The Insider has in its possession an archive of complaints addressed to the Russian military prosecutor's office, which reflects the true state of affairs during the war in Ukraine. Conscripts have been deceived or coerced into the war zone, soldiers have not been provided with normal food or medical care, contract servicemen have been deliberately violating every military regulation in order to be dismissed from service, and parents cannot obtain any information on whether their children have been taken prisoner or killed in action. From the Russian citizens' complaints one can also learn about the looting and atrocities perpetrated by Russian soldiers.
“In eight years, my parents have never seen such atrocity”
“The parents aren't looking for their son, they're happy with monetary compensation”
Tricked into signing a contract
By force and under threats
Compelled to go to war
Sabotage is not a ground for dismissal
Painkillers as treatment
Abandoning our own
“At least bring back the remains”
“In eight years, my parents have never seen such atrocity”
Most of the complaints addressed to the Russian Military Prosecutor come from relatives of soldiers or from soldiers themselves, but since the start of the war, a wave of complaints has also arrived from those Russians whose relatives have suffered from violence and looting in the occupied territories. Here are some examples:
“Hello, I would like to address you once again with a request to resolve the situation of atrocities and looting by the Russian military. My parents live in the DNR, Donetsk region, in the village of Lyubovka, at 1 Sovetskaya street, for 8 years we have been in the territory controlled by the DNR, we are citizens of the Russian Federation, my grandparents are Russian, former citizens of the USSR. But the atrocities by the Russian military that my relatives experienced must be concealed. Shortly before April 9 Russian formations came to our village and were stationed not far from our house. When on April 8 GRADs started shelling their positions, my parents got down on the floor, and after waiting the shelling out, went to a hamlet nearby to wait out the alarming situation. The next day, when my mother returned home in the morning, she saw atrocities in our garage ... a large tank knocked out our gate, demolished a huge slab that served as our fence, demolished a huge hangar gate in the garage, which later fell on the cars that were in the garage, <...> they stole spare parts and tools worth 200,000 rubles, they even stole small change from our car, and a condom from my brother's car, tell me, are they even human? When my mother went there and asked why they did it, since they had knocked down the gates and driven a tank into the garage, without even going in all the way, the military officer rudely sent her away and told her to go back where she came from... They are hiding behind our backs, have they come to defend us or to rob and kill us? I repeat, my parents have been living in the DNR for 8 years and have never seen such atrocities... are these the defenders?
“Good day! A resident of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District in the city of Labytnangi, Puntus Yulia Viktorovna, is writing to you about the looting in the village of Baranikivka, Kreminna district, Luhansk region. My late mother's house was looted, as were many houses in the village. A gang of looters, who introduced themselves as officers and soldiers of the LNR, entered our village after March 8 and shamelessly robbed the school, kindergarten, pharmacy, three stores, farmers, and broke into two apartments at 11 Novoselov Street (my apartment) and 14 Novoselov Street (the apartment of Skrypnik Gennady Eduardovich). The gang consisted of about 20 people. They lived in my home for two weeks and then they stole all the property, even toys and old clothes. During that time they were looting the entire neighborhood. Fifteen cars of loot were driven to an unknown destination. The gang was armed with machine guns and traveled in a “Ural” military truck with the letter V and the word “FOKS” painted on the side. It was obvious that they were professional looters, because they grabbed everything they saw. In the villages, they were breaking into houses, cellars and stealing everything from there: potatoes, carrots, TV sets. They grabbed everything they saw and took it away. More than 30 cars were stolen from practically all the farmers in the district. They stole grain, gasoline, diesel fuel. The sowing campaign was ruined. Those beasts did not care about the Russian Federation supporting them, nor did they care about leaving the residents without a school, a pharmacy and stores. This mayhem continued until the end of March. At that time all communication lines were down. The looters knew about it and spared no one, threatening neighbors who tried to talk sense into them. Local residents believe that bandits have come to power in the LNR”.
