Draft beer not Buryats


Antonina Asanova Andrey Kaganskikh Daria Talanova

September 25, 2022

Russia's mobilisation was declared “partial”, but this is only relevant for Moscow and Saint P as each one in thirty men of conscription age may be drafted

The secret article 7 in Putin's mobilisation decree allows Russia's Defence Ministry to draft up to a million people, as Novaya Gazeta. Europe reported earlier. In some regions it still may be referred to as “partial”, although it would be stretching a point to say so. Other regions, however, draft men regardless of their age, health condition, or combat experience. According to our estimates, the difference in proportion varies between 0.3% to 3% of all male population of conscription age in each region.

Russia's mobilisation reserve has almost 25 million individuals. “We are planning to draft 1%, maybe 1.1% of the entire mobilisation reserve,” Russia's Defence Minister Shoigu said on 21 September.

Various pro-Putin media have already launched a rhetoric that says that 1% is a pitifully small proportion and that only “experienced combatants” would be drafted. No panic, they say.

It turns out, however, that it's either Sergey Shoigu pitched his estimate too low, or the burden of mobilisation is not at all equal in different parts of the country.

The mobilisation decree allows the Kremlin to send up to a million people to the frontline, and there are no limits to this, neither time-wise nor milestone-wise. As per our sources, Russia's governors have already received the mobilisation quotas which dictate that they are expected to draft 3% of their regions' male population aged between 18 and 50. Our sources say that a total of 7,000 men are expected to be drafted in the region of Ryazan, while the Kaliningrad region, for instance, is required to send 6,000 men to the army (it is a safe bet that there will be several stages in this mobilisation, and the figures above are most likely listed for several stages). However, the two regions combined have a total of 230,000 men of conscription age.

The regional authorities do not (and, most likely, will not) publicly announce the quotas, but it's obvious from the figures that we have that the mobilisation process is largely disproportional: some regions have plans to draft 0.3% of the potential conscripts, while others have a 10 times higher quota.

We have collected all reports regarding conscription quotas in various regions of Russia and calculated what proportion of men aged 18 to 50 is about to be drafted (50 years is the maximum age for a private): a total of 18 regions were covered using all available official and unofficial data. These regions are about to draft almost 86,000 men.

The biggest proportion of conscripts was recorded in the annexed city of Sevastopol. A total of 4% of its reservists may be drafted, as per Mikhail Razvozhaev, the local governor. This means that over 3% of the city’s male population aged between 18 and 50 will be conscripted.

There is no data for the rest of Crimea as of now, however, Krym.Realii reports that draft cards are being handed out to men in the streets and at workplaces; some men are even being forced into buses and taken away.

“Anyone is wanted. Doctors, too. That's it, we need all kinds of specialists,” says Alexander Chepurenko, Simferopol's chief enlistment officer.

Up to 2% of male population may be drafted in Yakutia; local bloggers reported a quota of 4750 men during the first day of the mobilisation. The local authorities deny this but do not declare any smaller quota either.

1,6-1,8% of all males between 18 and 50 years of age are the quotas in the regions of Vladivostok and Arkhangelsk, as well as Kalmykia.

These figures are way higher than those for Moscow and Saint Petersburg, Russia's most populated cities.

Meduza says that Moscow's quota is 16,000 men, and Saint Petersburg's one stands at 3,200 men which is as much as 0.3-0.6% of the potential male conscripts.

Similar figures (0.3%-0.7%) are reported in the regions of Novosibirsk and Murmansk, as well as in Yamalia.

Countryside mobilisation

The mobilisation quotas look even more disproportional if we take a closer look at villages or small towns across the country. Sardana Avksentyeva, an MP from Yakutia, pointed it out recently.

“According to my information, dozens of men are being drafted from several villages, including those settlements that suffered natural disasters lately. Here's one of the comments I read on the Internet: “why do they draft literally all men from northern districts? They picked 47 men from a village of 300, some villages lost 60 men, literally all male villagers receive draft cards. There is a great risk of flooding in those areas now. Moreover, it might be minus 55 °C there during the wintertime. Women are not going to make it on their own out there,” Avksentyeva wrote.

Men in Buryatia had started receiving their draft cards even before Vladimir Putin officially announced mobilisation. A total of 130 men were drafted in the Tunkinsky District where the total population stands at 20,000. If the rates will remain this way, 6 to 7 thousand men will be drafted in all of Buryatia, Lyudi Baikala media outlet says, which makes it 3% of Buryatia's male population aged 18 to 50. The Free Buryatia foundation provides the same estimate.

Not only men with military experience, but literally all men receive draft cards. Students of the Buryat State University were conscripted in Ulan-Ude, the region's capital, when National Guard soldiers and Military Police Corps drafted them inside their classrooms, as per The Village. The next day police raided the local shopping mall. All exits were blocked, and shoppers were required to provide proofs of identity; several men were drafted.

Buryat men abandon their jobs and flee to Mongolia in large crowds, leaving their families in Russia. Various videos are being shared on social media where men are advised to stay inside their homes, keep their doors locked, or even hide in the taiga.

“This isn't a partial mobilisation. In some families all brothers have been drafted. They issue draft cards to anyone, including people who never served their mandatory term. They draft men with their fingers missing, and they draft elders. They even tried drafting a man who has been missing for two years, and a man who is literally dead,” says Viktoria Maladyeva of Free Buryatia. Maladayeva posts evidence of the ongoing mobilisation on her Instagram.

Not only ethnic republics like Buryatia received such enormous quotas from the Defence Ministry. There are 20 thousand residents in the Kineshemsky district of the Russian-populated Ivanovo region, and 1.5% of the total population (not just male, the total population) will be drafted. 0.7% of the entire population is subject to mobilisation in some districts of the Sakhalin and Yaroslavl regions, both also populated mainly by ethnic Russians. These figures are by times higher than those in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

The general strategy is to draft as few people as possible in provincial capitals and to look for soldiers “in the countryside where there are fewer media and political activists, and where the general support for the Ukraine War is higher,” Meduza reported earlier, citing its sources.

“What is going on now in Buryatia will soon be happening in all of Russia. They will knock on people's doors at night, and they will draft people from their workplaces or even bus stops,” Viktoria Maladayeva says.