mobilization briefs
September 15, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Sept. 13-14, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

The State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] will be considering a bill to prohibit selling arms to new citizens within five years of their naturalization. Its authors argue that the bill would address the "challenges and threats to the security of the state" arising from the conduct of the "special military operation." According to them, the 5-year period is needed to "effectively assess the integrity of the legal relationship between the person, who was granted citizenship," and the Russian Federation.

Another bill, introduced into the State Duma, would make it illegal for employers to terminate the employment of widows of war participants within a year of their husband’s death. This restriction would cease to apply, however, if they remarry.

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the expulsion of American diplomats Jeffrey Sillin and David Bernstein. The authorities claim that Sillin and Bernstein were "involved in illegal activities" and were in touch with Robert Shonov, formerly employed by the United States Consulate General in Vladivostok, whom the Federal Security Service (FSB) accused of collecting information on the war and mobilization. We covered this story in one of our recent summaries.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

The international Russian-language online media outlet Meduza reports that the Presidential Administration issued a strong request to the media to refrain from covering fake stories about a new wave of mobilization. Citing two sources working for media outlets loyal to the Russian government, Meduza writes that even official denials should not be reported on, since such comments tend to attract a lot of attention, leading many to learn of the mobilization rumors from them. In particular, the ban covers statements made by Andrey Kartapolov, Chairman of the Defense Committee of the State Duma. The Kremlin urges the media to focus on the purported success of the recruitment campaign for contract service instead of reporting on allegations of further mobilization.

Members of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] have stated that there will be no new wave of mobilization in Russia this autumn. According to Yury Shvytkin, Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Defense Committee, the orders circulated on the internet are of a "fake nature."

According to the statement by Oleg Nikolaev, Head of Chuvashia [Russia’s constituent republic], 20 or more men sign contracts with the Ministry of Defense in the republic every day. Additionally, Denis Pasler, Governor of the Orenburg region, reported that Liliya Ismakova, former head of the Mustaevsky rural council, signed a contract with the Ministry of Defense and left for the war in Ukraine. Pasler also promoted contract-based military service for women and mentioned the ongoing recruitment for elite units in the Airborne Forces.

Authorities in Buryatia [Russia's constituent republic] and the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region–Yugra [Russia's federal subject] are actively seeking "specialists in mobilization work." For instance, the administration of the Railway district in Ulan-Ude is searching for a "chief specialist in mobilization work" on a recruitment website, while the administration of Pyt-Yakh is looking for an employee who will manage military records and prepare men in reserve for transitioning "from peacetime to wartime during mobilization." Similar job openings have been posted by the Rosneft branch in the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region, Ufavodokanal in Bashkortostan [Russia's constituent republic], and the Saratov Electrical Components Production Association. According to the Sota media outlet, companies in Moscow have posted at least 56 job advertisements for mobilization work specialists on websites like hh.ru and Avito. We have previously reported on the emergence of such vacancies in our recent summaries.

Governor of the Belgorod region Vyacheslav Gladkov announced that territorial defense forces will receive identical compensation from the regional budget as contract soldiers in the event of injuries or death. The authorities also stated that they are working on providing volunteer fighters with weapons.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Aleksandr Laskov from the city of Volgograd, Denis Kotelnikov from the Tver region, Anatoly Matveev from Russia's constituent Republic of Mari El, Pavel Krupnin from the Kaluga region, Vladislav Odinokov from the Novosibirsk region, Maksim Travitskov and Viktor Ivanov from the Novgorod region, Oleg Baranov from the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region and Anton Sablin from the Krasnoyarsk region.

Mobilized soldiers of the 1008th Regiment stationed in the Bakhmut direction have appealed to President Vladimir Putin along with their relatives, requesting to change the command. According to the relatives, the command sends the mobilized "on assaults with only assault rifles" and without "support and supplies." Mobilized men have also complained about the lack of salaries and bonuses for their service on the forward positions. A mother of a mobilized soldier stated that "the remnants of the regiment" have to "hide in basements" and "buy food with their own money."

Women from the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region demanded the Ministry of Defense to inform them about the fate of their relatives who had gone missing in the war. They are searching for six men who were initially assigned to the 504th Regiment, but then redistributed to different units by the "DPR" command. In response to their appeals, women have received only dismissive replies. Now they plan to record a video address to Putin.

Similar to the situation in the Belgorod region, comments from local residents demanding the return of mobilized soldiers home have also appeared under the post announcing a live broadcast by Governor of the Saratov region Roman Busargin. Meanwhile, in the Yaroslavl region, over 100 women have started collecting signatures for an appeal to Governor Mikhail Evraev, demanding him to request Putin and the Ministry of Defense to specify the service period for draftees.

Sulaiman Bulachov, a resident of Russia’s constituent republic of Dagestan, has been seeking social benefits since April 2022 for injuries he sustained during the war with Ukraine. According to him, the draft offices in Khasavyurt and the Khasavyurtovsky and Novolaksky districts of the republic are not providing the necessary documents and the district court has refused to consider his lawsuit.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

In the Leningrad region, a mother of three took her own life because her husband decided to volunteer for the "special military operation."

