mobilization briefs
November 26, 2022

Mobilization in Russia, volunteer summary for November 24-25

The President of Russian Federation has signed a decree “On the national information resource containing citizens’ personal details required for updating of the military registration records”, aiming to create a single electronic database of conscripts, contract soldiers and former conscripts in reserve. Until December 30, 2022, regional authorities, in collaboration with the Ministry of Defense and MinTsifry [the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media], are required to digitize all data records of draft offices. As the next step, data from tax authorities will be integrated into this database. Eventually, the database will incorporate data from the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the Federal Penitentiary Service, the Federal Bailiff Service, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Department of Education, the Ministry of Sports, the Central Election Commission, and the Pension Fund. The database is planned to be deployed on April 1, 2024, which is timed to coincide with the spring conscription season. Any citizen not yet on the radar of draft offices will be put on record by then.

Russian President’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied reports on an upcoming announcement of an all-out mobilization. He claimed that Vladimir Putin's message to the Federal Assembly would not call for a "nation-wide mobilization". He also told reporters that whether Putin's conversation with the mothers of mobilized troops which took place today in Novo-Ogaryovo, would be published or not would be up to the mothers themselves.

The main statements made by Putin at the meeting with mothers of soldiers engaged in the so-called special military operation are as follows: the entire leadership of the country shares the pain of the mothers; nothing can replace the loss of a son. Life is not as simple as what they show on TV or the Internet, which is full of fakes. Everything comes from the family: if these young men chose to defend our fatherland, that's how their mothers raised them. The President also claimed that he personally called a few mobilized soldiers. "I was surprised and cheered by their morale; they did not expect a call from me," he said. He also pointed out that the Ministry of Defense is working to establish supplies of military uniforms in the "special operation" zone.

The Mozhem Ob’yasnit [We can explain] Telegram channel identified some of the women invited to the meeting as government employees, pro-government All-Russia People's Front officials, and functionaries of other pro-government movements and the ruling United Russia party. One of the attendants was identified as the mother of Konstantin Pshenichkin, who had been killed back in 2019 near Pervomaisk.

“Don’t condemn us to loneliness in old age”. Single-parent mothers with only son addressed the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, and the Minister of Defense of Russia, Sergei Shoigu. The appeal of the women appeared on the Mothers of Russia YouTube channel. In the video, the women ask to get their close ones back home and recall that mothers’ only sons weren't taken to war even in the times of the Russian Empire.

The State Duma of Russia [the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] intends to amend the status of mobilized Russian citizens. A number of the lobbying parliamentarians have submitted proposals to legislatively divide servicemen into three groups: the mobilized for military service, the ones on military duty under a one year contract, and the ones who have voluntarily signed a contract of assisting in carrying out tasks assigned to the RuAF. Besides, altering of the period of validity was proposed: from “till the expiration of the effective duration of the agreement” to “for the period of the aforementioned citizens taking part in the special military operation”. Such an initiative may indicate an intention of the authorities to abolish the payments to the mobilized, who are currently equal to contract soldiers in regard to money allowance.

The Governor of the Irkutsk region commented on the video of the volunteers of the Angara battalion, who complained, among other things, about the lack of promised payments. “As it turned out, draft offices have not submitted lists of soldiers to the regional Ministry of Social Security since September. Because of this, those who were sent to defend our country could not receive money. I agree that the process of enlisting military personnel units was protracted,” said Igor Kobzev. The Sverdlovsk residents, who were conscripted at the end of October and sent to Tyumen, did not receive the promised payments either.

In another video, the mobilized from Serpukhov, who is currently in the Luhansk region, said that the command did not provide them with food as far as was necessary, so they ate once a day. At the same time, the mobilized discovered significant food supplies, including those sent by volunteers. The command is not involved in the distribution of these reserves. Products are randomly dumped in rooms where they gradually go off. It should be noted that the quality of the canned food “ZV Chicken Meat with Natural Juices” presented in the video raised questions of other mobilized soldiers. According to the author of the video, the canned food is made from "antibiotic chicken with finely chopped bones." He was indignant at how the manufacturer could have won the tender for the supply of food for soldiers and also threatened the owner of the enterprise with a number of non-legal consequences.

Following those mobilized from the Oryol region, questions about the quality of things provided by the region arose among Yaroslavl residents: the bags provided by the regional government didn’t last even one day.

New videos of the training of mobilized soldiers from the Ministry of Defense appeared: in the Chelyabinsk region, the mobilized practice the skills of handling and maintaining weapons; in the Stavropol region, the mobilized had intensive medical and fire training. A mobilized tanker showed how his crew was preparing to combat. The mobilized Uralians from the Sverdlovsk and Chelyabinsk regions received medals "For Courage" (note: these regions are leaders in the number of killed mobilized soldiers).