They stole all the property, even toys and old clothes
“The parents aren't looking for their son, they're happy with monetary compensation”
Many appeals to the prosecutor's office are related to relatives searching for soldiers who disappeared in the course of military actions in Ukraine. In many cases the military leadership shows cynical indifference towards missing or dead soldiers, but sometimes relatives display just as much cynicism. For example, here is a story about how parents decided not to search for their son, who had probably been taken prisoner, since they had already received funeral money for him:
“Hello. I am Sofia Olegovna Akimova, the girlfriend of Anatoly Nikolaevich Taimanov. Anatoly entered into a military contract in August 2021 (military unit 73612, 31st brigade stationed in Ulyanovsk). On February 14, 2022 he left, supposedly to take part in military exercises. On February 23, 2022 he got in touch with me for the last time and said that they had been ordered to attack. For over a month we called the unit and the Ministry of Defense, and they always answered that Anatoly was alive and well. On April 8, 2022, without any explanation, DNA samples were taken from Anatoly's parents at unit 73612, and on April 13, 2022 during lunchtime we were informed that the funeral would take place on April 15, 2022. We learned from the deputies at Anatoly's place of residence (Melekessky district, Ulyanovsk region) that the military registration and enlistment office had been looking for him back in March. We also learned from his fellow serviceman that they had been looking for Anatoly in Chernobyl. The fellow serviceman said that later the commander told them that they would be burying only his legs. The cause of death was thermal burns of 90% or more of the body caused by flammable substances. The place of death was Gostomel, March 9, 2022. As we know, a DNA test takes at least 10 days or more. That’s the first point. Secondly, we can conclude that there are no witnesses of his death because they had been searching for him for a month and deceiving us about the actual state of affairs. That is, he was not even on the lists of those missing in action. Thirdly, the brigade has not provided any reliable information to the Defense Ministry as they were not even aware on April 14, 2022 that DNA samples had been taken or that the funeral had been scheduled for the next day. Fourth, at the end of March we saw two captured paratroopers on Ukrainian Internet resources. The place was listed as the Kyiv region. I recognized my Anatoly in one of the soldiers and contacted Ombudsman Moskalkova's office. They responded and promised to help us search among the POWs, but asked for a document issued by the morgue as confirmation. Anatoly's parents have such a document, but they don’t want to hand it over so that I could look for their son among POWs or the seriously wounded. They are happy with the monetary compensation. There are no documents confirming the DNA test. We don't know who was buried. They didn't return any personal belongings or explain the circumstances of his death. We only saw the date of death on the cross. On April 8, 2022 the military commissar from Dimitrovgrad came to the funeral of the soldier Alexander Yuryevich Syryamkin (in the settlement of Novoselki) and said that “we will bring another one to the 2nd division a week later”. So, rumors started spreading around that he meant my Tolya. I concluded that the day of Syryamkin's funeral and day they took the DNA sample fell on the same date, April 8, 2022. And that no test was performed, and everything had been decided beforehand. I understand that anything can happen during a war. But at the same time, knowing of the brutal attitude the unit commanders have adopted towards the relatives of the soldiers, I absolutely cannot rule out a possibility that Tolya could have been taken prisoner or is among the seriously wounded. I'm asking for your help and hope to get it.
Tricked into signing a contract
From the hundreds of appeals addressed to the prosecutor it is evident that in spite of Putin's instructions conscripts are being used en masse in the war. For example, conscripts served on the sunken cruiser “Moskva”:
“My son, Akim Aleksandrovich Kozyr, born February 23, 1999, was drafted on October 18, 2021, to serve in military unit 84201, boatswain’s crew. He didn’t sign a contract. He was sent on from military unit 84201 to serve on the cruiser Moskva. At the moment I have no information about my son. Please inform me of my child’s whereabouts.”
“My son, Mark Mikhailovich Tarasov, born on October 24, 1997, was conscripted into military unit No. 84201 (the cruiser Moskva). On the night of April 14 the Russian Defense Ministry reported there was a fire on board the cruiser Moskva which detonated the ammunition, and the crew was fully evacuated. In the evening of the same day it was reported that the cruiser had sunk. To this day, neither I, nor my mother, nor my father, nor anyone else knows if our son is alive.”
Judging by the appeals, there is a huge number of such cases. Often officers, when sending conscripts to war, acted unceremoniously, did not even bother to have the conscript sign a contract and simply fabricated the documents:
“My son Andrey Vitalievich Titov was drafted by the Military Commissariat of the Belgorod region for military service in the Russian Armed Forces on June 25, 2021. He served as a conscript in the 4th Guards Kantemirovskaya Tank Division (military unit 19612), 413th separate Guards Dembitsk battalion (military unit 56132), Company 1, stationed at: Moscow region, Naro-Fominsk-1, *** Peshekhonova Street. He had no intention to sign a contract. After demobilization he planned to work for a business company, and to enroll in a university. At the moment I’ve been informed about the violation of the rights of the conscript serviceman Andrey Vitalievich Titov, which consisted in him being forced, under false pretenses, to write a report: a senior officers assured him that the report was needed for him to take part in field exercises and would be cancelled after the exercises were over; in the forging and falsification of documents, namely, by making an entry on contract service in, and affixing a seal to, his military ID card; in the violation of the established procedure a serviceman has to follow to voluntarily submit a report and sign a contract. After that, without signing the contract he was sent to the Russian-Ukrainian border on February 23, 2022. At the moment I have information that my son, a conscript, is being prepared to be sent to take part in military actions as part of the special military operation on the territory of Ukraine. I HERBY REQUEST that the violation of the relevant laws be investigated”.
