mobilization briefs
March 23, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Mar. 21–22, 2023 CIT volunteer summary 

The Ministry of Defense prepared a draft presidential decree on survivor benefits for families of the killed mercenaries ("volunteer fighters"). This benefit will amount to 3.1 million rubles, which is inferior to the payout of five million rubles promised to families of fallen contract soldiers or mobilized troops.

A draft law was submitted to the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] allowing loans if co-borrowed, to be written off for parents or legal guardians of military personnel deceased or injured in the war against Ukraine.

In Novosibirsk, the mayor's office sent letters to all educational institutions of the city requesting to place ads promoting contract-based military service on their websites. Similar requests are being sent by the Novosibirsk mayor's office to housing and utility management companies.

The draft officer of the Zabaykalsky region called for the closure of the regional branch of the organization called Prizyva Net [No Conscription] in the city of Chita. The prosecutor's office objected, stating that the organization did not commit any illegal acts, but only described the legal ways out of conscription to the public. The draft officer disagreed, claiming, “They reduce our patriotism and should be accountable for it. It looks like sabotage during the special military operation.”

Governor of the Vladimir region Aleksandr Avdeyev announced that hospitals in the region need to start preparing to accept wounded war participants for recovery and rehabilitation. According to Avdeyev, all hospitals will be involved in these efforts nationwide, in line with the directions set by President Putin personally. Yet, the governor failed to establish the exact number of the region’s residents who sustained injuries in the war.

It has become known about new cases of the deaths of mobilized soldiers. The list of the deceased includes Maksim Zakharchenko from the Irkutsk region [federal subject of Russia], Andrey Fyodorov from the Krasnoyarsk region [federal subject of Russia], Ilya Tatarnikov from the Yaroslavl region [federal subject of Russia], Stanislav Skorokhodov from Volgograd, Vladimir Korobkov from the Zabaykalsky region [federal subject of Russia], Sergey Krivoshapkin from the Komi Republic [Russia’s constituent republic], Yury Kharchenko from the Krasnodar region [federal subject of Russia], and Maxim Zagorelsky from the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous region [federal subject of Russia].

49-year-old Andrey Markov was drafted from the village of Kazanskoye in the Tyumen region [federal subject of Russia]. On Oct. 28, three days after the conscription, he was found dead in one of the premises on the territory of the training ground. For more than three months, investigators have been trying to establish the cause and circumstances of his death. On Feb. 22, the father of the deceased received an official response from the Military Prosecutor's Office, which named the cause of the incident as a suicide. The man did not agree with the investigation's conclusions and intends to investigate further.

Servicemen and their relatives from 52 regions have submitted hundreds of complaints about delays in salaries, bonuses, and social payments. The Vyorstka media outlet figured out how the salaries of Russian servicemen are formed, why the payment system fails to operate normally, and how the war participants and their relatives react to it.

A mobilized anesthesiologist-reanimatologists from Chita Andrey Fomin is listed as a paramedic anesthetist, performing, in fact, the functions of an anesthesiologist during surgical operations. At the same time, the man receives a monetary allowance as a private.

The Mediazona independent Russian media outlet, published a study on how Russian soldiers are tried for absence without official leave (AWOL) and other attempts to avoid fighting. The number of cases against military refuseniks began to grow in the summer, but most of the cases were initiated after the start of mobilization. Every month there are more and more defendants. Mediazona studied the cases under articles toughened after Sep. 21. Russian courts have already passed sentences on 247 cases of going AWOL, desertion, and non-execution of orders during the period of mobilization. At the same time, in AWOL cases, courts often pass soldiers to suspended sentences, which allow [the command] to send convicts to the front.

Garrison military courts of Russia close cases against soldiers accused of minor crimes; the basis for this is the transfer of monetary resources to war support funds. These funds are associated with the Russian Ministry of Defense and the pro-government All-Russian People's Front [political coalition started in 2011 by then-Prime Minister of Russia Vladimir Putin]. The Mozhem Ob’yasnit [We can explain] Telegram channel found several dozens of similar cases in different regions.

Mediazona published instructions written by Prizyv k Sovesti [Call to Conscience], a coalition that helps soldiers to refuse combat participation for reasons of conscience and request to serve unarmed. Lawyers give advice to those fighting for their right not to fight in the war.

Vasily Shetstnev, a Belgorod region resident and a father to several children, illegally purchased a weapon during a collection drive to help the Russian Army. The court concluded that the man only wanted to “protect his family from an attack” by “Ukrainian nationalists.” Taking into account his “activism and patriotism,” the court sentenced him to correctional labor and instructed to treat his punishment as probational despite the law proscribing 6 to 8 years in a penal colony for such offenses.

The Samara Garrison Military Court sentenced two Samara region draftees for going AWOL. Rail S. received a sentence of five years in a medium-security penal colony. After being drafted as part of the mobilization campaign, he served for a period of time, but after being transferred to serve at a hospital located in the village of Roschinsky, he did not report there by the specified time. The man was absent without an excuse from Oct. 21, 2002, until Jan. 9, 2023. Vladimir L., the second Samara region draftee, received a sentence of two years in a medium-security penal colony. He was drafted as part of the mobilization campaign and sent to a military unit in Togliatti. At some point, he lawfully left his unit’s premises but did not return by the specified time. The man was absent from his unit from Nov. 13 to Nov. 28, 2022.

A resident of Yekaterinburg was charged with “calling for terrorism.” The Astra Telegram channel learnt that the case was initiated against a resident of the city, Yulia L. According to investigators, on Nov. 10, 2022, a young woman left a comment under the news about the arrest of a suspect in an attempt to undermine the military commissariat [enlistment office] in one of the local groups on the VKontakte social network, “Well done man, you did the right thing, these commissariats send people for slaughter.”

A fire broke out in the military commissariat in the town of Svobodny, Amur region. Local media outlets do not report on the cause of the fire, most likely because the region has an unspoken ban on reporting on anti-war arsons. The duty unit of the Ministry of Emergency Situations in the town of Svobodny, informed the Sota Telegram channel that they had not heard about a fire in the town military commissariat. An attempt to set fire to a military commissariat in Svobodny was already made in September 2022.

In Yekaterinburg, a children's speech therapy center collects aid for Russian servicemen —  an announcement about the collection of food, medicine, cigarettes, and "letters from kids" appeared on the official page of the Govorilki speech center on the VKontakte social network.