mobilization briefs
March 14, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Mar. 12–13, 2023 CIT volunteer summary 

A legislative proposal on raising the conscription age has been submitted to the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia]. The document provides for a transitional period until 2026. The increase in the conscription age will not affect those already enrolled in the reserves. Amendments are being made to the Federal Laws "On Military Duty and Military Service" and "On Alternative Civil Service." State Duma members propose to start conscription under the new rules on Jan. 1, 2024 — citizens aged from 19 to 30 years old will be called for military service; in 2025 — from 20 to 30 years old, and in 2026 — from 21 to 30 years old. Andrey Kartapolov, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Defense, expects that the proposed bill on raising the conscription age for military service to 21 will be adopted during the spring session of the State Duma. According to him, however, the spring and fall conscription will be held according to the current regulations.

In early March, Vladimir Putin signed a decree that extended the authority of draft offices. The decree contains a very vague clause stating that the military draft offices will perform certain "other tasks." According to law experts, additional functions will be assigned to the draft offices due to the growing number of war veterans who will need to apply for appropriate benefits. What is meant by "other tasks" is difficult to say now, and the emergence of new laws that clarify these tasks cannot be ruled out.

The General Staff's [of the Armed Forces of Russia] directive on the draft deferral for fathers of three or more children is advisory, not mandatory, stated Deputy Chief of the General Staff Yevgeny Burdinsky in response to a request from State Duma member Nina Ostanina. Previously, on several occasions, she requested information from the Ministry of Defense on whether the directive on deferral was in effect and whether draft offices were notified about this. Her previous request was answered in the affirmative — the draft deferral directive for fathers of three or more children under 16 remains in effect. However, in response to a recent request from the parliamentarian, the Ministry of Defense stated that the directive was advisory in nature.

Nina Shalabayeva, Commissioner for Human Rights in the Novosibirsk region, received 300 appeals alleging the violation of mobilized men’s rights. She says that only a few were filed by the men themselves. Most were submitted by their wives, relatives, or acquaintances. To date, six people received draft deferments following their appeals.

Roman Borovkin, a man from the Vladimir region who styles himself as a “war correspondent”, published photos from a military base in the Kursk region, where servicemen from the Vladimir region train before going to war. One of the photos shows a poster that lists the objectives of the military invasion of Ukraine. They include the protection of the “Russian world” and people in the occupied territories, the fight against neo-fascism, as well as preventing NATO from deploying bases in Ukraine. The second poster depicts a Russian serviceman with “I am on my land” written in the background.

Authorities in Nizhny Novgorod are asking residents to actively monitor the sky. The regional security department advises people to call 112 if they spot a flying drone.

Each day, new names are being added to the list of Russian casualties in the war against Ukraine. Among them are Yevgeny Komardin from the Oryol region, Aleksandr Shakholdayev from the Krasnoyarsk region, Bolot Makhanov from the Zabaykalsky region and Denis Sukharev from the Arkhangelsk region.

Families of mobilized soldiers from Tatarstan [Russia’s constituent republic] are looking for relatives sent to war in Ukraine. For example, relatives of 24-year-old Ilshat Gabidullin, who was mobilized from Naberezhnye Chelny [city in the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia], told the Idel.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet that they lost contact with him more than a month ago. The man served in the 1231st Motorized Rifle Regiment. Previously, the mobilized soldiers from this regiment recorded a video message stating that they were placed under the leadership of the “DPR” military, who sent them to the assault as “cannon fodder”. After the appeal, the authorities of Tatarstan announced the return of those servicemen back to their regiment.

A soldier of the 83rd Airborne Assault Brigade reported that he is not allowed to leave the front despite his contract ending back in November. He and many other soldiers continue to serve at the front. The commanders take away personal belongings, use physical force and "promise to execute" for insubordination. According to the serviceman, he was paid only 3,900 rubles in February. Even this money he has to spend on medicines because there are no medical supplies in the brigade. As a reminder, after the signing of the decree on "partial" mobilization all contracts of the military and volunteers became indefinite until the issue of the corresponding decree.

The FSB  [Russia’s Federal Security Service] reported about the detention of a resident of the Novgorod region on charges of working for the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. The agency claims that the man allegedly tried to “persuade the mobilized to transfer information about the locations of Russian military units, to steal military equipment and to surrender voluntarily.” The suspect is arrested for two months and charged under the article on cooperation on a confidential basis with a foreign state.

In Moscow, the case of the first person accused of a terrorist attack due to the arson of a draft office was taken up. On Feb. 24, 22-year-old Kirill Butylin joined a protest against the actions of the Russian Army in Ukraine, and on the night of Feb. 28, he set fire to a draft office in Lukhovitsy, drew a Ukrainian flag on the gate with the caption “I will not go to kill my brothers” and shot it on camera. He was detained at the border of Belarus and Lithuania. During the escort, he managed to escape but was detained again. The man was charged with committing a terrorist attack, vandalism, and calls for terrorism. He pleaded guilty in full, and his mother compensated the Ministry of Defense for damages in the amount of more than 200,000 RUB [~2,600 USD].

Denis Popov, a resident of the Yaroslavl region, was sentenced to eight years in prison for an attempt to set fire to a draft office in Uglich and calls "to commit crimes against participants of the special military operation." The man was found guilty under articles on attempting a terrorist attack and calls for extremism on the Internet.

The Vladimir garrison military court has passed sentence on Grigory Titov, a resident of Oryol, who escaped from a training center for mobilized soldiers in Kovrov. The details of the case are unknown; the text of the sentence was not published within the legal time limit.

​The Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights in the Tver Region refused to consider a complaint about the torture of Ivan Kudryashov, an anti-war activist who was tortured by the FSB [Russia’s Federal Security Service] in order to force him to give false testimony against himself. The secret service officers demanded that Ivan to confess his intentions to set fire to the military commissariat.

According to the Astra Telegram channel, on Mar. 12, a relay cabinet was set on fire at the Karlaman station in Bashkiria [Russia’s constituent republic], which controls centralizing and blocking communication systems. It completely burned out. Due to arson, a freight train was delayed for 40 minutes.

Lawyers of the Pravo na zhizn [Right to Life] team have prepared recommendations for graduates of colleges and universities. Lawyers told what "tricks" military commissariats can use and explained how not to fall for their tricks.

A female resident of Moscow tried to commit suicide because of the mobilization of her brother. The woman was hospitalized at the Sklifosovsky Institute with cuts on her arms. According to her husband, she has recently been very worried about her brother, who was mobilized. The police are looking into the incident.

In Moscow, forests were cut down to deploy air defense systems in the Losiny Ostrov National Park and the Kolomenskoye Park, as well as the Timiryazevskaya and Pechatniki districts, according to The Insider's investigation. Some of these forests were reserved and protected.

Employees of kindergarten No. 130 in Kursk recorded a video singing a song called “We are Russians, let it be known to everyone that we are made of special stuff,” with children cheerfully marching to it.