Mobilization in Russia for May 7–8, 2023 CIT volunteer summary
Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising
Advertisements for contract service keep appearing all over Russia. Corresponding banners were noticed in the Amur region and Nizhny Tagil, Sverdlovsk region. Posters appeared on the bulletin board of a village in the Ivanovo region. Contract service recruitment ads were printed on utility bills in Ukhta, Komi [Russia’s constituent republic]. For its part, the Ministry of Defense touted the social benefits provided to contract soldiers.
Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters
New names have been added to the list of mobilized men killed in the war: Andrey Kononov from the Kursk region, Yury Starodubtsev from the Voronezh region, Aleksandr Lyubimov from the Kemerovo region, Mikhail Bondarenko from the Belgorod region, Andrey Lukyanov from Russia’s constituent republic of Buryatia and Dmitry Berdugin from the Novosibirsk region.
Speaking with the Lyudi Baikala [People of Baikal] independent media outlet, female relatives of mobilized soldiers from the Moscow region recounted their attempts to get their loved ones transferred out of assault units. Upon arrival in the “DPR”, local military commanders dispatched them to positions near Avdiivka in assault units, even though the men had trained for artillery roles. Some soldiers were later recalled from the frontlines and sent on leave after their relatives recorded a video appeal for help. Women, whose appeal was successful, stopped responding to those, whose men remained at the front. For the latter, the situation remains unchanged. Their female relatives continue the struggle for the return of their men from the frontlines, if possible, or at least for the return of their bodies.
More than 50 mobilized soldiers from Sakhalin have headed to the “special military operation” zone after a two-week vacation. Among them is Gavrila Terentyev, a 54-year-old dairy farmer from Yakutia [Russia’s constituent republic]. Previously, the man won 10 million rubles in the lottery, but he spent it completely in 2.5 months. In March, he returned home with only 250 rubles in his pocket and now he has decided to sign up as a volunteer in the Bootur volunteer fighters unit.
The Head of Bashkortostan [Russia’s constituent republic], Radiy Khabirov, visited the positions of the soldiers from the republic and presented them with awards — the recently established Shaimuratov Medal.
In the Stavropol region, a doctor and father of three young children has been mobilized. His wife has been trying for seven months to bring him back home. The Chief commissar of Stavropol region replied that, according to the General Staff documents, deferment for fathers of many children is only possible if a wife's death certificate or divorce certificate is provided. The Commissioner for Children's Rights in the region clarified that the General Staff directive on deferment for fathers of three or more children is no longer in effect.
Recruitment of workers for trench construction continues. This time, residents of the Rostov region were called to dig trenches in the Belgorod, Kursk, and Bryansk regions. The payment is 1000 rubles per meter of trenches. Workers are also promised official employment, accommodation, meals, and a deferral from mobilization during the contract period.
Verdicts and Incidents
The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) has reported the arrest of three individuals in the Chelyabinsk region for attempting to carry out sabotage on a railway line. The FSB investigative department has launched a criminal case against them under Article 281 of the Russian Criminal Code (sabotage), which carries a penalty of up to life imprisonment. The incident occurred on the night of May 6 to 7 near Magnitogorsk on the Supryak–Tsemzavod section of the railway. As a result of the arson attack, two relay cabinets were completely destroyed. We reported on the incident in yesterday's sitrep.
In Moscow, unknown individuals set fire to railroad relay cabinets. On the morning of May 8, the fire was noticed between the Elektrozavodskaya and Sortirovochnaya stations in the Kazan direction. As a result, two relay cabinets were completely destroyed. Investigators found several plastic bottles next to them. As reported, there was no traffic disruption.
In Novosibirsk, a relay cabinet also completely burned out due to arson. As stated, this incident did not affect the train traffic scheduling in any way. Authorities have not yet confirmed the arson.
A draft office was set on fire in the town of Likhoslavl, Tver region. The police officer patrolling the area tried to put out the fire with a fire extinguisher. Only the facade of the wooden building was damaged; the fire did not penetrate inside. A plastic canister with traces of fuel was found at the spot. Authorities are looking for the arsonist(s). Later, a festive banner appeared, covering the damaged section of the facade of the building. The arson of the draft office is the second attempt at sabotage in the area in a week. Earlier, a suspicious device that looked like an improvised explosive device was found mounted on an electric power pylon near the village of Mikshino.
Two residents of the village of Chernitsyno, Kursk region, saw a drunken man who carried an object appearing to be a grenade. The police officers who arrived after having received a call found that the man tried to get rid of the grenade by hiding it in the bushes. The man was detained and early indication suggests that what he had was an explosive hand grenade. Another grenade was found at the Tatneft petrol station in the town of Sertolovo, Leningrad region. The area was cordoned off, the origin of the grenade is being investigated.
