mobilization briefs
September 14, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Sept. 12–13, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

The Ministry of Defense published a list of illnesses and disabilities, which preclude contract-based military service during times of mobilization or martial law. It includes, among others, hepatitis B and C, HIV, active tuberculosis, missing limbs, asthma and type 1 diabetes. The Voyennye Advokaty [Military Lawyers] Telegram channel reminds servicemen, who are already under contract, that they will not be able to resign, however, even if they suffer from one of the listed conditions. The new directive only regulates recruitment, whereas the decree, which proclaimed partial mobilization, continues to define the grounds for resignation.

The State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] is conducting a preliminary review of a bill, which would define the duration of service for mobilized soldiers. Eduard Sharafiev, member of the State Council of Russia's constituent Republic of Tatarstan, drafted the bill in order to amend the federal Mobilization Training and Mobilization Act. In particular, he calls for the duration of service to be defined in the mobilization plans of the Russian Armed Forces. The State Duma Defense Committee is currently considering the bill.

The Governor of the Zabaykalsky region signed a resolution, which requires regional and local authorities, as well as “legal entities, including nonprofit organizations and individual entrepreneurs,” to prioritize the hiring of veterans of the war in Ukraine. The resolution establishes a one-time subsidy of 76,000 rubles [$791] for employers who hire participants of the “special military operation.”

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

The government of the Vladimir region announced that one more group of contract soldiers recruited locally had been deployed to the war zone. The authorities did not disclose the number of recruits, but based on the video footage, it can be estimated as 15.

Moscow City Duma member Yevgeny Stupin believes there is evidence suggesting that preparation for a new wave of mobilization is in full swing across Russia. Stupin points out that since August 2023 the Moscow City Duma and the Moscow Government have been issuing deferments for their officials. Moreover, according to Stupin’s sources, the commission on deferment for Russian citizens currently in reserve in the Khabarovsk region is planning to convene on Sept. 28.

In Moscow, 38-year-old Dmitry Moiseyev left off for military training and disappeared shortly thereafter. Dmitry was called up for full-time military training in early June 2023. After two weeks following his departure, the man reached out to his wife and shared his anxiety over having to redeploy to an undisclosed location, presumably a settlement in the Voronezh region at the border with Ukraine. Since June 12, there has been no further news from him, and he never returned home after the end of the training program. The Western Military District press service and the military collection point in the town of Zheleznodorozhny from where Dmitry had departed for training failed to provide any information on his current whereabouts.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Sayan Dorzhiyev from Russia’s constituent Republic of Buryatia.

As reported by Sever.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty], more than 20 soldiers from the 7th Motorized Rifle Regiment were isolated in a military base in Chernyakhovsk, Kaliningrad region, at the beginning of September. These soldiers are currently under the guard of military police, and their commanders demand that they return to the war in Ukraine. Some of them, who returned from the war with serious injuries, have undergone lengthy rehabilitation and still receive medical treatment. These soldiers refuse to serve not only due to health problems but also because of the lack of support and coordination.

Mobilized soldier Aleksandr Skvortsov from Tula attempted to be discharged from military service on health grounds. He was given a service fitness category “B” (limited fitness for military service), which, according to the president’s decree, allows for discharge in exceptional cases. However, when he submitted his request to his commander, the commander wrote “After the end of special military operation” in the corner of the document and did not forward it to the higher command. Furthermore, when it became known that Skvortsov intended to take legal action regarding this matter, the commander sent him on a “business trip,” and he is currently awaiting deployment to the combat zone.

Govorit NeMoskva [independent media outlet] draws attention to the fact that, despite Putin's repeated statements, mobilized soldiers are still not being granted the leave to which they are entitled by law. The wives of mobilized soldiers regularly submit appeals, demanding rotations on the front lines. However, according to Sergey Kryvenko, head of the Grazhdanin. Armiya. Pravo [Citizen. Army. Law] human rights society, leaves for servicemen are only granted at the discretion of the commander or are not granted at all.

Russian women demanded to return mobilized men home in comments on the VKontakte social network under the Governor of the Belgorod region's broadcast. The women asked Vyacheslav Gladkov to appeal to Putin in order to define a time limit for the mobilized soldiers’ service. According to them, the mobilized have not been granted leave  for a year and are mentally exhausted.

The 161.RU media outlet interviewed the sister of Mikhail Pichugin, a serviceman who died in a hospital after being beaten by military police. The woman disclosed the details about the incident and the ongoing investigation. Pichugin died on Aug. 8, but his body was handed over to his relatives only on Sept. 9.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

A former Wagner Group mercenary has been sentenced to 11.5 years in a maximum security penal colony on charges of murder and theft. According to the court, after he had returned from the war in April 2023, Sergey Rudenko met with a Rostov-on-Don resident to rent her apartment. When the landlady refused to lower the price, Rudenko stabbed her multiple times and fled. The woman died on the spot. Previously, Rudenko had been sentenced to 10 years in prison for killing his cohabitant in October 2017. He only served a half of the sentence before leaving for the frontline.

