mobilization briefs
March 25, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Mar. 23–24, 2023 CIT volunteer summary 

The Ministry of Labor of Russia has approved an updated list of professions and positions for alternative civilian service, as well as a list of organizations for alternative service. The corresponding order is published on the official portal of legal information. The list consists of 149 positions, including 64 working professions and 65 positions in civil service. Among them are bus conductors, elevator operators, reindeer herders, watchmen, tractor drivers, orchestra artists, etc.

The promotion of contract military service continues throughout Russia. Thus, in the city of Naberezhnye Chelny, Russia’s constituent Republic of Tatarstan, advertisements for contract soldier recruitment are being posted in the residential buildings. The head of the Volchikhinsky district, Altai region, has posted an advertisement for contract soldiers recruitment in a local group in the Odnoklassniki social network. In Buryatia [Russia’s constituent republic], information about contract service has appeared in the official Telegram channel of the government of the republic and in local group chats. The Federal Security Service (FSB) is also trying to recruit new servicemen. In one of the Rostov colleges [a type of vocational education facility in Russia], class teachers were asked to distribute an advertisement for the Border Service of the FSB among students.

One of the district draft offices in Tver must send 1,100 people to the war by the end of the year. It has issued 1,500 draft notices, some of which have already been sent by mail. After arriving at the draft office, men will have a note placed in their personal file, the administrator of the Zakroy za mnoy Tver [Close the door/Tver behind me] Telegram channel said, citing a source. Starting next week, draft office employees will be calling residents en masse, and from April, they will be promoting signing contracts.

In the city of Tyumen, an 8-day refresher training camp has been organized for reservist civilians on the training range of the Tyumen Higher Military Engineer Command School. One of the participants described his experience to 72.RU [Tyumen city online media outlet]. When the training began, reservists were reportedly pressured to sign the contract, but none of them eventually did. However, at the end of the training, each of the men found a colorful insert with the mobilization order glued into his military ID.

Governor of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous region — Yugra [Russia’s constituent entity] Natalya Komarova suggested that a federal center for social rehabilitation of war veterans should be founded on the basis of the region’s sports facilities. She claimed that many sophisticated rehabilitation techniques had been developed in Yugra to help athletes, including Paralympians, rebuild their physical strength and confidence. This expertise should be leveraged to support disabled veterans.

Orphans from Chuvashia [Russia’s constituent republic] will be fast-tracked through social housing procedures for having participated in the war. The benefit will be applicable to the “special military operation” veterans who qualify as orphans or individuals without parental care and who have reached the age of 23. They will be treated with priority when applying for a cash housing benefit. The draft law was passed in the parliament of the republic.

Draftees from the Saratov region began receiving leaves. Dozens of servicemen have already arrived home. Vice-Governor Igor Pivovarov visited the family of one of these draftees. More than 120 residents of the Vladimir region participating in the military invasion of Ukraine are currently on leave. According to the commander of one of the units, those who "proved themselves" were the first to receive the leave.

Mobilized servicemen continue to get killed. A list of the fallen draftees was supplemented by Vladislav Ukraintsev from the Omsk region, Amid Akhmedov from the Khanty-Mansi region, Aleksandr Morozov from Chelyabinsk, Aleksandr Kim from the Leningrad region, Mikhail Churilin from the Kursk region, Aleksandr Trubkin and Maksim Volkov from the Arkhangelsk region, and Sergey Ilyin from the Irkutsk region.

Mediazona [an independent Russian media outlet] and BBC News Russian, together with a team of volunteers, confirmed the identities of 18,023 Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine by Mar. 24, including 1,617 mobilized men. During the last week, 648 names were added to the list of the killed soldiers, including 34 mobilized soldiers.

Roskomnadzor [Russia's internet censorship agency] blocked the “Killed in Ukraine, Perm Region” group in the VKontakte social network. Recall that in February, access to a site containing a list of draftee and contract service members from the Russian constituent Republic of Chuvashia was restricted.