“I request that you consider my complaint concerning military serviceman Mikhail Olegovich Smorodin, born on 05.04.2002, who was sent to building 2d, village of Zaimishche, Klintsy, Bryansk region to serve in the military. Then they were sent to the Belgorod region to take part in military exercises. When I called my son, he said he was being transported to take part in exercises, but in fact he was being sent to war. At the moment he is being transported to Ukraine. In Valuiki, when they stood in formation outside the barracks, the soldiers were told they were now contract servicemen since February 23, although my son did not sign any papers. And all the others who serve alongside him are also conscripts. At first, their camp was in the village of Mikhailovka, they lived in tents (no hygiene) and never visited a bathhouse. We have been sending money for bread and food from home. While they were riding a military train, allegedly to take part in the exercises, they were given rations, one to be shared between two persons, there was no water on the train. They had to buy drinking water. We have been transferring money to his card, so he would not be left without anything in a foreign land. I understand this is what army life is like, but should soldiers be treated like dogs? His comrade's jacket got burned at the campfire, and he's been walking around in a burned jacket like a homeless person. How can they treat people like that? Now he is in the village of Startsevo, they live in tents. When I got in touch with him, I asked him how he was and why they were taking conscripts to war, he said no one asked them, they were just told they should go. I respectfully request that you look into my complaint and take measures to return the conscripts to the military unit, because our children are not animals to be treated that way. According to the law, conscripts should not be sent to hot spots. My son has a small child who will be nine months old on March 18. He may never see his father again. When he joined the army, his son was 5 months old. They trick conscripts into signing contracts and send them to Ukraine. In addition, when they were in Mikhailovka, a tractor arrived, cleared a site, but as there were no tents, they slept on the ground on mattresses in winter. They were told they came for a photo shoot. On February 24, 2022 they were supposed to be sent to their units, but now they are taking them to Ukraine, to a hot spot. Where is justice? Please help!”.
I understand this is what army life is like, but should soldiers be treated like dogs?
“I am a sister of conscript Alikhan Novruzov, who is serving in the village of Zaimische, Klintsy, Bryansk region, in military unit 91704. Under false pretenses, he was sent to Ukraine to join the special military operation. I request that you take measures against unscrupulous unit commanders and return him to the territory of the Russian Federation”.
“We, the parents who signed below, would like to inform you that our sons were drafted in autumn 2021 into the armed forces of the Russian Federation, in the city of Klintsy, Bryansk region, after taking the oath they were assigned to unit 91704 in Zaimishche, Klintsy district, Bryansk region. On February 12, 2022 they were sent to take part in field exercises in the Belgorod region, since February 24, 2022 contact with many of them has been lost and currently we don’t know the whereabouts of our sons: Sergei Gotin, Artyom Gotin, Danil Lutsenko, Dmitry Plotnikov, Aleksey Sannikov, Nikita Polionov, Sergey Ivanov, Zykin Kirill Aleksandrovich, Novruzov Alikhan Yakhiavich, Safronov Dmitry Vitalievich, Filippov Vitaly Aleksandrovich , Geliv Denis Vyacheslavovich , Kilin Danil Andreevich, Radionov Vladislav Igorevich, Zaev Yaroslav. On March 7 we called Lozhkina, the unit’s psychologist, and she answered that all our children are in the first battalion, which is contractual, which means that they are all contract servicemen. We would like to draw your attention to the fact that as of February 24, 2022 all our children were contract servicemen and did not express their desire to serve under contract, and as far as we know they haven’t signed contracts or given their consent to participate in hostilities. They have not received professional training during the three months of their service. We, parents, believe that our children have been fraudulently sent to take part in the military operation and now their lives are in danger. In this connection, we ask you to find our missing sons and we ask that they be urgently removed from the border area to a safe place.
Captive conscripts in Ukraine
“I ask you to investigate and prevent lawlessness in the organization of the military service of my grandson, Alexander Vasilyevich Dmitriev, born on July 22, 1999, whom I legally represent. I’ll start from the beginning: in June 2021, Aleksandr Vasilyevich Dmitriev graduated from the Rostov State Conservatory named after Rachmaninov. He wanted to begin his career in the orchestra of the 22nd Brigade of the Airborne Troops in the settlement of Rassvet, Rostov region. He got the consent of the conductor of the orchestra. He prepared the whole package of documents. Did failed to get a single signature from the Oktyabrsky military registration and enlistment office in Rostov-on-Don. The Oktyabrsky military registration and enlistment office decided to draft him into military service, telling him it would be easier to sign a contract as a soldier. He did not refuse. It took him three days to pass a medical examination and collect all the necessary papers, and on November 16, 2021 he was sent to serve in Persianovka, Rostov region. <...> He filed a report for transfer to the orchestra wishing to sign a contract to work in the orchestra. In early February 2022 he was offered to sign a contract, but not the one he was expecting (to join the orchestra), but as a rifleman. They lied to him that after signing the contract he would be transferred to the orchestra in two weeks, but before that he had to take part in “field” exercises. He signed, and three days later he was sent to take part in the “field exercises”. He kept in touch only by texting me, the last time he sent a text was on February 23, 2022 at 14:30. On February 24, 2022 the special operation was launched. All communication ceased. I knew nothing about my grandson's fate. On March 4, 2022, I called the hotline, and got an answer on March 6, 2022 from two phone numbers: “Your grandson is not listed as wounded, he is performing his military duty. We’ve contacted the commander, and your grandson will be in touch with you soon”...”.
