mobilization briefs
May 8

Mobilization in Russia for May 6-7, 2024 CIT Volunteer Summary

Mobilized Soldiers, Volunteer Fighters and Contract Soldiers

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Vitaly Lisaev from Mordovia and Denis Isnabaev from Bashkortostan [Russia's constituent republic].

In addition, news emerged of the death of Anatoly Rinchinov, a volunteer fighter from Buryatia [Russia's constituent republic]. According to the Lyudi Baikala [People of Baikal] independent media outlet, Rinchinov, a 60-year-old father of 10 children, with only one child of legal age, was killed on January 14, 2024. However, his death was not reported until May.

Former convicts from the Kaluga region, who were recruited to serve in the Ukraine war as part of the Storm-Z unit, continue to complain about not receiving payments for injuries and disability benefits. Moreover, according to these men, they are forced to pay for their own treatment in civilian hospitals, as they are not admitted to Ministry of Defense hospitals. In addition, ex-convicts are not issued combat veteran credentials or military IDs. Meanwhile, those eligible for spring conscription are being conscripted for regular biannual service. They are urging the appointment of officials who can assist in resolving these issues. Notably, this marks the third video released by ex-convicts from Kaluga; they previously addressed Putin in late March and just last week.

BBC News Russian has analyzed the data published by the pro-Ukrainian platform InformNapalm on over 200 Cuban citizens allegedly serving in the Russian Army. Journalists cross-referenced 31 entries from the leaked data with social media accounts of individuals currently residing in Russia or associated with its Armed Forces. Many of them started sharing Russia-related content in August 2023, possibly indicating their arrival in the country. Presumably, these individuals are taking part in the invasion to earn money, with an expected monthly income of $2,000, significantly higher than the average monthly salary in Cuba, which is less than $35.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

In the Voronezh region, near the rural locality of Arkhipovka, a collision occurred between a bus carrying military personnel and a passenger car. The car’s driver was killed, while nine servicemen were injured and taken to a hospital. Presently, three of the injured individuals remain in serious condition. As of now, the cause of the accident has not been disclosed.

The Rostov regional court has upheld the conviction of Dmitry Vinnikov, who was sentenced by the Taganrog city court to three years in a medium-security penal colony for assault, an offense he committed in October 2023. Prior to this conviction, Vinnikov had been found guilty of at least six criminal offenses, but was released to participate in the war against Ukraine. However, the latest verdict makes no mention of his previous convictions, which suggests a pardon had been granted.

The Irkutsk Garrison Military Court has sentenced mobilized Sergeant Oleg Kustov to five and a half years in a penal colony for going AWOL. Kustov had been granted leave from December 27 until January 3, but despite his commander's order to return to his unit on January 1, 2023, he remained at home. Subsequently, Kustov underwent surgery in February and continued his treatment at home. In March 2023, he visited the local military commissariat to request a referral for examination at a military hospital but was instructed to return to service instead. Kustov continued his treatment at home and contested his mobilization in court, but the lawsuit was dismissed. Eventually, in April, he voluntarily went to the commandant's office in Irkutsk. During the court proceedings, he pleaded guilty to the charges against him.

According to Lyudi Baikala, the number of cases against soldiers who fled their service in Buryatia and the Irkutsk region has more than tripled over the past two years. In the two years preceding the war, there were 55 such cases. However, the figure has surged to 143 in Buryatia alone and 41 in the Irkutsk region. The majority of military personnel face prosecution for going AWOL, with desertion charges being much less frequent. Specifically, in Buryatia, eight individuals were convicted of desertion, while in the Irkutsk region, only two faced such charges.

The court has sentenced Eduard Kupeyev, the commanding officer of an assault unit, to three years in prison, a fine of 50,000 rubles [$550], stripped him of his officer rank for perpetrating large-scale fraud while abusing his official position. Kupeyev demanded a bribe of 200,000 rubles [$2,190] from a mobilized soldier for transferring him from the "special military operation" zone, where he had been since Sept. 30, 2022, to the rear. However, after receiving the first installment of the bribe, Kupeyev failed to execute the transfer as promised. Consequently, the mobilized soldier refused to pay the remaining portion of the bribe and seemingly reported the incident to the military police.