The Vot Tak [Like This] media outlet studied 60 court-martial sentences and concluded that in 97% of the cases over the past six months, participation in war helped reduce punishment for such crimes as buying drugs, murder of fellow soldiers and others.

16-year-old teenager Andrey Belousov, arrested in the case of a relay cabinet arson in the Irkutsk region, is in pretrial detention center No. 1 in Irkutsk. This information was first published by the Zona Solidarnosti [Solidarity Zone] Telegram channel. The Baza Telegram channel reported the arrest of Belousov and 15-year-old Matvey on July 22. The police claim that the teenagers set fire to a relay cabinet on the Cheremkhovo-Zabituy railway section on June 29. According to the Tayga Telegram channel, both teenagers confessed to the crime. After this, Matvey was released on his own recognizance, and Andrey was detained. Andrey was charged with sabotage.

The Alatyr district court of Chuvashia [Russia’s constituent republic] will hear a criminal case of relay cabinets arson. Artyom Begoyan, Denis Golubev, Nikita Kitaykin, Artyom Panin and Vadim Filyankin are accused of destruction or damage to someone else's property and an act of terror. The criminal case against 19-year-old Begoyan became publicly known in January 2023. He was sent to a pretrial detention center in December 2022. According to the police, Begoyan and Golubev set fire to relay and battery cabinets on the railway in Chuvashia on Dec. 13.

The leadership of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations has accused its employees of leaking information about drone attacks. Staff members were required to sign a "Commitment to Non-disclosure of Service Information on the Course of Remediation of Incidents Related to Drone Attacks." Moreover, the Ministry of Emergency Situations employees are now obligated to report requests by "third parties" to share such information.

Assistance

Maxim Ivanov, a member of the State Duma from the United Russia party (Putin’s ruling party), representing the Sverdlovsk region, spoke about complaints regarding unpaid wages and the lack of compensation for injuries to soldiers. According to Ivanov, he secured injury payments for 60 soldiers over the year, amounting to more than 180 million rubles [$1,872,000]. Nearly 1,500 people approached him with wage arrears ranging from 10,000 [$100] to 1.5 million rubles [$15,600], totaling almost 130 million rubles [$1,352,000].

In Ulan-Ude, a charitable campaign titled "The Contribution of Far Eastern Artists to Victory" is underway. Artists have put their works up for sale, aiming to direct the proceeds to the servicemen of the 36th Army. The first buyer was the wife of the Head of Buryatia [Russia’s constituent republic], Alexey Tsydenov.

In Rostov-on-Don cemeteries, "Heroes' Alleys" will be arranged. Approximately 2.4 million rubles [$25,000] will be spent on the uniform styling of headstones at the Rostov Cemetery, and 3.1 million rubles [$32,300] at the Northern Cemetery.

Children

At the beginning of the school year, Russian schools and colleges started sending students for military training as part of basic military preparation. The Voyennye Advokaty Telegram channel has prepared a guide explaining what these trainings involve, who qualifies for exemptions, and how to opt out.

Starting from Sept. 1, a general education program developed based on federal state educational standards has been introduced in all educational institutions in Russia. Under this program, both schoolchildren and preschoolers will be educated according to unified standards. The Sirena Telegram channel has received this program for the children of a kindergarten in the Chelyabinsk region, with the tasks including instilling civic consciousness and patriotic sentiments in preschoolers, as well as introducing them to concepts like "strong family, justice, patriotism, unity of the peoples of Russia," and other core values.

A memorial plaque to a former pupil was opened at a school in the city of Novokuznetsk. He signed a military contract and was killed in the war with Ukraine five days after being sent to the frontline.

Longreads

Novaya Gazeta Europe [European edition of the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta] has published research about the work of defense factories in Russia during the war. All defense enterprises switched to an "intensified regime," which included canceling leaves and shifting employees to a six-day workweek with 12 hours per day. Despite these measures, since the onset of the war, the number of criminal cases related to the disruption of the state defense order doubled, and in the incomplete 2023, there have already been as many cases as in the entire year of 2021. One of the main reasons for the disruption in arms deliveries is the shortage of components due to sanctions.

The Rotonda Telegram channel has published the story of Nadezhda Rudakova, the mother of a military serviceman from the Leningrad Regiment, detailing her experience spending a month at the bedside of her seriously wounded son. She now fears that he will have to return to the frontline.