mobilization briefs
September 4, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Sept. 1-3, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

Dmitry Medvedev, Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Security Council, stated that 280,000 people have enlisted in the Russian army since January. This includes people staying in the reserve, volunteer fighters and people in "other categories," he added. A month ago, Medvedev claimed that more than 231,000 people had signed contracts with the Ministry of Defense.

Viktor Sobolev, a member of the State Duma [lower house of Russia's Federal Assembly] Committee on Defense, indicated that this was insufficient, as it falls short of the plan set out by the military leadership. Bloomberg and Ura.ru reported earlier that the authorities aimed to convince up to 400,000 people to enlist. This target was set, so that "there will not be any further mobilization, for which we are not quite prepared," added Sobolev. Andrey Gurulyov, another member of the same committee, also commented on this topic. He denied rumors that there were plans to mobilize 3,000,000 people to continue the war. According to him, it would be hard to implement such an initiative, because draftees would need weapons, equipment, vehicles and ammunition. He also confirmed that the target this year is to recruit 420,000 contract soldiers.

In the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region–Yugra [Russia's federal subject], a program to promote employment will teach students to operate drones, so that they later participate in the "special military operation." Fifty-six people have signed up for this course this year.

Members of the territorial defense forces were used as extras at the Belgorod summer festival, swelling crowds to fake high attendance during the students’ procession and half-marathon. Additionally, they have had to unload construction materials and will be standing guard during the upcoming elections. A few to a hundred "militiamen" must show up at each event.

Britain’s Defense Ministry claims that Russia recruits foreign nationals to avoid domestic mobilization before upcoming elections. In particular, adverts have been observed in Armenia and Kazakhstan offering 495,000 rubles [$5,140] in initial payments and salaries from 190,000 rubles [$1,973]. Recruitment efforts have also intensified in Kazakhstan’s Kostanay region, targeting ethnic Russian population.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Sergey Savelyev and Andrey Yemelyanov from the Volgograd region, Nikolay Karpov from the Voronezh region and Aleksey Leonov from the Kurgan region.

In her Telegram channel, State Duma member Nina Ostanina published the response provided by the Ministry of Defense on guidance for granting leaves to mobilized personnel. According to the Ministry, mobilized soldiers are entitled to a 14-day leave every six months, with additional time granted for travel to, and return from, the soldier’s place of residence. Nonetheless, evidence shows an increase in the number of complaints raised by mobilized troops fighting at the frontline for almost a year without rotation, with their leaves being canceled or postponed.

Around 10 conscripts remain missing after the explosion of an ammunition storage facility in the village of Oktyabrsky in Crimea on July 22, 2023. At that time, the authorities announced evacuation within the 5 km area around the village. A journalist from the Govorit NeMoskva independent media outlet has found three posts in the Voyenny gospital [Military hospital] group in the VKontakte social network about the search of conscripts from two battalions of the missing after the explosion. According to the mother of one of the conscripts, 18 people in total are missing, including at least 10 conscripts.

The soldiers from the Stavropol region who were left behind at the railway station in the city of Kovrov, the Vladimir region, have recorded a video address. They complain about not having been paid their salaries or sign-up bonuses. Commanders suggested that they "travel to their place of duty at their own expense."

On Sept. 1, wives, mothers, and daughters of Russian POWs recorded a video address complaining about the absence of a government agency responsible for POW exchange in Russia. The women said that they can’t get help from anywhere—they filed complaints to numerous governmental departments but received only dismissive replies.

Wives and mothers of mobilized soldiers from Buryatia [Russia's constituent republic] have asked Putin to find their relatives who went missing in Ukraine. On June 5, mobilized soldiers from the 37th Motorized Rifle Brigade came under artillery fire, and since then, they have not been in contact. The women appealed to the Ministry of Defense and other agencies to report on the fate of more than 35 men, but encountered "indifference from the military command" and other authorities. They are now forced to search for their loved ones in hospitals and morgues on their own.

In the Telegram channel of Igor Kobzev, Governor of the Irkutsk region, volunteer fighters who are fighting in Ukraine continue to complain that they have not received either sign-up bonuses or "gubernatorial" payments of 200,000 rubles [$2,100].