A special website has appeared on the Internet where you can report on the needs of mobilized soldiers. It is called "Deputies’ monitoring of regional aid to the mobilized." Deputy of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] Dmitry Kuznetsov spoke about this project. The website also evaluates the leaders of the regions based on their participation in supporting the mobilized. Employees of the Russian Pension Fund are forced to donate part of their salaries for the war in Ukraine. At the same time, the statements (available to the Sota Telegram channel) received by the employees of the Pension Fund indicate that this is not a one-time donation: the money is supposed to be donated until the end of the “special military operation”.

Denis Kuzminykh, a 28-year-old draftee from Artemovsky, Sverdlovsk region, was killed in the "special operation". Dmitry Moshev, an official of the Ministry of Social Development of the Perm region, died in a training center in Tyumen before reaching the front. According to AiF [Argumenty i Fakty, a Russian state-owned newspaper], the cause of death was cardiac arrest. The BBC and Mediazona [an independent Russian media outlet] have confirmed the death of more than 9000 Russian soldiers in Ukraine. 326 of them were mobilized. The death of 259 mobilized men was confirmed a week ago. A criminal case was initiated on incitement to suicide upon the death of a mobilized man near Tyumen.

A source of iStories [an independent Russian investigative media outlet] close to the FSB [the Federal Security Service of Russia] claimed that, according to one of the forecasts, the number of killed and wounded among draftees could make up about 100,000 by the spring of 2023. However, this does not frighten anyone – they will be replaced by conscripts.

According to the Fontanka media outlet, mobilized men could not get a draft deferment in St. Petersburg. Due to a special order, only conscripts applying for category V (for health reasons) could get to the military medical commission. In the Perm region, a prosecutor's office reported that mobilized men had been sent to war without any medical examination.

Dmitry Koshkin, a 44-year-old resident of Tatarstan, was drafted with hypertension. In recent weeks, the man was in “LPR” hospital with a hypertensive crisis, and he needs qualified medical care, which is not provided on the spot. A musician with strabismus was mobilized in St. Petersburg. 120 employees of the Donetskteploset enterprise were sent to war. Boiler houses are gradually closing in the city as there is no one else to work there. The women of the enterprise have to work instead of men because of the mobilization.

However, there is also good news. The wife of Pavel Kozlov, a mobilized resident of Yekaterinburg and father of three children, managed to return him home almost two months after he had been drafted.

A way to avoid being sent to the "special operation" area was invented at a training ground in Yelan, Sverdlovsk region. Soldiers have agreed with a local hospital to perform surgery to remove their appendixes. To date, about 30 cases of "acute appendicitis" have been diagnosed. The management of the military unit is aware of such a scheme, and an investigation will be carried out in each case. The surgical operation will not help the evaders in any way. Even if now they are provided a deferment, all the "recovered" will be sent to war in a month.

In Siberia, men started to acknowledge fathering children more frequently since the mobilization began. The civil registry offices processed more cases of establishing paternity in September–October 2022 than last year's corresponding period. The news outlet Sibir.Realii [Realities of Siberia] reported the increase after analyzing data coming from six Siberian regions.

In Perm, physicians are being enlisted into the “mobilization reserve.” One of the local hospitals designated 13 doctors that would be dispatched to military hospitals should a need arise. Belgorod physicians are already heading to military units. According to the Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov, doctors will help the mobilized soldiers to learn how to provide first aid.

According to the Sota Telegram channel, the Bauman Moscow State Technical University warned its students of the forthcoming war-related expulsions. Male students who haven’t passed even just one exam are subject to expulsion; thus, any academic extension now means expulsion followed by conscription. The students who voluntarily enlist in the army, however, will have their academic debts forgiven and reinstated after a year in military service. Once this news appeared, the Bauman University administration called it a “fake;” however, after the expulsions had been announced, the administration promptly started to amend their previous statements.

A TV channel in Novoshakhtinsk (Rostov region) broadcasted a story about a Young Army [pro-Kremlin youth organization] detachment at a local school. With third-graders waving tiny flags to the recording by propaganda pop singer Gazmanov in the background, some children are crying for their mobilized fathers. An 11-year-old cadet girl sewed some magic rabbits for the frontline fighters from Yuzhnouralsk. In Kirov, representatives of the local Cossack society held a master class on wielding the Cossack sword: the organizers thought that such an activity would raise the children’s spirits, especially of those awaiting their fathers to return from the front. The town of Iskitim (Novosibirsk region) is collecting funds for a quadcopter for mobilized soldiers. A resident of Zelenodolsk (Republic of Tatarstan) purchased an armored UAZ jeep for mobilized soldiers of his town.

At a meeting of the Presidential Council for Cooperation with Religious Associations, the leader of the Buddhists in Russia, Damba Ayusheev, asked Putin to distribute firewood to the families of the mobilized soldiers from Buryatia. According to him, the families have to collect a lot of paperwork to receive the firewood.

The court in Kirov dropped the case against Vadim Gilyazov about a repost of a protest announcement in a Telegram chat. In September, he was fined 20 thousand rubles for reposting a call to come out to a protest organized by the Vesna [Spring] youth movement. The activist testified in court that the account that made the repost didn’t belong to him. It is unknown whether this was the reason to dismiss the case.