mobilization briefs
March 9, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Mar. 7–8, 2023 CIT volunteer summary  

While congratulating women on March 8 [International Women’s Day], President Putin noted that they demonstrate selflessness, “inspire our heroes,” pray for soldiers and weave camouflage netting. Putin also presented various awards to female war correspondents, female officers, as well as female officials of occupation authorities.

Aleksandr Osipov, Governor of the Zabaykalsky region, congratulated women standing in front of billboards with letters to men involved in the “special military operation” written by their wives. Servicemen are also congratulating women on March 8. Soldiers from the city of Chita addressed their wishes to female medics from the region who work in the area of the “special military operation.” Fighters from the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous region also recorded a congratulatory video.

Igor Artamonov, Governor of the Lipetsk region, signed a decree authorizing a one-off payment of 10 thousand rubles to each wife, mother, or widow of a man mobilized in the region to celebrate Women’s Day. Earlier, authorities of the Tula region announced payments of 8 thousand rubles to “mothers, wives, widows, as well as daughters, of fighters [from the region].” The Vyorstka media outlet asked the wives of 3 servicemen from the Tula region on how they intended to spend the “holiday payments,” and how the war impacted their families. Also, on Women’s Day, Aleksey Telkov, head of administration of the Krasninsky district of the Lipetsk region, personally greeted the widows of soldiers who were killed in the war with the following words, “Evidently, no one will ever replace them, but somehow, you have to carry on. Be strong!” Mothers of mobilized men were congratulated on March 8 in other Russian regions too.

The Vyorstka media outlet describes what the war brought to women. In particular, those whose ex-husbands were mobilized suffered no less than other categories of citizens. Now they have to seek alimony payments from the Ministry of Defense. Because of red tape, child support remittances do not arrive on time and do not reach everyone. There are also debtors among those who left for the war who have not paid alimony for years. Yet, it is impossible for women to recover these debts. Bailiffs unfroze the debtors’ bank accounts, and the state is not going to withhold their wages in favor of their children.

A video of a conversation between draftees from Kaliningrad and their commander has emerged where the soldiers told of their fellow servicemen committing suicide, of suicidal missions to storm enemy positions, and of their conflict with the “DPR Army.” After numerous complaints by the draftees about “DPR” commanders and a video address to the President, the Kaliningrad-based commander of the 1004th Regiment finally paid a visit to his troops. The mobilized soldiers are prepared to go to prison or enter a public conflict with the “DPR” command rather than charge at enemy positions again.

A commission from the Irkutsk region reported on its visit to the draftees from the region currently in the “DPR.” According to the regional political council representative of the United Russia party [Putin’s ruling party], Yakov Mindrulyov, the commission members went to the front and worked on ways to cooperate with the draftee regiment there, whose members on several occasions asked the authorities to transfer them back under the command of the Russian Ministry of Defense.

The No future project revisits the story of draftees from Volgograd who came under fire on Oct. 24 near Nova Kakhovka, resulting in at least 19 service members killed. Journalists were able to talk to relatives and those present at the scene to find out the details of the incident and their attitudes toward what happened there.

In the Novosibirsk region, the status of a mobilized soldier allowed his family to defend their rights. A week ago, the authorities of the Kupinsky district tried to lay a heat pipeline through the land belonging to a soldier’s family without the consent of the owner, who at the time was in the “special military operation” zone. Builders broke the fence, the gate and dug up the garden. The construction was stopped after the head of the town of Kupino found out that the site was registered to a mobilized soldier.

About 500 residents of the so-called "LPR" and "DPR" wrote an appeal to Putin, demanding the return from the war of mobilized men over 50 years old. The editors of the Astra Telegram channel got acquainted with the text of the appeal and spoke with three of those who applied.

A resident of Chita claims that her mobilized husband is held in the combat zone even after being wounded. Due to concussion, head injury, and cerebral ischemia, the man lost 90% of his vision, but he was not sent to the hospital. The military was prescribed pills, which he must buy at his own expense.

The Lyudi Baikala [People of Baikal] independent media outlet tells the story of a mobilized man and his family. Nikolay, a 30-year-old resident of the Balagansky district of the Irkutsk region, was mobilized in September last year. In February, he spent three weeks on the frontline under constant shelling. Now Nikolay's company has been taken to the rear, but in a few days, they are planned to be taken back to the frontline. Nikolay's wife said that her husband began to drink a lot at the front, and it was unknown in what psychological state he would return home.

35-year-old Nikita was mobilized from Irkutsk. He and his immediate family reside in an apartment in the city, while his parents live in a private house in nearby Buryatia [Russia’s constituent republic]. Authorities promised to help the family with firewood, but as of the beginning of March, no firewood has ever been delivered due to red tape.

The father of a deceased “special military operation” veteran had to prove his residency in the Tyumen region in order to receive benefits. In September 2022, Anatoly’s son was killed while serving in Donbas. To receive family survivor benefits guaranteed by the government, Anatoly had to provide confirmation of his permanent residence in the region from 1992 till the date of his son’s death.

The Perm Garrison Military Court sentenced a contract soldier from Buryatia to 5 years in a penal colony and a fine of 30,000 rubles for going AWOL during hostilities. According to the court, in July 2022, the soldier, having decided to “take a break from service,” did not report to his unit located in the town of Kyakhta. Nor did he show up after the announcement of mobilization on Sept. 21. In early November, the serviceman stole a car and headed for Perm, to be detained by the police on the following day. At this point, he identified himself as a member of the armed forces and admitted not having reported to his military unit in due course. According to the press service of the court, two more soldiers have been convicted on similar charges recently. They were sentenced to 5 and 5.5 years in prison.

In Karelia, a 19-year-old member of the Russian Citizen Alliance [a liberal-conservative youth organization], Nikita Klyunya, was detained on suspicion of involvement in the sabotage of railway lines. The young man is currently being held in police custody in Petrozavodsk, facing provisional charges of involvement with a terrorist organization. These charges may carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

According to the Astra Telegram channel, a pre-investigation check was launched against 31-year-old Vitaly S., mobilized from military unit 53195 in the Belgorod region. On Mar. 2, while the soldier was driving through the village of Ilyinka, his car was stopped, inspected, and 5 kg of smokeless powder was found in his possession and confiscated. The incident resulted in a pre-investigation check against the soldier.

Masha Moskalyova, a year six student who ended up in an orphanage because of an anti-war drawing, is not allowed to see her relatives. Local councilor Olga Podolskaya tried to talk to the director of the orphanage where the girl was kept, but she was not allowed into the building. Besides, the direction of the institution refuses to hand over a mobile phone to the girl to contact her father. Podolskaya told reporters that “superiors” came to the orphanage who allegedly decided the fate of the girl.

Since the beginning of mobilization, the educational center on the territory of the Lamaist temple in Ulan-Ude was turned into a volunteer center for Buddhist women. In the morning, they clean the altar, light the lamps and recite mantras. After that, they get to work and sew gear for military men. Now there are about 500 female volunteers in Ulan-Ude. Almost all of them have relatives or acquaintances who take part in the “special operation.” However, why Buddhist Buryats must fight cannot be explained in the center.

The Government of the Kaliningrad region sent body armor to the front. The first deputy chairman of the Government of the Kaliningrad region Sergey Eliseev personally handed over sets of gear. Meanwhile, schoolchildren in the village of Sosnovka in the Saratov region were involved in making trench candles for Russian servicemen.