mobilization briefs
October 1, 2022

Mobilization update for September 29-30

At the Security Council meeting, Putin ordered all mistakes made during partial mobilization to be corrected and not be allowed to happen in the future. Possibly as a result, Moscow citizens started to receive notifications of cancellation of draft notices issued based on unreliable or inaccurate data. At the same time, attempts to hand over draft notices to Moscow students of University of Chemical Technology of Russia (MUCTR) and National Research University of Electronic Technology are reportedly being made. Also in Moscow, the creation of a special support center for relatives of mobilized Moscow citizens was announced. More than a hundred people mobilized by mistake have already been returned home in the Belgorod region.

The first lawsuit to challenge the draft as part of the mobilization was registered by a St. Petersburg court. Meanwhile in Krasnoyarsk, the court deemed lawful the mobilization of a citizen who completed a military course at university, but did not serve. Pavel Chikov, human rights activist and lawyer, reports that Russian courts are considering only one case of no-show at a military recruitment office.

What do Russian citizens think about the mobilization? Levada Center (Russian independent, nongovernmental polling and sociological research organization) has found that Putin's approval rating has immediately dropped by 6%. Half of the respondents expressed anxiety and fear, and a quarter replied that they felt "proud of Russia". FOM (Public Opinion Foundation) also found that the level of anxiety among the Russian population has doubled during the past week.

Head of the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism, Zarina Doguzova, has requested tour operators and agencies help conscripted Russian tourists. They are to refund them all of their incurred expenses, including fees and deposits. However, members of the Russian police force can no longer travel overseas. They are now prohibited from leaving Russia. Law enforcement personnel with access to state secrets are now required to surrender their passports. Despite these measures though, two Russian policemen managed to flee Russia 2 days before the official orders were issued.

Russian filmmaker Nikita Mikhalkov has asked the authorities to exempt Russian movie industry employees from conscription. He cited the necessity to complete all current cinematic projects that have been "kicked off with government funding". After Mr Mikhalkov's requests, operators and employees in the tourist industry are intending to demand their own exemption from the mobilization process. And so are the Russians involved in the pharmaceutical business. Earlier similar demands have come from the representatives of Russian airlines and members of RAN (the Russian Academy of Sciences).

Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, Denis Manturov, has been appointed to the post of chairman of the Exemption Committee, in charge of exempting those Russian citizens from conscription that are currently in the army reserves.

Latest Russian mobilization statistics from the regions. Deputy Military Commissar [head of the Enlistment Office] of Saint Petersburg, Ilfat Abzalov, is saying that in the course of the mobilization, 80 000 St Petersburg residents have been issued conscription letters. However, local news outlet "Fontanka" said the Commissar had made a mistake and in reality, only 8 000 letters were issued. At the same time, according to his earlier statements, only about 30% of the conscription quotas have been met in Saint Petersburg. More than two thousand Russian citizens have been conscripted in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. Authorities in Orenburg have managed to draft about a thousand army reservists. The Russian constituent republics of Khakassia and Buryatia have both met all mobilization quotas, according to their heads of government. Earlier on, mobilization procedures were declared complete in Tuva, Crimea, Adygea and Bryansk by their respective heads of local government.

Supplying the newly mobilized is solved on a region by region basis. In Moscow, the mobilized are issued the uniforms and personal hygiene items at the call-up points. The governor of the Moscow region Andrey Vorobyev reported that the region authorities are giving the mobilized winter sleeping bags, backpacks, tactical headphones and glasses, boots and even quadcopters. In the Kamchatka region, local businessmen help regional officials with the purchase of equipment for mobilization. Сhelyabinsk governor called on the region's population to donate their sleeping bags. Schoolgirls were removed from classes to make beds for those called up for war in Penza. There are continued reports of rising prices for the equipment needed by the mobilized against the background of calls for self-sufficiency and the help of volunteers. In particular, the cost of body armor has increased by tens and even hundreds of percent, depending on the store. The record is an increase of 1829%. The inventory of goods offered by military surplus stores is also reduced. The situation with medical supplies is no better: there is a catastrophic lack of tourniquets.

Problems with the accomodation of the mobilized in military units remain. Relatives of those mobilized from Yekaterinburg are horrified by the conditions of their accommodation in the barracks. In Elan, the mobilized from Perm were placed in an assembly hall. Servicemen filmed how they have to light fires (one, two) to keep warm outside. Mobilized men from the Irkutsk region are forced to sleep on the stairs at the Novosibirsk training center, although conditions in the barracks are no better. In Perm, they told about the detention of a mobilized man who complained about the conditions in Elan. The living conditions negatively affect the morale of the mobilized, which leads, among other things, to conflicts: the Penza residents stationed at a stadium started a fight during the commander’s speech, and in Bashkiria the conflict almost escalated into a mass brawl. In Tatarstan, the actions of a drunken mobilized man led to an accident.

The authorities share their vision of how the mobilized are trained. For example, here is a video of how the first team of the mobilized at the training ground of the Mikhailovskaya Artillery Academy in the Leningrad region are being trained. The press service of the People's Militia of the so-called DPR reported on the arrival of the first group of the mobilized to the special military operation area and showed a video of their training. The footage also contained interviews with military personnel, including a mobilized soldier named Anton, who seemed to be pleased with everything.

Regional initiatives. In Tuva, the authorities promised to give families of the mobilized one ram each. In case the mobilization does not give the desired results, the Bashkortostan local legislators prepared a bill on sending convicts to war in Ukraine.

Yesterday in Derbent, a car with a loudspeaker drove through the streets, calling on “all male citizens to urgently come to the military commissariat”, which infuriated the head of Dagestan, Sergey Melikov. Soon, a video of the city's military commissar apologizing appeared on his official Telegram channel. The wife and adviser to the Mufti of Dagestan Aina Gamzatova asked Putin to suspend mobilization in the region. Today, officers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the FSB of Dagestan detained the administrators of Telegram channels that covered protests against mobilization in the region.

About the situation at the borders. Yesterday it was reported that the border with Norway was closed. However, the halt in traffic on the border with Norway was more likely due to “ordinary fluctuations”. However, the Norwegian authorities said today, that, “if necessary”, they are ready to impose a ban on Russian tourists similar to that in Finland. There is an official statement on that matter on the Norwegian Ministry of Justice website. On the night of September 29-30, Finland closed its border for Russian holders of tourist Schengen visas. After a high alert regime was introduced in North Ossetia–Alania constituent republic of Russia, the flow of people passing through the Verkhny Lars checkpoint to Georgia has decreased. Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Russians fleeing the mobilization won’t be deported. Military checkpoints and traffic jams appeared at the border between Russia and Belarus.

According to Ukrainian intelligence, 20 thousand mobilized servicemen may be sent to Belarus.

The Irkutsk military commissar Alexander Eliseev, who was shot in Ust-Ilimsk, was woken out of a coma. His condition is severe.

(Russian imprisoned opposition leader Alexey) Navalny's team drew attention to the fact that four people at once decided to praise (Moscow Mayor) Sobyanin in a similar manner for his success in organizing the mobilization. The media person Ksenia Sobchak was accompanied on this matter by propagandists Vladimir Solovyov, Margarita Simonyan and the ex-chief of the independent Echo of Moscow radio station Alexey Venediktov.