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The Russian independent media writes about Russians fleeing mobilization and how Putin is accusing others of doing exactly what he is doing himself

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the session 'The World after Hegemony: Justice and Security for Everyone' of the Valdai International Discussion Club outside Moscow, Russia, 27 October 2022.
©EPA-EFE/MEKHAIL METZEL / SPUTNIK / KREMLIN POOL  |   Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the session 'The World after Hegemony: Justice and Security for Everyone' of the Valdai International Discussion Club outside Moscow, Russia, 27 October 2022.

The Russian independent media writes that a third of Russian workers have left the country after the mobilization decree was passed. Journalists also note that fake news targeting the West stemming from Putin’s speech at the Valdai club could be true only if they pointed to Putin’s own actions.

MEDIAZONA: “Married and drafted”. Almost half a million Russian men were mobilized in a month based on a spike in marriages

After mobilization started in Russia on September 21, newly enlisted soldiers were allowed to register marriages “on the spot” instead of applying one month in advance. Many couples seized this opportunity. Mediazona used this wedding spree to calculate the total number of people who were mobilized throughout the country. By comparing data from regional civil registration offices to data from the Federal State Statistics Service and the most recent census, we came up with a minimum of 492,000 men drafted by mid-October.

[…] The wife will be financially compensated in case her mobilized husband dies or is wounded, while many regions have announce additional measures to support families with male members sent to the frontline. The status of close relative also allows visitation in hospital of any wounded soldiers.

The republic of Buryatia bordering Mongolia in eastern Russia presents the clearest example of a marriage spike. It is the only region where the civil registration office makes data public on a daily basis. Between September 1 and September 21, the average number of weddings per week was 83, and after the mobilization was announced—662.

Mediazona acquired daily data on September weddings from 16 more Russian regions, and the “mobilization spike” could be observed in every single one of them.

[…]

The percentage varies significantly from region to region. According to the “excess marriage” data, the highest mobilization rate was in eastern Russia: Amur region, Zabaykalsky, Jewish autonomous region, Khabarovsky, and the republic of Buryatia.

The 38th motorized infantry brigade was deployed to the region of Amur. It has been taking part in the Russian invasion from the first days of the war, having sustained heavy losses. The brigade is reinforced with recruits mobilized from local villages.

In Zabaykalsky, military enlistment offices have mobilized a large number of people, including those who didn’t fit the age profile or people with drinking problems. Subsequently, the authorities said they had sent the latter back home.

The military commissioner of the Jewish autonomous region had appeared on federal TV channels, stating that military authorities will draft anyone who doesn’t have military training, men of all ages, because “all people are equal”. Shortly afterwards, the region was among the first to report the completion of the mobilization plan.

In Khabarovsky, due to “errors recorded in the mobilization process”, the region’s military commissioner was dismissed, only to be reinstated three days later.

In Buryatia, according to human rights activists, after the mobilization was announced in towns and villages, the “last judgement” started: men were mass-mobilized, without virtually taking age into account.

In absolute values, the highest number of people were mobilized in the Moscow region, Krasnodarsky, and the republic of Bashkortostan. These are among the most densely populated regions in Russia, so the draft rates don’t seem unusual.

In Moscow, according to our calculations, around 8,900 people were mobilized. This is consistent with the numbers the capital’s mayor, Sergey Sobyanin, used in his report about support for the drafted men’s families. Although the draft campaign in Moscow produced particularly harsh and scandalous imagery, with people being ambushed on the subway and caught with the help of surveillance cameras, it has the lowest mobilization rate in the country. The official population of the city is 12,600,000, but the real number is believed to be much higher.

[…]

MEDIAZONA: “Hunt them down like rabbits”. The police hand over mobilization orders outside factories and stores, while residents complain about raids.

Inhabitants of Ivanovo write on social media that soon their city will be called “city of brides”: for a few days, police units are handing out large numbers of mobilization orders to reservists. Inhabitants of military age are stopped in the streets, in state institutions, shopping centers and even when exiting stores. “High alert”, this is how the police has termed the operation of distributing orders on a large scale, which was probably launched in several regions at once.

