mobilization briefs
March 17, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Mar. 15–16, 2023, CIT volunteer summary 

During his trip to St. Petersburg, Deputy Chairman of Russia's Security Council Dmitry Medvedev held a meeting on enlistment to military service by contract and visited the military commissariat [enlistment office] of the Leningrad region.

Based on statements made by the ministry's press service, Forbes reports that Russia's Ministry of Finance is not planning to issue "patriotic bonds." The Ministry confirmed that such an idea was discussed, but specific details were not worked out.

The Government of the Russian Federation intends to add 12 000 employees to the military-industrial sector. To do this, training courses for relevant specialties will be offered to job seekers through employment offices.

Member of the State Duma [lower house of Russia's Federal Assembly] Defense Committee Andrey Gurulyov commented on the draft law on raising the conscription age and told how the spring call-up of conscripts, which should start in a couple of weeks, will take place. In an interview with the newspaper Parlamentskaya Gazeta, he said that "in the event of a major war against the Russian Federation," an increase in the draft age is "quite justified." He also added that "conscripts will not be sent to the regions bordering Ukraine and to the zone of the special military operation. At least not yet."

As reported by lawyer and human rights activist Pavel Chikov, in 43 regions of Russia, reservists are being summoned to military commissariats for military service register check-ups and to be invited to military training camps.

The 7x7 Telegram channel posted photos of draft notices for "military training camps" that were issued to residents of the Sverdlovsk and Penza regions. Military commissariat officials visited several men from the village of Studentchesky, Sverdlovsk region, and summoned them to training camps. The men were required to report to a military commissariat on Mar. 14 for military service register check-up, and the next day to report to a military unit in Yelan for a month-long training. In the Penza region, the military commissar announced 6-day and 30-day "military training camps." They are supposedly "held regularly" and are needed for training and retraining of reservists. Photos of draft notices for "reservist training" issued in Chuvashia [Russia's constituent republic] were published by the Syerditaya Chuvashia [Angry Chuvashia] Telegram channel.

A draft notice was sent to a resident of Voronezh who died 2 years ago. The military commissar invited him for "military service register data check-up." Recall that similar cases were noted earlier: draft offices in Mordovia [Russia’s constituent republic] sent draft notices to men who died seven and eight years ago, and in Yekaterinburg — to a mother of a child who died 13 years ago.

The 7x7 Telegram channel contacted a 27-year-old resident of Voronezh, who was visited by representatives of a draft office at his registration address on Mar. 13. A young man who served in the army now lives in Voronezh, but is registered in the region, so he avoided meeting them. He decided to call the military commissariat himself. He was asked by phone where he lived and what position he worked in, whether he had a wife and children, and his telephone number. Representatives of the draft office also said that, "if needed, the draft notice will at least come to the place of work." Although, in September, the man already called the draft office and specified his data there.

The authorities of the Khorinsky district of Buryatia [Russia’s constituent republic] announced the dispatch of a new group of mobilized soldiers for the war. A corresponding post was published on the administration's page on the VKontakte social network on Mar. 16: “The newly mobilized residents of the Khorinsky and Kizhinginsky districts set off on a long journey. First, they will reach the military unit in the town of Kyakhta, then they will undergo training and upon the completion, they will go to the “special military operation area.” It is also specified that combat boots, warm clothes and large hiking backpacks were purchased with the money collected by volunteers for the new group of soldiers. “The men gratefully accepted the necessary things, everyone has a patriotic and fighting mood, and promised to return home with a victory,” the head of the district summed up. The draft office in Buryatia told the Baza Telegram channel that they were faced with the task of continuing to mobilize men: “Mobilization has not been completed — we continue to draft citizens.”

In Mari El [Russia’s constituent republic], military training has been announced, citing an unpublished decree of the president. The regional government has reported that military reservist training will be conducted in the republic based on a presidential decree from Feb. 22, despite the fact that such a document is not available on the official website of Putin's decrees. Yesterday, Pavel Chikov called draft  notices, which summon reservists for military training illegal because the presidential decree on them has not been published. Human rights activist Maxim Grebenyuk suggested in an interview with 7x7 that it could have been issued "secretly."

Students of the Moscow Power Engineering Institute have been sent notifications to come to the Lefortovo military enlistment office for military service register data check-up.

Students of the Novosibirsk State Technical University have also started receiving notifications demanding that they come to a military enlistment office, according to the "NGS" media publication. The students noticed the messages in their personal accounts on the university's website. The text says that after familiarizing themselves with the contents in their personal accounts, the student must receive a draft notice against receipt. The university itself called the distribution of draft notices "routine work." The university's press service noted that 32 out of 13,000 students received draft notices.

Students of Penza State University will receive draft notices along with their diplomas. This was announced by the military commissar of the Penza region, Andrey Surkov, at a press conference on Mar. 16, "Draft notices will be handed out so that graduates arrive and register in their military specialty." Surkov also announced the end of the reservists call up for military training. Draft  notices will be sent until Mar. 17, but the region has already recruited the required 140 people. Therefore, draft notices received on Mar. 16 will be canceled. In addition, Surkov emphasized that military training is carried out based on the decree of the President of Russia.

