the combat zone. Instead, he left the unit and only appeared at the investigative department in March, where he pleaded guilty.

In the Oryol region, arson occurred on the railway between Oryol-2 and Kromskaya stations, a relay cabinet completely burned down. To date, no one has been detained.

The Dovod media outlet reported about the partisan movement in the Vladimir region, whose members set fire to military commissariats [enlistment offices] and damaged railroad tracks in protest against the invasion of Ukraine.

Children

The State Duma is going to create a series of videos about the war in Ukraine for schoolchildren. The series titled "What Are We Fighting For?" features participants in the war who will tell children about the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The initiative by Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Education Yana Lantratova was supported by the Ministry of Defense.

In the Belgorod region, compulsory civil defense classes will be introduced in schools and kindergartens beginning from Sept. 1, 2023. Such an instruction was given by Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov during an operational meeting.

At a summer camp in the town of Svobodny, Amur region, 190 schoolchildren were lined up to form the letter Z, which Russian authorities use as a symbol of the war in Ukraine. The event was held to the song "Vstanem" ["Let's Stand Up"] by Shaman [a stage name of Russian pro-war singer Yaroslav Dronov best known for his song "Ya russkiy" (I'm Russian)].

In the Astrakhan region, the administration purchased gift certificates for children of killed participants in the war. According to the tender, a total of 11 gift certificates of the Planeta Detstva [Planet of Childhood] store with a face value of 3,000 rubles [$ 33] each will be purchased.

Miscellaneous 

The administration of the Krasnodar region has demanded that local businesses organize lectures for their workers justifying the war. The announced topic is "Ukrainization," which allegedly forced Putin to declare war.

Novaya Gazeta Evropa [independent Russian newspaper] has published an article describing how Russian law enforcement turns residents of the occupied part of Ukraine into terrorists by reporting fabricated crimes. Children, volunteers, and basically random people with Ukrainian citizenship have been subjected to arrests and torture.

Last week in Tyumen, Federal Security Service [FSB] officers killed a person during an arrest. According to the agency's version, the man was preparing a terrorist attack. According to his girlfriend, he was planning to go to war as a volunteer fighter in the ranks of the Russian Army.

In Russian regions, there has been a sharp increase in crimes committed by minors. Psychologists believe that military propaganda and "patriotic upbringing" are direct causes of the growing child aggression. The tense social atmosphere also contributes to the rise in criminal activity.