In stores in Ivanovo, the police have indeed been handing out orders starting October 25. According to the local station TV Bars, men are stopped by small groups of police officers and people in plainclothes. People write on local social media groups that police units are patrolling the city to hand out orders to people walking in parks.

[…]

“People were going home from work, for instance workers from the UEC-GT plant, they were not trying to dodge drafting”, Svetlana Sokolova, a deputy of the Rybinsk municipal council claims in a report. “They have families, they have nowhere to run, there’s no need to hunt them down like rabbits when they walk through the doors of the factory, for everyone to see… It affects the reputation of the collective of a large factory such as the one in Rybinsk”.

According to the TV station, on the evening of October 26, representatives of the local police and military enlistment offices blocked the exits of the factory, handing out mobilization orders to every worker heading out.

[…]

According to local authorities, since the factory management refused to distribute the orders to the workers, the drafting age was “corrected”, and now they are calling young men under 45 years of age. Previously young people up to 35 were called up.

“When some enterprises say: ‘We won’t give them up, and that’s that’, then we find ourselves in a position to also mobilize men under 45 years of age”, Dmitry Rudakov, the head of the Rybinsk administration, says.

Workers with the EcoCity waste sorting compound in Orel also got their summons at the end of October, Istoki TV reports. Among them, 28 citizens from Uzbekistan who worked at the factory, according to OrelTimes.

[…]

VERSTKA.MEDIA: Up to a third of federal and Moscow workers have fled the mobilization en masse

Following the announcement of the partial mobilization in Russia on September 21, hundreds of thousands of Russians have left the country. According to Verstka, most of those who left worked for federal and local institutions. Sources within the Russian Government and the Moscow Municipality claim the number of those who have left is quite high.

“They run like hell”

In early October, Alexey Martynov, the head of a Moscow government department was killed. The official had been mobilized on September 23, and shortly afterwards he ended up on the front. The death of a colleague, who until recently went to work like everyone else, produced great commotion amidst city hall workers and management in general.

According to a source close to the Moscow City Hall, “an obvious staff shortage” can be perceived. Employees who leave the country go on holiday, never to return. The information has been confirmed from another source: in certain departments, the number of male workers who’ve left Russia reaches 20-30%. This “mass exodus” has affected especially the biggest departments of the Moscow municipality: housing and community services, healthcare, education and others.

[…]

Most workers head out to ex-CIS states – Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan. Kyrgyzstan is particularly popular due to its low prices, while the country is friendlier overall, Russians who got there say.

“Lower-rank” employees in the Moscow City Hall were not provided with the promised exemption on time, which is why they “head out in the world”, without resigning and notifying management, our source has told Verstka. The situation is worse in affiliated institutions, particularly in state-owned enterprises, where workers were not entitled to a mobilization exemption. “They run like hell. They just vanish into thin air. They leave all their belongings and dirty mugs on the desk and just leave”, Verstka’s source also says.

[…]

Nevertheless, some workers have been mobilized. As a result, some institutions in the capital-city now lack managers: deputy directors, heads of departments and directorates, who were all drafted into the army.  In two other cases, our source says management staff from city hall branches were mobilized, which caused the rest of the employees to panic, which is why they “all started running”. Some organizations lost nearly half of their workers. This also affects the quality of management activities: some directorates simply lack the people to do the job, Verstka’s source also told us.

[…]

Verstka is familiar with several other workers who left Russia: one employee of the Education Ministry, several people from the Ministry for Digital Development, as well as National Bank workers. A lot of people working for institutions subordinated to federal ministries also left the country. “There are some departments where the number of men is higher, so they all left together. They understood they can come for them at any time, and if they left together, they might be able to coordinate their efforts”, a representative of an institution subordinated to the Transport Ministry says.

Another three workers from federal government organizations have told Verstka how they left Russia in a hurry for fear they might be mobilized. Most of them didn’t notify their superiors, others hope their absence would pass unnoticed. “Our managers do not allow people to work from home, lest they should leave the country. They all see what’s happening, who and why is taking leave of absence”, says one of the workers of federal government who has left the country. “I left in secret and I’m not going back until the manager notices I’m gone”.