He was offered to sign a contract, but not the one he was expecting (to join the orchestra), but as a rifleman
“Good day. My son Alexander Olegovich Sergeev, born on May 28, 2001, was drafted into military service on October 18, 2021 to serve in military unit 31134, the Taman division. At present he is in the combat zone in Ukraine. According to parents who contacted their sons, the command refuses to return the conscripts, forcing them to sign contracts, explaining that “you will not be taken away from here anyway. But you will at least earn money if you sign a contract.” In other words, the soldiers are being misled because they do not have any real information about the RF President's order on the unconditional removal of conscripts from the combat zone. I understand that being in a desperate situation some of them may agree, including my son. Based on the applicable laws a contract concluded under the influence of a material misconception is null and void. Thus, I think that the rights of the military servicemen are being violated by forcing them to sign a contract by deceit. I ask that steps be taken to eliminate those violations”.
“My boyfriend, Nikita Agapov, born on November 23, 2001, is currently serving in military unit 34670 in Valuiki. I have not heard from him since February 23. On the March 10 learned that he was in the Kharkiv region, i.e. in Ukraine, where the special military operation was going on. At the same time, I would like to note that my boyfriend had not intended to sign the contract, as he had other plans for the future. Our President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin recently said that conscripts should not be there. Later it turned out that some conscripts had ended up there through deception. Our President ordered that all conscripts be removed from the war zone. But my boyfriend is still in the Kharkiv region, and he is taking part in the military operation. Please straighten out the situation and return my soldier to the territory of the Russian Federation!”
“My son Robert Khasanovich Subbotin, born on February 19, 1999 was drafted into military service on November 24, 2021 to serve in military unit 34670 in the village of Soloti, Valuiki district, Belgorod region; the last time he contacted me was on February 23, 2022 when he told me that the soldiers who served in their unit were tricked into signing contracts for unknown reasons. They were given the explanation that it was needed for taking part in field exercises. When he got in touch on February 23, 2022, he said he was taking part in the field exercises, and he stopped getting in touch, and we wanted to find out about his whereabouts from the military authorities. They said he was taking part in the field exercises, that he was alive and well. Then my son, Robert Khasanovich Subbotin, called me and said he was in Kharkiv, Ukraine, that they wouldn’t return him to the Russian Federation since he was listed as a contract serviceman. Please send our children home alive, because they did not agree to serve under a contract and were tricked into going to Ukraine; they collected military ID cards from all the soldiers in the unit and registered them as contract servicemen”.
“Good day! My son, Yegor Konstantinovich Sitnik, is a conscript, date of birth October 3, 2000. He was sent to the military operation in Ukraine illegally because he did not sign a contract, did not give his consent neither verbally, nor in writing. Neither was interviewed for that purpose. By fraudulently using his passport data and forging his signature, they illegally concluded a contract on the participation in military actions. My son has confirmed to me he is in Ukraine during a brief phone call. I think it’s an illegal action, I request that you look into it and help to return Yegor Sitnik to his unit in which he served, 752th motorized rifle regiment, military unit 34670, 2nd battalion, 2nd battalion tactical group, 2nd medical platoon”.
By fraudulently using his passport data and forging his signature, they illegally concluded a contract on the participation in military actions
“I am a widow and a mother of many children. My eldest son Bogdan Mikhailovich Glukhov, born on September 23, 2002 was conscripted on December 8, 2021. Now he is serving in military unit 306/6-8,4-UPR in Panino, Vladimir region. He decided to reject the offer of contractual service, of which he informed me and the military command in February 2022. On March 22, 2022, I was witness to his conversation with the commander who forced my son to sign a contract, persuaded him under false pretenses, and promised not to send him to the front. Also, he used rude language in response to my opinion and told Bogdan to ignore his family relations. I consider this attitude as psychological pressure, manipulation and illegal action. By April 8, 2022, he will ship out. They don't give him his phone on weekends, and it is impossible for him to contact his family. I request that you take measures to stop such actions against my son and allow him to continue his military service in the Russian Armed Forces in a normal manner.”