At the end of April 2023, Vyacheslav Mokin, a resident of the Novosibirsk region, shot and killed two men who attacked his family. One of the victims, Yevgeny Khotkov, who had two prior criminal convictions himself, recently returned home after having served in Ukraine and was celebrating his return with friends. In the local beer store, Khotkov had an altercation with the Mokins and followed the couple to their house with his friends, armed with bats and sticks. One of the attackers threatened to sexually assault Mokin’s wife. Vyacheslav warned the attackers that he would shoot, fired a warning shot, and eventually opened fire on the men. A criminal case has been opened and an investigation into the incident is underway.
The authorities of the Alekseevsky district of Tatarstan [Russia’s constituent republic] allocated two buses for the families of mobilized soldiers so that they could visit the Journey to the World of Ostriches festival at the Bilyar Ostrich Eco-Farm.
The head of the village of Belovskoye in the Belgorod region congratulated the families of mobilized soldiers on Victory Day, presenting them with a postcard and a box of candies. The head of the administration of the Zhuravlyovskoye rural settlement in the Belgorod region also congratulated the relatives of mobilized soldiers on Victory Day: she walked around the homes of the military families and gave them each a box of candies and a carnation.
For three months, the leader of the Syktyvkar branch of the Volunteers of Komi organization, Yekaterina Ilchukova, together with her colleagues, sewed gloves, warm blankets, and pillows for soldiers from Komi who are fighting in Ukraine.
Victory Day and Children
“Young patriots” marched through downtown Ulan-Ude. 22 teams took part in the holiday procession including members of the Yunarmia [Young Army, pro-Kremlin youth organization], cadet troupes, and young kazak units.
Numerous Russian schools have conducted parades to honor the Victory Day where children were dressed up in military uniforms and forced to march. For example, a parade for elementary school students took place in the town of Sharya in the Kostroma region. In the Agryz district in Tatarstan, school children took part in a military bike ride. In Tver, students of one of the local schools lined up and watched upperclassmen parade in military uniform. The school in the village of Vtorogagayskoye in the Tyumen region organized a game of “snipers” for students of its elementary grades.
3rd graders from one of the schools in Chita filmed a music video in honor of Victory Day. In the video, children dressed in military uniform performed a song about “Motherland defenders” who fought in the Great Patriotic War as well as wars in Afghanistan, Chechnya [Russia’s constituent republic], Syria, and Ukraine.
On May 9 [Victory Day], a military-history festival will take place in Chita called “82nd Guards. To Berlin!” The event will start with a reenactment of a battle episode from the Berlin offensive operation. In addition, residents of the Zabaykalsky region will be urged to make trench candles and talismans for “special military operation” participants.
Novaya Gazeta Europe published a report from an “anti-fascist song” festival named Gitara v stroyu [Guitar in Military Service] held in honor of May Day and Victory Day at once. Round-table discussions on “falsifying history” were also held during the festival.
The administration of the Governor of the Perm region announced that this year's parade in Perm will showcase the "latest developments" of local defense enterprises. After the celebration, they are to be sent to the front.
Authorities in many Russian regions have publicly announced the cancellation of Victory Day celebrations. The Vyorstka media outlet analyzed publicly available documents on government purchases and found out that in reality, May 9 in Russia will be celebrated almost as widely as in previous years. Victory Day parades have been canceled in 23 Russian cities and in occupied Crimea. In Moscow, the number of places where fireworks can be seen on the evening of May 9 has decreased by half compared to 2022.
Vyorstka also asked soldiers who refused to participate in the war in Ukraine how their experiences at war changed their attitude towards the holiday.
The Yav art group created a new artwork in Saint Petersburg called "Russian Cyberpunk": painted in Gzhel style prosthesis are attached to silhouettes of people. After a short time, the artwork was destroyed, and the wall was painted over.
Olga Mutovina, the author and editor of the Lyudi Baikala media outlet, reflects on why people are willing to put up with the war and what can be done to wake them up.
The Mozhem Ob'yasnit [We can explain] Telegram channel studied government contracts and found that a cult of heroes of the war with Ukraine is being created, with monuments to them being erected in various parts of the country. Such memorials will appear in the town of Borzya and the village of Aginskoye in the Zabaykalsky region, as well as at the public cemetery in Kostroma city. It was previously reported about the installation of similar monuments in the city of Chita and in the town of Krasnokamensk in the Zabaykalsky region.