In Volgograd, a serviceman was arrested for the murder of an unemployed drinking companion, whose body was found near the local bus station the day before. The detainee had previously served in the Airborne Forces, then served time for murder, and after the start of combat activities, found himself back in the army. During a drinking session, an argument broke out between the serviceman and the unemployed individual, and the detainee struck the acquaintance several times on the head with a wooden plank.

The Yekaterinburg Garrison Military Court has sentenced a mobilized resident of Nevyansk to five years in prison for going AWOL. In December 2022, due to health issues, the man was sent home for medical treatment. He received treatment at a private clinic, repeatedly visited the military unit, and provided medical documents. However, the court deemed this as draft dodging.

The Volgograd Garrison Military Court has sentenced volunteer fighter Aleksey Rakovich to five years and three months of imprisonment for going AWOL. Rakovich had participated in the war on a short-term contract, after which he was released home. Later, he learned that he was wanted by the authorities. The man voluntarily presented himself to the military unit, where he was detained until the trial.

The VChK-OGPU Telegram channel reports on two sentences imposed on contract soldiers who refused to participate in the war with Ukraine. One of them stated that he was not psychologically prepared to return to the war due to concerns for his life. He received two and a half years in a penal settlement. The second soldier indicated that his right hand was non-functional, and he "could not properly perform his duties and orders." He was sentenced to two years and eight months in a penal settlement.

In Pskov, 10 servicemen attempted to illegally obtain veteran status without participating in combat activities in Ukraine. They bribed their commander with a picnic set. The servicemen were exposed after one of them confessed. Cases against those who cooperated with the investigation were dropped, while the rest were fined.

A district court in Vladivostok has sent a teenager to a pre-trial detention center on suspicion of "attempting to set fire to the draft office." According to the investigation, the teenager displayed a "negative attitude towards the special military operation" and "hostility towards the current authorities of the Russian Federation," allegedly undergoing training and acquiring the "knowledge and skills" to set fire to the draft office. The teenager was arrested until Nov. 9 on a charge related to terrorist training, which carries a potential life sentence.

In the Zabaykalsky region, teenagers set fire to a draft office. Parents were informed about it by the Regional Office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs during a parent consultation day. According to the Regional Office, the children were influenced by third parties, and they filmed their actions on camera.

Crimea is among the top three regions with the highest number of cases related to discrediting of the Armed Forces. During 2022 and 2023, at least 22 cases were filed on the occupied peninsula based on reports from colleagues, friends, and neighbors. The conflict has divided Crimea's residents into those expecting the arrival of the AFU and those supporting Russia. The latter group reports to the police or files complaints. In total, at least 377 individuals were fined for "defamation of the Russian Army" in Crimea.

Assistance

27-year-old orphan Evgeny Shishlin from Volgograd lost an eye, a leg and sustained a serious injury to his other leg during the war. Upon returning home, he finally acquired his own living space, a benefit that authorities were supposed to provide him with at the age of 18. However, instead of government assistance, Shishlin's housing was granted by local pro-war activists.

Children

In Yaroslavl, parents of schoolchildren are being pressured into purchasing new atlases in which occupied territories of Ukraine are now included as part of Russia. This transition to the updated curriculum has caused a shortage of such materials in stores, with the new atlases priced at 4,000 rubles.

In the villages of the Tyumen region, students aged 12 to 18 are being introduced to potential career paths in the military through vocational guidance programs. They are taught essential skills such as marksmanship and drone operation while also being educated about the benefits of military service and in-demand specialties.

The Russian Orthodox Church will purchase notebooks featuring images of war participants to students in Sunday schools and seminaries. One such image depicts Vladimir Zhoga, commander of the separatist Sparta Battalion from the "DPR" killed in Volnovakha, Ukraine, in March 2022.

At the Department of Psychology of Moscow State University, leaflets were posted stating that the Golos Slavyan [Voice of the Slavs] project needs "volunteers with knowledge of military psychology" to encourage AFU soldiers to surrender.

Miscellaneous

In the Zabaykalsky region, a contractor company, supposed to carry out road repair work worth more than 10 million rubles [$105,000], did not start work, explaining that the directors and employees were mobilized in June. However, later the Federal Antimonopoly Service found out that the documents confirming this statement were false, and the company was included in the register of unscrupulous suppliers.

In the village of Muzhi in the Yamalo-Nenets autonomous region [Russia's federal subject], the district administration planned to erect a monument to those killed during the "special military operation" worth 5.7 million rubles [$ 59,000]. The money will be allocated from the budget. Two out of the 3,700 local residents were killed in the war.

Research and production centers for the development of drones will be opened in three regions of Russia: in Saint Petersburg and in the Tomsk and Samara regions. A total of 48 centers are supposed to appear by 2030.

Head of the Primorsky region Oleg Kozhemyako announced the establishment of the "For Assistance in the Special Military Operation" Award. Local residents will be awarded a medal for assisting Russian servicemen and will receive 30,000 rubles [$312].