Military enlistment offices in Udmurtia [Russia’s constituent republic] and in the Rostov region deny allegations about the new round of draft notices being distributed. Andrey Vasilyev who runs a department in a draft office in Udmurtia claims that no draft notices have been issued due to the “partial” mobilization. However, with the spring campaign of the regular biannual conscription fast approaching, draft notices for conscripts will soon start to be routinely sent out. The draft office of the Rostov region assured that the military service data check-up would not involve mass mailing of draft notices.

The Department of Information Policy of the Sverdlovsk region denied that draft notices marked “deploy to the special military operation” had ever been sent out. Such draft notices never existed and proved to be fictitious.

In the Stavropol region, housing inspectorate required housing and utility management companies to provide lists of male employees under the age of 60, including those registered in military reserve.

A citizen who reports to the draft office for a simple data check, can potentially be handed a mobilization order. The Military Ombudsman Telegram channel explained what a mobilization order is and pointed out legal consequences of non-compliance. Other than that, Maksim Grebenyuk of the Military Ombudsman team in a post issued by the 7x7 media outlet described some likely scenarios that may follow the large-scale mailing of draft notices.

The accelerated mailing of draft notices suggests that Russian authorities are actively preparing for a new wave of mobilization. However, as a first step, draft offices are likely to try to recruit as many volunteers as possible. Sources of the Vyorstka media outlet close to the Central Federal District administration and to the Parliament believe that draft notices are being sent out with a view to obtain up-to-date information on men liable for military service — information draft offices clearly lack due to their poor record-keeping and inadequate computer equipment. The sources could not estimate the exact timing of the new mobilization wave but claimed that draft offices and security services are “combat-ready” to embark on it any day.

The mobilized continue to die in the war in Ukraine. Among the killed on the frontlines are Ilya Tatarnikov from the Yaroslavl region and Andrey Fedoseev from Buryatia.

Serviceman Dmitry Mokin, father of five children, was killed in the war at the age of 35. A few days after the memorial service, the soldier's widow was informed that their children were no longer eligible to attend kindergarten for free, since their father was no longer a participant of the “special military operation.” The very next day, the head of the administration of Cheboksary, Denis Spirin, reacted to the situation, “I made a decision on the level of support for the children of military personnel who died in the special military operation: exemption from kindergarten tuition and the provision of additional preferential educational services.”

State Duma member Maxim Ivanov reported that four Russian soldiers from the Ural Federal District, who were among the list of servicemen missing-in-action during the "special military operation", were found. They were captured and added to the list for prisoner exchange.

Resident of the town of Ust-Kut (Irkutsk region) told the Lyudi Baikala [People of Baikal] independent media outlet that she has not heard from her husband, who is fighting in the “DPR”, since Mar. 1. He was in the 1439th Regiment, whose servicemen complained that they were sent without proper training to storm fortified areas.

Mobilized soldiers from the Belgorod region stopped receiving wages in December. Relatives are told that the soldiers allegedly left the frontlines, although they continue to fight.

Vazhnyye Istorii [iStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet] talked with head of the "Council of Wives and Mothers" Olga Tsukanova. She said that conscripts had started to be sent to border areas no later than September of the last year. Tsukanova said that conscript soldiers lived in dugouts, did not participate in hostilities, but “combat operations are being conducted against them.”

Head of the Republic of Buryatia Alexey Tsydenov reported  that two GAZ Sobol light-duty trucks were handed over to the [volunteer] military unit of the republic. Meanwhile, the administration of the town of Labytnangi (Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous region) gave free hair coloring to the mothers of a mobilized soldier. State officials noted that, in general, the families of the mobilized are "under special care."

Employees of School No. 3 in the town of Sertolovo in the Leningrad Region organized a collection of various aid for participants of the war in Ukraine. A disabled person from Chita manufactures stabilizers, which are tails for grenade launcher rounds that are dropped by drones. Special chevrons were sewed for the mobilized muslim representatives from the Samara region participating in the "special military operation". Meanwhile, the pupils of a school in the town of Kanash in Chuvashia took part in a "Talisman of Goodness" action: fifth-graders were asked to make amulets with Chuvash national patterns burned on wood for the servicemen.

Teachers of the Irkutsk National Research Technical University were forced to "voluntarily" donate part of their salary for the needs of the "special military operation". According to the teachers, the management ordered them to sign a consent form to withhold 3,000 rubles from their salaries for the needs of the “special operation.” Meanwhile, the average salary at the facility is 35 thousand rubles.

Conflicts with the use of physical violence regularly occur within military personnel of the Russian Army, although the Ministry of Defense officially announced the complete eradication of hazing in 2020. The Sibir.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet provided examples of such conflicts.