“We are really facing the “lawlessness” on the part of military unit commanders - my friend's grandson came back wounded and told how they were beaten by commanders, who forced them to sign contracts (I will not provide any details at the request of my friend, her daughter and son). Please speed up investigation of the already known facts, to expose those who have been fraudulently sending conscripts to certain death, and make all of them stand trial, regardless of their rank and position, according to the laws of war. Thank you. Respectfully, Olena Nikolayevna Gavrilyuk”.
My friend's grandson told how they were beaten by commanders who forced them to sign contracts
“I, Tatiana Gennadyevna Moiseyeva, would like to report about a violation in respect of my son, Elmir Eldanizovich Aliev (date of birth: May 23, 1999), who is currently a conscript. He joined military unit 71717, 1st tank battalion, 2nd training tank company, 1st training tank platoon, in Sertolovo-1, Leningrad region, on December 14, 2021. My son was repeatedly offered to sign a contract, but he refused. Despite that, without any warning or explanation he was urgently transferred from the Gromov airfield to the Migalovo airfield in Tver. My son was told that he and other conscripts were specially selected to participate in the special military operation. They were subjected to emotional pressure, urged to defend the homeland and help the soldiers in hot spots. When they argued that under the presidential decree conscripts cannot participate in special military operations they were told: “Watch more TV.” Then they were told they would be sent anyway, even if they did not sign the contract. On April 2, he arrived at military unit 32010 located at *** Peshekhonova Street in Naro-Fominsk-1. Later it turned out that he had been sent as a volunteer. On Monday, April 4, he was supposed to be sent to Belgorod to take part in the special military operation. A report had already been drawn up without my son's knowledge. When he arrived in Naro-Fominsk-1, he was given the documents for signing a contract. My son was drafted into military service and did not want to take part in military operations. However, they wanted to take him fraudulently to Belgorod and make him participate in the special operation. Four other men from his company ended up in the same situation. They did not sign contracts and were not ready to volunteer. In view of the above, please conduct a prosecutorial investigation and protect my son's rights.”
When they argued that under the presidential decree conscripts cannot participate in special military operations they were told: “Watch more TV”
By force and under threats
Those conscripts who were not tricked into signing the contact were coerced into doing it by force and threats:
“My son, Daniil Igorevich Chasov, who is serving in the 254th motorized rifle regiment, military unit 91704, is being forced to sign a contract. Help me, please.
“My son, a conscript, was first sent to Ukraine and then removed from there. Upon arrival, the conscripts were told to say that they had signed the contract themselves before leaving for the “special operation”. I contacted the hotline of the Defense Ministry for explanations. A few hours later my son said they were summoned to the headquarters and threatened they would be sent back to the combat zone”.
“My son served in the Belgorod region; he hasn't been in touch since February 20. I have learned that the commander won’t let the conscripts go, threatening to charge them with desertion. Everyone in the military unit knows about it, they forced our children to sign the contracts, the signatures of those who refused were forged”.
“In February, my son, a conscript, reported he was forced to “voluntarily” sign a report to participate in the field exercises in Kursk. He didn't sign any contract, but apparently that report was passed off as one”.
Even less ceremony was used with residents of the so-called DNR and LNR:
“I am a mother of a DNR citizen who also has Russian citizenship. Previously, he did not serve in the army and there has no military training at all. At the end of February, he was mobilized to take part in the “special operation'“ During that period, they were without basic supplies, sleeping in the woods without tents. There was not enough food for everyone and very little water, they collected snow in the forest and melted it. They are supposed to be sent to the front with a single assault rifle magazine”.
Compelled to go to war
Not all contract servicemen wanted to participate in the “special operation”, they also had to be sent to the front by deception or coercion:
“Good day! As a matter of urgency, I request that my report on my discharge from the ranks of the Russian Armed Forces be considered. On January 15, 2022 I shipped out to take part in the exercises in Syria. But instead, unbeknownst to us, we were fraudulently sent to Ukraine to participate in the special military operation. From the very first days my brigade was on the front line, in firing positions. I lost all my comrades-in-arms in battles. I am in a depressed psychological state. I am 21 years old and I want to live. My commander refuses to accept my report. I sent my complaint to the Baltic Fleet command. What should I do in this situation?”
More often than not, contract servicemen were driven to the front by the threat of criminal proceedings against them:
“Good day, I am writing with pain in my heart, how is it possible that, a man's contract being over, he is nevertheless taken to Ukraine right from a civil registry office! He's been there for a month, he wants to leave at any cost, but he’s been told that if he tried to leave, they would pin every charge on him, what kind of atrocity is this? Give me back my man and let us get married normally! Why is it that half of the contract servicemen are in the unit to shoot stories and the other half are just sitting there?!? Is this the army?? Honestly, I haven't heard a single good word about the unit in Perevalnyi, and it’s a shame! They promised that there would be a rotation, but it turns out they will be staying there until the end!”
