Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree setting out the routine spring conscription campaign, calling up 147,000 men aged between 18 and 27 for statutory military service. The campaign will be carried out from Apr. 1 to Jul. 15, 2023. At the same time, conscripts called up a year ago whose term of conscription service has expired will be dismissed, passing into the reserve. For comparison, a total of 120,000 citizens were planned to be called up in the fall of 2022, and 134,500 men were targeted last spring.
The Voyenny Ombudsmen [Military Ombudsman] Telegram channel reaffirms that the draft law on raising the upper limit of the conscription age from 27 to 30 years has not yet been adopted by the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia]. Therefore, the conscription campaign will follow the old rules, meaning that this year one can still be regimented into reserve forces upon reaching 27 years of age.
Chairman of the State Duma’s Defense Committee Andrey Kartapolov announced that conscription would not be carried out on the occupied territories of Ukraine this spring, and Russian conscripts would not be sent to serve in these regions.
Reports are emerging as to the target numbers of people to be conscripted this spring in specific Russian regions. In particular, over 3,000 men will be enlisted in the Irkutsk region. Under the fall conscription campaign of November–December 2022, 2,500 citizens were called up from the Irkutsk region. Earlier, Saint Petersburg officials also announced a plan aiming to call up 3,000 men.
In the Altai region, 130 police officers will guard military commissariats [enlistment offices] during the spring conscription campaign, according to the head of the regional Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Andrey Podolyan. There have been two arson attempts in the Altai region since mobilization began: one against a military commissariat in Rubtsovsk and the other against an administrative building in Tselinnoye.
In the Chelyabinsk region, assemblymen proposed dropping criminal charges against those accused of misdemeanors and petty crimes if they volunteered for military service. The initiative was approved at a meeting of the regional legislative assembly, and now it will be forwarded to the State Duma [lower house of Russia's federal assembly] for consideration.
Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said that military commissariats are carrying out a conscription campaign on a scheduled basis, which is not related to the "special military operation." Also, according to him, military commissariats check-up military register data and recruit contract servicemen, and all the talk about an upcoming mobilization wave is "sheer nonsense."
In Russian regions, a campaign to man up the Russian Army with contract servicemen continues. 150 local administrations in the constituent Republic of Komi advertise joining the army under contract on their official public pages.
Acting head of the Chita city administration, Andrey Grishin, stated that since the beginning of mobilization, 890 people have been drafted into the city, 600 of them are soldiers, and the rest are non-commissioned and commissioned officers. Chita's population is approximately 335,000 people.
In Naberezhnye Chelny, the military enlistment office of the Russia’s constituent Republic of Tatarstan requested a list of students from Naberezhnye Chelny State Pedagogical University who decided to enter master's or postgraduate studies. Whether such an order has been received by other universities is still unknown.
The list of mobilized soldiers killed in Ukraine has been updated with Andrey Zakharov from Kursk, Roman Lebedev from the Rostov region, German Maisumov and Aleksandr Deyev from the Volgograd region, Gennady Eroslanov from the Russia’s constituent Republic of Mari El, Oleg Kovalenko from Omsk, Aleksandr Khodakov from Staraya Russa, Dmitry Perezhogin from the Krasnoyarsk region, and also Sergey Didenko, Vyacheslav Sinyavsky, and Stepan Zhuravlyov from the Sverdlovsk region.
The Sever.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet spoke with the wife of one of the mobilized men from the Shtorm [Storm] unit. Earlier, the soldiers recorded a high-impact video asking for help. After the publication of the video, the media reported that the soldiers were taken to Donetsk and questioned by the prosecutor. However, according to the wife, her husband has not been evacuated from Vodiane to this day. Meanwhile, he and his fellow soldiers are still officially assigned to a training unit in the city of Gusev, Kaliningrad region.
On Mar. 28, there was supposed to be a meeting of conscripts' mothers with representatives of the Belgorod region administration. On Mar. 29, the region's Governor, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said that no one had attended the scheduled meeting. In response, the conscripts' mothers, who are part of the Council of Mothers and Wives, said they had refused the meeting because they had received the following SMS from their sons serving near the border: "If you come there, we will stop communicating with you." The Council of Mothers and Wives believes that pressure is being put on the conscripts.
The Vladimir region Governor Aleksandr Avdeyev met with combat participants currently on leave or undergoing medical treatment. Avdeyev claims that, according to the soldiers, “the situation with monetary compensation and leaves had cleared up and supplies of food, medical supplies, outfitting, construction equipment and materials had stabilized.”