The court confirmed the right to alternative civilian service during mobilization. Pavel Mushumansky, a resident of the Leningrad region, had previously performed alternative civilian service instead of conscription. After mobilization was announced, he was called up and sent to a military unit, despite his unwillingness to participate in the war. Pavel challenged the decision to call him up. On Nov. 30, the Gatchina court granted Mushumansky's claim. The draft board disagreed and appealed the court's decision. However, on Mar. 16, the Leningrad region court rejected the draft board's appeal.

Russian soldier Daniil Frolkin, who admitted to Vazhnyye Istorii killing a civilian in Ukraine, received a 5.5-year suspended sentence for spreading intentionally "fake news" about the Army. The decision was made on Mar. 16 by the Khabarovsk Garrison Military Court.

In Zakamensk, a town in the Zabaykalsky region, children were taken away from their mother while their father fought in the war in Ukraine. Social workers took two children from the family, as they found out that the mother regularly drank alcohol and left the children with their grandmother. The father cannot take care of the family because he went to the war. The children were placed in a local social rehabilitation center.

Tatiana Tueva, a mother of young children, one of whom is disabled, is trying to get her husband back from the "special military operation." We reported on her case in yesterday's summary. On Mar. 16, it became known that the problem has begun to be solved — State Duma member from the Perm region Igor Sapko will try to help the family. He sent a letter to the military commissar Aleksandr Kokovin asking to consider releasing Aleksandr Tuev from military service.

The partisans of the "Combat Organization of Anarcho-Communists" claimed responsibility for a sabotage act committed in May 2022 on a railway line leading to the 51st arsenal of the Main Missile and Artillery Directorate of the Russian Ministry of Defense, located near the village of Barsovo in the Vladimir region.

Andrey Alekseyev, 21, a Pacific Fleet service member, was found guilty of an act of terror for setting a draft office in the Primorsky region on fire. The wooden building housing the draft office “suffered minimal damage” when set on fire on June 8, 2022. Alekseyev will spend the first two years of his seven-year sentence in prison.

A court in Vladimir sentenced a 28-year-old detention facility officer at the IK-7 penal colony in the Vladimir region to a 1.5 year suspended sentence for sharing internal documents on “mobilization readiness and civil defense” with a detainee.

In the Belgorod region, a stash of weapons taken from the “special military operation zone” has been discovered. Authorities detained two Belgorod residents in possession of 14 anti-tank missiles, 67 grenade launchers, 77 hand grenades and fuses, 66 TNT charges, and more than 15 thousand rounds of ammo in a variety of calibers. Criminal charges were filed against the men for illegal acquisition of arms, ammunition, and explosive devices. As a result, one of the Belgorod men received a three-year suspended sentence and the second one will serve three years at a high security penal colony.

In the Moscow region, a man in possession of two assault rifles was detained. He declared himself a Wagner group mercenary. The traffic police pulled the 25-year-old man over to verify his documents. In the trunk of his car, the officers found two Kalashnikov rifles and 30 rounds of ammunition. A criminal case against the man was filed for illegal possession of weapons.

At a training ground in Tarskoye in North Ossetia, a secret ammunition stash was uncovered. It contained 127 rounds of ammunition, 8 VOG grenades, one F-1 grenade, one UDZ fuse, and one RGN grenade. According to the commanders there, the stash was put together by draftees undergoing training prior to being dispatched to the war in Ukraine.

Svetlana Zotova, the mother of a 19-year-old young woman who tried to set fire to an aid collection point for mobilized soldiers in Yaroslavl, was detained by the FSB [Russia’s Federal Security Service]. According to her, they were rude and threatened to beat her. Earlier, the security forces detained her daughter, Valeria. The woman added that then she was charged with an article for public calls to carry out terrorist activities (Art. 205, part 2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). The appeal of Svetlana Zotova was published by the Zona solidarnosti [Zone of Solidarity] project.

The Kaluga — frontu [From Kaluga to the front] group was created in a rehabilitation center for the disabled in Kaluga. The group members were offered to sew 29 pajamas for a hospital in Pervomaisk in the occupied part of the Luhansk region.

Children from Saratov, Sakhalin and other regions will begin to undergo a five-day military training. They will have classes in drill, tactical and combat training, as well as first aid training. For example, high school students in the Chelyabinsk region are taught to drive tanks, said Irina Gekht, First Deputy Governor. Meanwhile, in a Simferopol school, children are already undergoing initial military training. More than 60 kindergarteners and schoolchildren are engaged in martial arts, learn to assemble and disassemble assault rifles and have drill classes.

Besides, Russian schoolchildren have "lessons of courage," where they are told about the war with Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea. Participants of the war with Ukraine and their relatives came to a number of schools to take part in such “lessons of courage.”

Meanwhile, schoolchildren in Tatarstan [Russia’s constituent republic] were made to throw their hands up to the song “Ya russkiy” [I'm Russian] by Shaman [a stage name of Russian singer Yaroslav Dronov]. The children were explained how to raise their hand correctly, “You must push it up to the sky, to NATO.”