He was taken to Ukraine right from a civil registry office! He’s been told that if he tried to leave, they would pin all sorts of charges on him
“Soldiers of military unit 02511 in the Leningrad region are being forcibly sent to fight in Ukraine under the threat of incarceration. Please look into this as soon as possible”.
“Good day!” 488th Regiment, military unit 12721, 1st battalion tactical group, ZRB, participating in the special military operation from March 24, 2022 till April 18, 2022, is on the frontline in Ukraine without the chief command. They’ve fulfilled their initial task. They’ve received the order to advance or else face criminal charges. But they have nothing to advance with, they have lost their equipment, they have few military personnel, and they have no means to carry out the order. After completing the assigned task, they were promised a rest, but in the end they did more than they were originally ordered to do. I request that you order withdrawal of the 488th Regiment, 1st battalion tactical group, ZRB, from the combat zone and, if possible, its replacement”.
Sabotage is not a ground for dismissal
Several dozens of contract officers from various regions and military units (including those of strategic importance) have filed complaints (apparently having been advised by the same lawyers) stating that they had long been in breach of all contract conditions, failed to report for duty, received reprimands, publicly displayed data about themselves and their place of service on social media, but they were not dismissed! Here are just a few examples:
“I am a serviceman in military unit 38838, Lieutenant Vladislav Andreevich Poloz, I serve as a platoon commander of a MLRS Battery, MLRS Battalion. I’ve repeatedly stated my unwillingness to serve in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. I’ve repeatedly provided explanations for my illegal absence from duty, and I filed a report for dismissal due to my failure to comply with the terms of the contract. The commanding officers have done nothing and showed complete indifference in my regard. I’ve been disciplined; at the moment I have a small number of reprimands. On March 31, 2022 I posted a video on YouTube about my association with the Russian Armed Forces, but the State Secret Protection service has not made any inquiry into the violation. Please help resolve the issue of my dismissal from military service due to my failure to comply with the contract terms. I have no claims with regard to the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, I am ready to pay the money they spent on my training.”
“I am a serviceman in military unit 48315, Guards Lieutenant Kirill Olegovich Feller, I’m a platoon commander in charge of encrypted communication equipment. I’ve repeatedly stated my unwillingness to serve in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. I’ve repeatedly provided explanations for my illegal absence from duty, and I filed a report for dismissal due to my failure to comply with the terms of the contract. The commanding officers have done nothing and showed complete indifference in my regard. Disciplinary practice has been insufficient; at the moment I have been strictly reprimanded 4 times and warned of being recognized as incompletely fit for duty; I have not been reviewed by the attestation commission. Please help resolve the issue of my dismissal from military service due to my failure to comply with the contract terms. I have no claims with regard to the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, I am ready to pay the money they spent on my training.”
“I am a serviceman in military unit 30785, Lieutenant Ilya Romanovich Pereverzev, I am the chief of an SPL detail. I’ve repeatedly stated my unwillingness to serve in the Russian Armed Forces. I’ve repeatedly provided explanations for my illegal absence from duty, and I filed a report for dismissal due to my failure to comply with the terms of the contract. My commanding officer has sent the papers for my dismissal up the chain of command, but they have been rejected for the second time for various reasons (they either find errors or simply take no action). First time, the documents reached the army, but now they have been returned by the Central Military District. This has been going on for 8 months. To date, I’ve been reprimanded 17 times. On February 4, 2022 I posted on VK and Tik-Tok information about my association with the Russian Armed Forces, but the State Secret Protection service has not made any inquiry into the violation. Please help resolve the issue of my dismissal from military service due to my failure to comply with the contract terms. I have no claims with regard to the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, I am ready to pay the money they spent on my training.”
“I am a serviceman in military unit 02511 Guards Senior Lieutenant Alexander Dmitrievich Shitov, I am the chief of an anti-aircraft missile detail. I’ve repeatedly stated my unwillingness to serve in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. I’ve repeatedly provided explanations for my illegal absence from duty, and I filed a report for dismissal due to my failure to comply with the terms of the contract. The commanding officers have done nothing and showed complete indifference in my regard. Disciplinary practice has been insufficient; at the moment I have few reprimands. On March 4, 2022 I posted on VK information about my association with the Russian Armed Forces, but the State Secret Protection service has not made any inquiry into the violation. Please help resolve the issue of my dismissal from military service due to my failure to comply with the contract terms. I have no claims with regard to the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, I am ready to pay the money they spent on my training.