In the city of Vladivostok, a US serviceman named Gordon Black has been arrested. Russian authorities have notified the US State Department, and he is already receiving necessary consular support. Black was detained on May 2 on charges of theft, causing significant damage to a citizen; this offense carries a punishment of up to five years of imprisonment. The court ordered him to be held in custody until June 2. Black, aged 34, holds the rank of Staff Sergeant. According to US officials, Black independently traveled to Russia during a change of duty station—from South Korea to a base in the United States. His mother, Melody Jones, told CBS News that her son came to Russia to visit his girlfriend. According to the Baza Telegram channel, Black allegedly assaulted his girlfriend and stole 200,000 rubles [$2,190] from her. Mark Krutov, editor of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's news service, found the TikTok account of Aleksandra Vashchuk—Gordon Black's girlfriend, where she posted videos with him. Most of these videos were published in 2022 and 2023. According to Krutov, shortly before traveling to Russia, Black had an argument with Vashchuk, but later decided to reconcile with her.

The court has extended the arrest of Aleksey Rozhkov, a resident of the town of Beryozovsky in the Sverdlovsk region, who is accused of an act of terror for setting fire to a draft office and spreading false information about the army. His detention has been extended for three months until August 26. Rozhkov was detained in June 2023 in Kyrgyzstan and subsequently extradited to Russia. Olya Romashova, a correspondent from Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet], tells Rozhkov's story and outlines ways to provide support for him.

Natalya Filonova, a 61-year-old activist from Buryatia, has been sentenced to two years and ten months in a penal colony for "violence" against police officers. Despite being included in a secret decree signed by Putin in March 2023, she refused a pardon to avoid pleading guilty. In a letter from the colony, Filonova said that in January and March, an unknown lawyer visited her and informed her of the president's pardon. However, she chose not to sign the papers as it would require admitting guilt in the criminal case. Human rights activist Nadezhda Nizovkina reported that Filonova was listed among those granted pardons for the March 8 holiday, but Filonova's lawyer later denied the information regarding her pardon.

Assistance

Children from a kindergarten in the village of Kadom in the Ryazan region were involved in weaving camouflage nets for war participants. Meanwhile, in Barnaul, near the garbage bins, a box containing New Year's greetings, drawings, postcards and warm items for Russian soldiers, which were meant to be dispatched to the frontline before New Year's, was found.

Children and Educational System

Schools and kindergartens across Russia have been posting on social media about organizing events for children to watch the inauguration of Vladimir Putin. In the Krasnodar region, local officials and priests were gathered at a school to watch the live broadcast of the inauguration. Reports suggest that in certain instances, children were required to stand up from their chairs and applaud during the playing of the Russian anthem. Additionally, at the Akvarelka kindergarten in Tambov, a "game inauguration" was arranged before Putin's inauguration, where a "people's elected president" took an oath, as discovered by the Vyorstka media outlet.

Miscellaneous

In 2023, at least 18,820 Russian citizens applied for asylum in the EU for the first time, as reported by Vyorstka. This figure marks the highest number of applications in the past seven years, surpassing the previous peak in 2016 when 22,930 Russian citizens sought asylum in EU countries. During that period, a large number of applications came from refugees fleeing repression in Chechnya [Russia's constituent republic]. In the following three years, the number of asylum applications did not exceed 12,500, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, it dropped below 5,500. In the first year of the war, Russians submitted 13,300 applications. Germany received the highest number of asylum applications, with its authorities processing 7,655 requests, while France ranked second with 4,125 requests.

In Kazan, along with several other cities in Russia, plans are underway to establish Museums of "special military operation." The regional office of Molodaya Gvardiya, the youth wing of the United Russia party, is spearheading this initiative.

Zemlyane band frontman Vladimir Kiselyov has refused to pay one million rubles [$10,880] to a soldier who downed an Abrams tank, asserting that he never made such a promise. According to the band, Kiselyov had only committed to compensating for German Leopard tanks. However, despite their claims, a video from the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum in 2023, where Kiselyov pledged to pay one million rubles for both Leopard and Abrams tanks, remains accessible online.

A patient at Ivanovo City Hospital complained that he could not get an appointment with a surgeon. In response, Andrey Chikin, the hospital's chief of medicine, confirmed that the hospital experiences a shortage of surgical specialists. He further explained that the hospital has suffered recent losses, with three surgeons having passed away and one deployed to war.

Longreads

The Govorit NeMoskva [NonMoscow Is Speaking] Telegram channel published an interview with Sergey Podsytnik, the former deputy head of the Navalny headquarters in Samara, a journalist, and one of the authors of the investigation into the Iranian drones’ production at the Alabuga Polytech college.