mobilization briefs
March 5, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Mar. 3–4, 2023 CIT volunteer summary 

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu held a meeting with his deputies in the combined forces, Zvezda TV [owned by the Ministry of Defense] reports. The Minister heard reports on the organization of continuous provision of troops with weapons, military equipment, and ammunition. Shoigu paid special attention to the organization of combat training of reserve units, military-political work, and other types of comprehensive support of troops.

Chairman of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] Committee on Defense Andrey Kartapolov suggested that Russian businesses purchase air defense systems. According to him, the Ministry of Defense will not be able to protect everyone from UAVs since the Ministry is "focused on protecting important state and military facilities," and due to the large size of the country, the existing air defense cannot reliably protect the entire territory.

One of the few survivors of an attack on the Avdiivka fortified area, a resident of the Irkutsk region refused to storm enemy positions on Mar. 2 and 3. According to the Sibir.Realii [part of RFE/RL] media outlet, his wife states that the serviceman of the destroyed 1439th Regiment is now detained, locked in a basement, and threatened with killing without due process of law.

Another draftee from the Irkutsk region claims that the officers of the so-called Donetsk People's Republic abandoned his regiment on the front line. For four days, the servicemen have been in the trenches without food supplies or artillery support. The sister of the draftee complained to the Telegram channel of the Governor of the Irkutsk region, Igor Kobzev but has not yet received a response.

Draftees from Yaroslavl who accused their commanders were disbanded, redeployed to different units, and sent to the first line. Back in January, these soldiers released a video appeal asking for help. According to them, the commander had ordered them to retreat from their positions due to heavy tank and mortar fire but subsequently accused them of desertion. Their wives appealed to the Ministry of Defense, the Military Prosecutor's Office, the Investigative Committee, and the Commissioner for Human Rights but received no response. A family member of one of them said that the complaint had only made matters worse for the mobilized. Servicemen who were featured in the video were reportedly reassigned to different military units on the first front line. Moreover, they were strictly warned against any contact with mass media. They still endure lack of food, gear, and equipment. The same family member had to get a few loans to buy supplies for her loved one, who serves at the forefront. Yet, she said that for the entire duration of service, her relative had only been paid 30 thousand rubles.

Draftees from Mordovia and Mari El [Russia's constituent republics] who were mentioned in our yesterday’s summary were ordered to assault fortifications in the Luhansk region in groups of 8-10 soldiers. On Mar. 1, out of eight soldiers, only three returned from the mission, and the rest were killed. According to these mobilized men, their company was disbanded, and 40 soldiers were deployed to support the Luhansk militia. Of the 3rd Platoon, which consisted of 38 troops, only eight remained. The rest were either killed, wounded, or sent to assault the fortified areas.

Draftees from Orenburg were also placed at the disposal of the "DNR" command, who sent them to the assault. The draftees and their relatives recorded pleas in which they asked the authorities and President Putin personally to find out why they were illicitly sent to the attack while they had been preparing to defend the occupied territories. After the appearance of these pleas, Governor of the Orenburg region Denis Pasler said that he had appealed to the Military Prosecutor's Office on this issue.

Contract soldiers from the 126th Coastal Defense Brigade refused to fight in Ukraine "for reasons of conscience." Information about this, as well as photographs of six resignation letters, were received by journalists from the 7x7 [internet Russian media outlet] and Sirena [Siren, independent Russian Telegram channel] publications. According to the soldiers, in total, 20 out of 27 servicemen who were stationed at one of the strong points of the Russian Army in the occupied part of the Kherson region wrote the resignation letters. The discontent of the soldiers is caused by the refusal of the command to grant them military leave. Also, as shared by one of the contract soldiers, the brigade decided to refuse to fight "for reasons of conscience." When asked why now, the young man replied that when it all had started, they "came to liberate the people from the Nazis, but the population was against it." Then, as he said, he began to doubt. After the resignation letters were submitted, commanders, whom allegedly "no one saw for several months," came to talk. They asserted that the soldiers’ “bad thoughts” appeared due to alcohol.