[…]

On September 24, Bishkek hosted a friendly match pitting Russia against Kyrgyzstan. The official delegation that travelled to Kyrgyzstan included employees of the executive committee of the Football Union of Russia. At least ten representatives of FUR took advantage of the match played away from home and decided not to return to Moscow. The Football Union of Russia is one of the many organizations based in Moscow where employees got their mobilization summons. 

[…]

ISTORIES: Putin aimed at the West, but hit Russia

Most claims made by the Russian president are false, but the situation changes if we were to imagine he was actually talking about his country, Istories writes.

On October 27, Vladimir Putin again criticized the West, his raving covering most of the speech he delivered at the Valdai club. Many of the president’s accusations targeting the West might seem weird and ungrounded, but everything changes if we imagine he was actually talking about Russia. Here are a few examples.

“We are under constantly growing pressure /…/  and hotbeds of tension /…/ at our borders. What’s the purpose of this pressure? What? Just for the sake of exercises, just like that? Of course not.”  

At the end of 2021, the Russian army started to amass troops at the Ukrainian border (including on the territory of Belarus) and to carry out large-scale military exercises. Russian authorities constantly claimed there were no plans to attack Ukraine. For instance, on February 8, Putin said: “The movement of our troops on a territory that, let me be clear about it, is ours, is described as a threat of a Russian invasion in Ukraine. The Baltic States say they feel threatened, just like other states, our neighbors. We don’t see why that should be the case”.

On February 15, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that subdivisions of the South and West military districts have returned to their units. On February 21, Putin signed the decree recognizing the independence of the self-proclaimed DNR and LNR. On February 24, Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine.

“Confidence in one’s own infallibility is very dangerous: it’s just a step away from thinking you are “infallible” and wanting to destroy anyone you dislike”.

When the Russian army withdrew from several regions of Ukraine, it left behind a lot of evidence attesting to the crimes of its troops – killings, tortures and rapes. […]

Starting October 10, Russia has been bombing Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. If Russia succeeds in neutralizing it, Ukraine will be left in the dark. Millions of residents will be left without heat and light.

As regards “infallibility”, Putin said he does not regret the decision to start the war. On October 14, Putin said: “Let me be clear: what is happening right now is unpleasant, to say the least, but the same thing would have happened later, under less favorable circumstances on our end, that’s all. Therefore, my actions are correct and timely”. On October 27, the president denied having underestimated his enemy, a feeling permeating the entire Russian society.

“We are now in an utterly absurd situation, when any conflicting opinion is termed subversive propaganda”

Since the start of the war, military censorship has been introduced in Russia. Citizens are punished for spreading “fake news” about the actions of Russian troops and for discrediting the army. Here are three examples:

Moscow municipal deputy Alexey Gorinov was sentenced to seven years in prison for “spreading fake news about the Russian army”. He was punished for the statements he made during a meeting addressing a children’s drawing contest. Here is Gorinov’s statement: “How can we talk about contests on Children’s Day, about dance programmes on Victory Day, when every day children are dying? /…/ I believe evert effort of civil society should be directed towards stopping the war and withdrawing Russian troops from the territory of Ukraine”.

In Pskov, the daughter of a Russian soldier fighting in Ukraine was handed a 35-thousand-ruble fine for discrediting the armed forces. She told AFP: “I feel deeply responsible towards all Ukrainians. I am very sorry they have to go through this war, through these war crimes, to see their homes destroyed”. In March, the young woman and her daughter were fined for displaying a banner reading “PEACE FOR UKRAINE, FREEDOM FOR RUSSIA!”

In Moscow, a school principal filed a police report against a 5th grader who had posted the picture of a blue-and-yellow flower as her profile photo in the class chat app. Her mother was summoned to school, the police came and took them both to the station, where they were interrogated for three hours. Later, a police squad came down to their house, searched their computer and phones and “rummaged through their bedsheets”.

[…]

Tags: War in Ukraine , Press review , Independent Russian media
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