“I am a serviceman in military unit 52879 Lieutenant Samvel Vyacheslavovich Usnunts, I am the commander of the long-range missile transportation platoon of the anti-aircraft missile transportation battery. I’ve repeatedly stated my unwillingness to serve in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. I’ve repeatedly provided explanations for my illegal absence from duty, and I filed a report for dismissal due to my failure to comply with the terms of the contract. The commanding officers have done nothing and showed complete indifference in my regard. Disciplinary practice has been insufficient; at the moment I have been reprimanded 7 times and warned of being recognized as incompletely fit for duty; I have not been reviewed by the attestation commission. Please help resolve the issue of my dismissal from military service due to my failure to comply with the contract terms. I have no claims with regard to the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, I am ready to pay the money they spent on my training.”
Complaints to the prosecutor's office confirm that many servicemen did not learn they were taking part not in exercises but in an aggressive war until they were on Ukrainian soil, and, of course, their consent was not asked either before or after the fact:
“I, the commander of the 2nd motorized rifle squad <...> of military unit 31134, along with more than 20 other servicemen, was sent on February 2, 2022, as part of the 1st battalion tactical group, to Kursk to take part in exercises at an unspecified training ground; after that, around February 21, 2022, we were transported to the Belgorod region, to the Krasniye Yarugi training ground, and on February 23, 2022 we marched as part of the BTGR 1, under the guise of exercises, and arrived at an unknown destination. Then at night we were given weapons and ammunition, and on the night from February 23, 2022 to February 24, 2022 we set out in an unknown direction. During the first rest we were told we were on Ukrainian soil. Then we moved further and further in and ended up not far from the city of Rivne, which is in Ukraine. All along the route we were not accompanied by anyone, there was no air support, and we had conscript soldiers with us. In the vicinity of the city, our battalion set up checkpoints to prevent Ukrainian troops from bringing weapons and ammunition into the city. After a while, we were told that we would be sent to Russia to leave the conscripts there and replace them contract servicemen, but it did not happen, and we marched to Sumy, stopping at villages and clearing out houses on our way. After that, we also set up roadblocks. After a while, conscripts were sent away to the training ground in Krasnye Yarugi, but we remained on Ukrainian soil. While we lived in non-human conditions, received one dry ration for several (3-4) days, there was almost no humanitarian aid. We fulfilled the tasks we were given. On February 21, 2022 we marched into Russia and once again found ourselves on the Ukrainian border, near Valuiki. On the same night we were told that we should again enter the territory of Ukraine, only from the other side. The battalion and military unit commanders were asked whether it was possible for me and my comrades to refuse to participate in the special operation and the answer was no. On the morning of February 23, 2022 we were told we had to go back to Ukraine. A lot of us did not want to do it, and then Captain Gagiyev, Deputy Battalion Commander for Military and Political Work asked those who did not want to go to step away from the trucks. There were about 50 of us who didn't want to go. The entire convoy left, and we, along with Captain Gagiev and Colonel Zhuravlev, Deputy Commander of the Zaporizhzhia Military District, stayed near the border. They tried to persuade us to follow the convoy; at first, they used kind and patriotic speech and then foul language, thereby insulting us. They said we would all be put in jail. They threatened they would put the officers in trucks and personally take them to Ukraine. Neither I nor my comrades gave voluntary consent to go there, either now or in the past. We wanted to write a report on refusal or dismissal from service, but Captain Gagiev said he did not want and would not accept any reports. Colonel Zhuravlev said they would not feed us or let us into heated quarters, and we should live outdoors. The combat order was never read to all military personnel, and no one signed under it. Please take measures regarding this appeal and clarify our actions. To what liability will we be subjected for this?”
Painkillers as treatment
Many complaints to the prosecutor's office were related to the fact that soldiers sent to war were abandoned there without any supplies or medical care:
“Good day, I would like to report about the military hospital in Belgorod. My husband has been there since April 23, 2022 (contusion). Since his hospitalization, there has been no proper treatment or examination. They’ve offered no treatment. They say, “There’s a lot of people like you and it is just a psychological trauma, your arms and legs are intact, and you are fit to go to war. I wonder why no MRI scan has been performed, they treat patients with painkillers. Also, my husband has been experiencing neurological effects of the contusion (headache, memory loss, slurred speech, spinal pain). He needs examination and further treatment.
“Good day! My husband is serving under contract in military unit 62295 and is currently involved in the special operation. He was wounded and ended up in hospital; They not only haven’t offered him proper assistance, they‘ve been performing MRI scans at the expense of soldiers themselves; they keep the results of those scans to themselves and make wrong diagnoses. Even those with obvious health problems are going to be sent back to the front. Please, set the situation straight”.