The family of Aleksey Kuzmin, 34, a draftee from the Yaroslavl region, believes that he was taken prisoner. Aleksey’s relatives received a video where a man who looks like him asks to include him in a prisoner exchange. Later, the channel run by the Ukrainian journalist Vladimir Zolkin published a recording of a one-hour-long interview with Aleksey Kuzmin. “As a rule, we cannot disclose what’s happening to this person until the prisoner exchange lists are finalized,” reported the press service of the Commissioner for Human Rights.

A source close to the VChK-OGPU Telegram channel tells of a military unit where elected representatives and children of Russian officials serve who want to demonstrate their participation in the war without ending up at the front. According to the source, State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] member Dmitry Sablin headed the initiative to form the Kaskad separate BARS (Special Combat Army Reserve) volunteer unit where family members of the political elite can receive a stamp of “participation in the special military operation.” The most comfortable sub-unit of the BARS Kaskad is its UAV squad, whose members can stay at a significant distance away from the battle lines.

The Russian Ministry of Defense demonstrates footage of the use of the BM-21 Grad MLRS by soldiers of the Western Military District, with mobilized men included among them.

A mobilized soldier from Krasnoturyinsk, Sverdlovsk region, was sent back home due to health issues, but later messages began circulating among the factory workers where he worked, claiming that he was a draft dodger. He took the case to court and won. Now, the author of the messages has to pay him 50,000 rubles.

The Vorkuta Garrison Military Court sentenced a mobilized man from the Komi region to 5.5 years of imprisonment for going AWOL. According to the investigation, the mobilized man "without a collision of severe circumstances" left the military unit in the Leningrad region and went to Komi, "where he spent time at his discretion." The press service does not disclose the convicted person's name, and the information about him is also hidden in the case card.

FSO [Federal Protective Service] Major Mikhail Zhilin, who fled mobilization to Kazakhstan, was sentenced to 6.5 years in a high-security prison. He has been stripped of his major's rank and found guilty of "desertion" and "illegal border crossing." The decision states that serviceman Mikhail Zhilin, "not wanting to fulfill the duties of military service" and fearing being sent to war, sold his property and "providing  the command with false information about his illness," crossed the Russian border bypassing the border checkpoint. In December 2022, the man was arrested in Astana (Kazakhstan) for 40 days.

In Yekaterinburg, a trial is underway over the men who set fire to a draft office in the town of Bakal, Chelyabinsk region. The defendants, Aleksey Nuriev and Roman Nasryev are amateur musicians from Bakal. Nuriev served in a local unit of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, while Nasryev was a driver of the private security department of Rosgvardia [National Guard of Russia]. Now they are accused of terrorism. 74.RU [Chelyabinsk city online media outlet] published an article with the details of the trial.

The PryzivaNet [No Conscription] company, which provides conscripts with the services of medical and legal consultancy, responded to the demand of the Chita military commissar to bring it to justice: “No one has forbidden to provide advice and legal assistance in our country, therefore the PryzyvaNet medical and legal company offers clients assistance in exemption from the army on legal grounds." Over the past two years, more than 100 inspections have been carried out against the company, and not a single violation has been identified.

Psychologists for the rehabilitation of those who returned from the war started to be trained in Russian universities: Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University developed advanced training programs for providing psychological assistance in acute emotional states and for working with post-traumatic stress disorder; special assistance and rehabilitation programs for combatants were elaborated at the Faculty of Psychology of the Moscow State University; the advanced training program "Techniques for developing the resilience of an individual and a group in extreme situations" was launched at the Moscow State Psychological and Pedagogical University.

In the Tugulymsky district of the Sverdlovsk region, every resident of a few villages takes part in collecting money for mobilized soldiers’ provision, as was reported on a local public page on the VKontakte social network. The money went to portable radios, metal detectors, building materials, quadcopters, and even a Niva SUV. Meanwhile, children from Surgut, together with their parents and teachers, made key trinkets, badges, and talismans for the participants of the “special military operation.”

Even prisoners are now collecting aid for servicemen. According to a regional department of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia, a set of packs of Rollton instant noodles, canned meat, socks, and toilet paper was collected by convicts from a correctional center in the Ulyanovsk region. At the same time, volunteers from Ulan-Ude, Russia’s constituent Republic of Buryatia, sent to the front chevrons with the following mottos: “Do not anger the Buryats,” “We need a peaceful world! Preferably all of it”, “We will win togeZer.”