Mobilized soldiers keep getting killed in the war. Aleksey Chaschin from the Zabaykalsky region, Artyom Gusev from the Nizhny Novgorod region, Aleksey Makhmutov from the Novosibirsk region, Mikhail Simonov from the Yaroslavl region, colonel Aleksey Lipatov from the Saratov region, Andrey Arestov from the Sverdlovsk region, brothers Dmitriy Dadanov and Igor Dadanov from the Republic of Buryatia [Russia’s constituent republic], as well as Vladislav Burtsev, Ilya Kupriaynov, Renat Duyakov, and Mikhail Ivanov from the Volgograd region, got killed at the front.

BBC News Russian and the Mediazona Russian news outlet confirmed the death of more than 16 thousand Russian servicemen. During the past week, 935 names of KIAs were added to the list. There are 1366 mobilized citizens on the list in total, and 152 names appeared there during the past week.

In the Bryansk region, a conscript died as a result of injuries allegedly received after falling into a trench. The man was conscripted in the Tver region and underwent combat training in the Bryansk region. During the investigation, it was established that he received a closed craniocerebral injury and fractures of the ribs when he fell into a trench from his own height, probably under the influence of alcohol. The commander said that the mobilized soldiers used to abuse alcohol and go AWOL.

A family from Vladivostok is trying to do a DNA test to identify their relative who was killed in the war. Mikhail Grekhov served in the 155th Brigade and was killed in the battles for Pavlivka. His body was taken to Vladivostok, and his relatives were summoned for identification. However, they were shown only a photograph of a body fragment. The relatives decided to do a DNA test to make sure that the remains belonged to Mikhail. They sent letters to different authorities, but all of them kept silent or refuse to conduct the DNA testing at all.

The widow of a mobilized soldier from Yaroslavl who was killed in the “special military operation” has not yet received any payments. The man was mobilized on Oct. 14 and was killed in early December. The man was buried on Jan. 13. The representative of the military unit convoying the body checked the widow’s package of documentation necessary for calculating payments, said that everything was alright, and took them with him. By the beginning of March, the widow had not received the payments prescribed by law; and an insurance company told her that the man was not on their list.

A mobilized resident of Almetyevsk, Rasim Gabdulkhakov, was placed in a pre-trial detention center in November on charges of desertion. The man claimed that he went into the forest to ease nature and got lost. When he was able to find his way, there were no colleagues on the spot, so he decided to get to the unit on his own. Now the criminal case against him has been dismissed, and the man has been released from the pre-trial detention center.

A resident of Saint Petersburg was fined 30 thousand rubles for trying to swim away to Estonia to escape mobilization. A man without any documents to enter the EU was planning to swim across the Narva River to escape mobilization but was detained by the Border Guards of the Federal Security Service. The man fully admitted his guilt and repented.

Schoolgirl Masha Moskalyova from Tula, who drew an anti-war picture [back in April 2022], was refused to be released from the orphanage. The journalist of the 7x7 media outlet contacted the rehabilitation center No. 5 in the town of Efremov, where the girl was staying. When asked if she has been allowed to return home, they answered, “No, she hasn’t and she won’t be allowed to do so.” The center refused to explain the reason for the decision. Let us recall that Masha's father, Aleksey Moskalyov, is under house arrest, local child services want to deprive him of parental rights, and a corresponding claim was submitted to court back in January. The Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Tula region reported on the search for the girl’s mother, who had no contact with her.

According to the Vyorstka media outlet, nearly 200 people have become subjects of criminal cases for criticizing the Russian Army during the year of the war in Ukraine. This exceeds the scale of previous political repressions in Russia.

Officials in Moscow will give gifts to the families of the mobilized. They will distribute 300 grams of ham and 200 grams of trout. The food package will also include a piece of cheese, a packet of sweets, 100 grams of black tea, and 95 grams of instant coffee. Meanwhile, the total value of the contracts for supplies is 2 million rubles.

Residents of Ulyanovsk wrote an open letter against renaming a school in honor of a participant in the war in Ukraine. The name of Major Aleksandr Shishkov, who was killed in May, was given to School No. 52. This happened a day before the death of the school's long-time director Radiy Sharkaev, who had been leading it for more than 50 years. Colleagues, relatives, and students of Sharkaev believe that the school should be named after its director.