Participants of the “special military operation” had been promised leave every six months. In reality, service members are being refused leave en masse. Who is permitted to go on leave and by which means is up to unit commanders. Those few who were able to come home realize their situation might have worsened because of it. The Vyorstka media outlet spoke to soldiers’ relatives about how their loved ones fought for their long-awaited leaves and how the war changed the men. Wives and mothers of the draftees complain that they became aggressive, drink a lot, sleep poorly, and feel alienated. Many previously happy families are now on the edge of falling apart.
Aleksey Moskalyov, the father of Masha Moskalyova, has been detained in Belarus by local police at the request of Russian law enforcement authorities.
The RBC media outlet, citing a source within the security apparatus, reports that Federal Security Service officers detained a 45-year-old Ukrainian citizen on suspicion of sabotage at a railroad. On Feb. 3, the man allegedly set fire to an electricity distribution device between Kuruzovskaya and Vesennyaya stations along the Kursk railway line of the Moscow railway system.
A resident of Crimea was sentenced to ten years in a maximum security penal colony for setting fire to a draft office and intending to sabotage railway lines. The information appeared on the website of the Supreme Court of Crimea about the sentencing of an unknown person under two articles of the Criminal Code: sabotage and explosives trafficking. According to investigators, in May 2022, the man set fire to the building of the draft office in Simferopol, but the fire was quickly spotted and confined. In addition, he was allegedly going to blow up the railway tracks, for which he had purchased an anti-tank mine in advance.
A 19-year-old resident of the Krasnodar region was charged with planning a bombing of a police office. Previously, criminal cases were brought against him for the destruction of a banner with the letter Z and sabotage on the railway. The young man has been in a detention center for several months.
In Bashkortostan [Russia’s constituent republic], four people, one of whom is a minor, were detained for setting fire to a relay cabinet on the Karlaman–Priuralye section of the Kuibyshev railway. Residents of Bashkortostan were detained during another attempt to set fire to a relay cabinet near the Urshak station. For the first arson, a criminal case was opened against them under the article on deliberate destruction or damage of property, and for attempting the second one, they were charged with preparing an act of terror.
A contract serviceman who had refused to participate in a “special military operation” was sentenced to nine years in a maximum security penal colony. Reportedly, the man went AWOL and lived in the territory of Crimea. The contractor was found guilty under the article on desertion committed in the context of an armed conflict or the conduct of combat activities. The military man pleaded guilty to the crime and stated that he did not want to participate in a “special military operation” and do military service.
Russian WIAs complained about extortion in a hospital. RIA Novosti [Russian state-owned news agency] has collected stories of wounded soldiers who were treated in the Rostov military hospital. According to them, some soldiers were given incorrect diagnoses and refused to issue certificates in the hospital in order to deprive them of "Putin's payments." In addition, a fair amount of money was charged for a proper examination.
In the Izhemsky district of the Komi [Russia’s constituent republic], a collection of aid for military personnel in the “special military operation” zone was announced. The collected 170 thousand rubles were used to buy a used UAZ cross-country minivan. The minivan will be sent to the 350th Regiment of Territorial Defense, where mobilized soldiers from the Izhma region are serving. At the same time, according to local journalists, the district administration is considering proposals for the supply of a new Nissan X-Trail SUV (a configuration that costs at least 3 million rubles).
Center for Social Adaptation, named after Seraphim Sarovsky in Langepas (Khanty-Mansi autonomous region), held a master class for children and wives of the mobilized soldiers on making trench candles. Furthermore, in an Altai village, "amulets" for the war participants were made — pieces of fabric with the inscription "Save and protect," which would later be blessed in churches.
Yaroslavl schools began inviting participants in the war in Ukraine. Thus, a graduate of the Prozorov school in the Breitovsky district told the students that everything was well in the army and that soldiers "won't allow the enemy to continue their attacks." According to local officials, these meetings are beneficial for children.
The head of the Yeysk district of Kuban, Roman Bublik, announced a parade of kindergarteners “We are the great-grandchildren of the great winners!” which will be held in Yeysk on Apr. 29. According to Bublik, “each kindergarten has chosen a military branch that it will represent in the parade. Kids learn to march, and parents sew military uniforms for the kids.”
The Russian Ministry of Education plans to take into account the initiative to send response letters to schoolchildren from soldiers at the "special military operation" in organizing "patriotic and educational work" in schools.