mobilization briefs
March 24, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Mar. 22–23, 2023 CIT volunteer summary 

The Government of the Russian Federation established a working group under its Military-Industrial Commission. The group is tasked with taking control of businesses when they fail to effectively deliver state orders. It should be noted that this applies to any state order, not just to state defense orders.

The Kursk region allocated 3.2 billion rubles for the construction of fortifications. This equates to nearly a third of its healthcare budget (10.2 billion rubles) and surpasses what the region spends on housing and communal services (2.9 billion rubles). Earlier, the authorities of the Belgorod region reported spending 10 billion rubles on the construction of a "barrier line" [a system of defensive fortifications on the border with Ukraine].

Starting next year, the Ministry of Health plans to increase the number of military training centers in medical universities from 4 to 17. Formerly known as reserve-officer training departments, their programs train students to become active duty and reserve officers.

The draft office of the Chelyabinsk region denied that its draft notices summon reservists to military training. Instead, it asserted that, at present, citizens are summoned for military service register data check-ups. The notices are being served via “Gosuslugi” [unified portal of state and municipal services in the Russian Federation], by phone, and through employers. Following a trend across the country, a massive campaign has begun in the Sverdlovsk region, calling upon men to enlist for contract-based military service. Local authorities have published numerous recruitment ads on their social media pages. Moreover, mobile contract military service recruitment facilities have sprung up and will move around the region. Meanwhile, a television station in Novosibirsk began airing recruitment ads for the Wagner Group.

Authorities of the Prioksky district of Nizhny Novgorod are sending letters to managers of local businesses, demanding that meetings with employees be organized for the military commissar. Meanwhile, officials of municipal disinfection and disinfestation facilities in Moscow are pushing employees to recruit “acquaintances, friends, literally anyone” for the war in Ukraine. Mediazona [an independent Russian media outlet] reported this fact by referring to a source who had attended the meeting personally.

Russia’s Ministry of Defense, jointly with the Russian Railways, launched the Volga Voyage sightseeing train route for war veterans and their families. According to the ministry, scenic train routes called Pearl of the Caucasus and Russian North had been rolled out earlier. In total, the ministry’s project has already offered train tours to more than 2400 people.

Pavel Chikov [Russian lawyer and human rights activist] analyzed the draft resolution on military crimes, discussed it at the plenary session of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, and pinpointed the most interesting statements. In particular, "mobilized members of service are the subjects of military crimes." Also, "members of the armed forces may not evade their obligations referring to any extreme necessity, even in life-threatening circumstances.” Last but not least, “refusal to obey the order can be expressed in abandonment of a fighting position during combat.”

Mobilized soldiers Kirill Pershin from the Voronezh region, Nikolay Chyrvu from the Sverdlovsk region, Ildus Gizzatullin from Bashkiria [Russia’s constituent republic], and Vyacheslav Vybornov from the Volgograd region were killed in the war, whereas draftee Artyom Belkin from the Irkutsk region who served in the 1439th Regiment, known to have issued multiple video appeals, was taken prisoner.

Draftee from Komsomolsk-on-Amur Maksim Shelest went AWOL to avoid being deployed to Ukraine. In early March, he was convicted of desertion and given a suspended sentence of five years. After the sentence came into force, the man was drafted again. The serviceman's relatives posted his video message. The man argues that he could not be drafted because he has many diseases, including Hepatitis C.

Security forces detained a person suspected of the arson of a military commissariat and social fund building in Sosnovy Bor. According to preliminary information, the 20-year-old detainee's name is Vladislav Shitikov. He is a second-year student at an agrotechnical vocational school in the Leningrad region. A criminal case was opened against the young man under the article on intentional destruction of property.

Mukhamed-Afandi Asipov, a participant in the September protests against mobilization, has been sentenced to two years of probation by the Sovetsky District Court of Makhachkala. He was convicted of violently assaulting a government official.

The Zona Solidarnosti [Solidarity Zone] human rights project reports that Ilya Baburin, a 23-year-old defendant in the case of the failed arson of a military commissariat, who was taken into custody, is abused by the pre-trial detention center staff.

An official from Primorye, who was put on the federal wanted list, volunteered to join the war in Ukraine. Rustyam Abushayev is suspected of large-scale land fraud and illegal entrepreneurship.

In recent weeks, the Lyudi Baikala [People of Baikal] independent media outlet has published several articles about how draftees from the Irkutsk region assigned to the 1439th Regiment are fighting and being killed. After the first publication, the police began harassing the outlet's editorial staff.

The People of Baikal Telegram channel has published a text describing the attitude of residents of a village in the Zabaykalsky region towards a woman who was beaten by her partner and managed to put him in jail. The story of domestic violence turned out to have another side — the deceased Wagner Group mercenary suddenly became a good guy, and his ex became a "scumbag." When those convicted of theft or drug possession began to be killed in the war, society not only began to turn them into heroes but also to condemn those who had put these people in prison because the deceased were "not criminals."

A company in Tatarstan  [Russia’s constituent republic] was fined 50,000 rubles for "advertising services for evading military service." The company itself offered its clients the opportunity to "legally not serve in the army." More than 35,000 conscripts became its clients.

The head of the administration of the village of Urshel in the Vladimir region, Tatiana Ivleva, advised local resident Elena Kuryakova to spend the death gratuity amount received for her deceased son on resettlement from dilapidated housing, which the authorities should provide for her at the expense of the budget.

In February, the Unified Support Center for Participants of the Special Military Operation and Their Families'' opened in Moscow. Here, military personnel and their relatives are provided with benefits, psychological counseling, and woodworking classes. The Vyorstka media outlet published an interview with an employee of the center, who talked about how the familiar technologies of the Moscow government turn the distant "special military operation" into a part of ordinary life in the capital, why the war itself is never discussed here, and what problems military personnel and their families face.

In Krasnoyarsk, prostheses for soldiers of the “special military operation” are produced in a private clinic at the expense of church donations. Members of the regional parliament are asking the government to start allocating regional budget funds for this purpose.

A train with aid was sent to the “special military operation” area from Yelan and Kamyshlov, Sverdlovsk region. It included personal parcels for soldiers, essential supplies, and 22 vehicles – UAZ-452 "Bukhanka" off-road vans and VAZ-2121 Niva off-road vehicles.

Pupils of a special school in St. Petersburg (children with cerebral palsy study there) made about 200 trench candles to be sent to the front. The master class was organized by the public reception office of the ruling United Russia party. They clarified that the children only made semi-finished products, and adults filled the candles with hot paraffin.

In Omsk, children are invited to the Spetsnaz deti [Special Forces Children] camp. The camp has been running since 2012. Children undergo fire and drill training, learn to assemble and disassemble AK-74 assault rifles, etc. As part of the Talisman dobra [Talisman of Good] All-Russian campaign, Belgorod schoolchildren made Cheburashka toys for Russian servicemen. After the release of the film about Cheburashka, the character became one of the symbols of the war.

Students of grades 5-10 of grammar school No. 284 in St. Petersburg had a meeting with a participant in the war in Ukraine wearing a balaclava, a "special forces fighter," and volunteers who had been at the front. Meanwhile, in Kirov, a year-three student wearing camouflage recited a Soviet patriotic verse remade to fit the realities against the background of photographs of soldiers killed in the war with Ukraine shown during his performance.