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

Russian Army serviceman Mikhail Pichugin died in late August in the Rostov region after having been beaten by military police officers. An officer from the Investigative Committee promised to initiate a case on intentional infliction of injury, but the case has still not been filed.

In the city of Bataysk, Rostov region, a former Wagner Group mercenary, Vyacheslav K., was attacked. According to his relatives, during a walk in the park, he got into a conflict with a stranger. After some time, a crowd emerged from the nearby cafe and assaulted Vyacheslav. The police are investigating the circumstances of the conflict.

In the Volgograd region, a previously convicted former Wagner Group member stole medals from his fellow soldier. A criminal case has been initiated against the former mercenary on charges of fraud.

A mobilized soldier from the Tyumen region has been sentenced to 5.5 years in a penal colony for going AWOL. The man left his temporary duty station in October 2022 and was detained by the police in May 2023.

In Samara, the Federal Security Service (FSB) has detained individuals associated with a Russian Volunteer Corps fighter Aleksandr Kudashov. Those detained include his girlfriend Irina Izmaylova and volunteers of an environmental project founded by Kudashyov. Reportedly, Izmaylova has been charged with the manufacturing of explosives. Izmaylova's decision to choose a state lawyer rather than her own may indicate pressure being applied to her.

Fire has destroyed relay cabinets on the railway section between Ovrazhki and Rodniki stations in the Moscow region. In the Rostov region, an attempt was made to set fire to a relay cabinet, but it was quickly extinguished and had no impact on train schedules. Cases have been opened under the criminal articles of "Intentional destruction or damage to property" and "Act of terror." Police are searching for those responsible.

Near Novosibirsk, a train driver reported an arsonist on the railroad. However, the "arsonist" turned out to be a local resident who was merely walking home. He was using a lighter as his only light source and holding a bottle of water, which the train driver mistook for a Molotov cocktail.

According to the update on the Avtozak LIVE project, at least 180 arson attacks on administrative facilities in Russia have been documented from the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine up to Sept. 1, 2023. Most of these cases are classified as an act of terror or deliberate destruction or damage of property.

Assistance

Maxim Ivanov, member of the State Duma from the Sverdlovsk region, has reported the procurement of materials for women in the town of Sysert, who are engaged in producing camouflage nets. Meanwhile, soldiers from the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region stationed in the "special military operation" zone will receive medical equipment and provisions.

A resident of the Belgorod region has lodged a complaint with Vyacheslav Gladkov, Governor of the Belgorod region, regarding a shortage of sandbags for fortifying the border. As a result of this scarcity, soldiers have had to purchase used sugar bags themselves. The governor has pledged to resolve the issue.

Children

The head of Russia's constituent republic Bashkortostan has instructed all preschools in the republic to perform the national anthem and raise the flags of Russia and Bashkortostan every week as a mandatory practice. In the occupied city of Simferopol, school students are encouraged to contribute funds for the war effort instead of purchasing pizza in the school cafeteria.

Moscow State Pedagogical University is preparing a pro-war photo exhibition. The caption beneath one of the photographs reads, "They are raising Nazis from a young age."

President Putin visited a new school in the Tver region with an emphasis on "patriotic education" of children where schoolgirls can join a group of sisters of mercy, and schoolboys are sent to summer military training camps.

A "memorial board" for those killed in the war with Ukraine was opened at School No. 16 in the village of Tsibanobalka in the Krasnodar region. Students from the "Cossack classes" were put on permanent guard next to it.

Miscellaneous

Russia is holding "early elections" in the occupied territories of Ukraine. According to Russian-appointed "authorities," residents of "hard-to-reach" and frontline territories vote early. Meanwhile, elections of deputies of the occupied regions of Ukraine will be held in the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region on Sept. 1-4. Voting is held for residents of these territories staying in the regions of the Russian Federation due to various life circumstances.

In the stairwells of several buildings in Chelyabinsk, leaflets have appeared featuring a photograph of environmental activist Nadezhda Vertyakhovskaya along with the inscription, "Be careful! A convict under Art. 20.3 lives in your house. She supports the Nazis and is a traitor to the Motherland." The leaflets quote an anti-war post from Vertyakhovskaya's personal Facebook page.