“My son, Guards Corporal Artem Mikhailovich Niyazov, born on April 13, 2001, is serving under contract in military unit 71211 (331st Guards Airborne Regiment) <...> as Senior Operator 1PTO 2PTV PTBATR. Currently involved in the special military operation in Ukraine. He was first wounded (a contusion, shrapnel wound of soft tissues of the head, 2nd degree frostbite) on March 7, 2022. He spent 2 days in a field hospital. No treatment or medical examination was offered, the fact that he had a contusion and a shrapnel head wound was not registered at the hospital due to the large number of wounded patients. Two days later he was sent to his unit for further participation in the special military operation, despite incessant headaches, partial loss of hearing and vision. For the second time he was wounded on April 19, 2022 (mine blast injury, brain injury, concussion). On that same day he was transported by helicopter to 39 OMEDO, from where he was sent to the 98th Division hospital located in the village of Kaznacheevka, Valuiki urban district, Belgorod region, Russia. Despite the injuries and sickness (dizziness, headache, partial loss of memory, hearing and vision) my son received no treatment. Late diagnosis and lack of appropriate medical treatment can lead to irreversible life-threatening consequences and disability.
He spent 2 days in a field hospital. No treatment or medical examination was offered
“My son-in-law is serving under contract in the 137th Guards Parachute Regiment, military unit 41450. On January 24, 2022 the military unit personnel was sent to the Republic of Belarus to take part in exercises. After February 23, 2022, he stopped getting in touch with his family, they were transferred to Ukraine to participate in the special military operation. Since the servicemen were leaving to take part in exercises for a month and a half, their uniforms had already been in disrepair, and they did not have protective gear. On March 27, 2022 he got in touch with us. During the conversation, we learned that they had not been provided with food, water, dry rations (one ration for 4 persons per day), they melted snow while it still was there to get water. We were told by the commanders that they were provided with food (three meals a day in the field kitchen), that there was water and they had access to a bathhouse, but they were not telling us the truth. People were unable to wash themselves for weeks, if not a whole month. After a conversation with my son-in-law, I learned that he had been contused (his symptoms were described as being of medium severity) and that he suffered from frostbite (his hands and ears were affected). He did not receive proper medical care as a result of the contusion. They told him: “Everybody is the same way as you, keep walking”. Many soldiers had frostbite and burns. Their uniforms were completely destroyed. Currently, they are being transported to the front in a state of complete moral and physical exhaustion and without being properly provisioned (food, uniforms, etc.). In such a mental, physical and moral state their lives are in direct danger”.
After getting his hands and ears frostbitten he did not receive proper medical care. They told him: “Everybody is the same way as you, keep walking”
Abandoning our own
Once a serviceman is taken prisoner, his relatives are unable to obtain any information for months; often they learn only from Ukrainians about the capture or death of their son or husband:
“I am Oksana Anatolievna Paulina, mother of Anatoliy Vladimirovich Pylev, born on 14.06.2001, drafted into military service on November 30, 2021. He was assigned to the Kantemirovskaya Division. After boot camp he was sent to serve in artillery. At the end of January, for reasons unknown, he was transferred to Yampol regiment, motorized rifle company. He was forced to sign papers allegedly to take part in exercises. The exercises were to be held in Voronezh. On February 16 or 17 they were brought to the Dolbino station (in the Belgorod region). On February 20, I got in touch with him for the last time. On March 18, a video of POWs was posted to a telegram channel, and my son was there. On the 20th he was allowed to call us. He confirmed he was in captivity, and wounded! Please help!”.
“My son, Nikolay Andreevich Shcherban, born on April 27, 1998, is a contract serviceman, he serves in military unit #12676 as a senior computer of the mortar battery fire control platoon, and has the rank of private. After the start of the special military operation in Ukraine (February 24, 2022) all communication with my son was lost. On March 3, 2022 I got a call from a Ukrainian number (via the Vyber messenger), and I was told that my son had been wounded during said military operation (fracture in one leg and shrapnel wounds in the other), he was in a hospital in Voznesensk in the Mykolaiv region (Ukraine). The hotline of the Ministry of Defense (8 800 100 77 07) told my daughter (Yulia Andreevna Shcherban) that my son was not on the list of prisoners of war and that he was listed as “missing in action.” But, after my son was taken prisoner, I spoke with him on the phone several times over the course of three days, I have a video recording with my son (attached) where he confirms he’s wounded and being held in captivity. Besides, I’ve attached to my appeals a copy of a page from www.ikpravda.com.ua (Mykolaivska Pravda) which reported on March 10, 2022 that my son and another soldier were suspected of invading the territorial integrity of Ukraine (part 3 of article 110 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine) that a measure of restraint in the form of custody was chosen for him. What other evidence of my son's captivity do the Ministry of Defense officials need?”
“My husband Nikolay Tsygankov, born in 1998, was taken prisoner. He is serving under a contract in the special forces of the 22nd brigade of the Airborne Troops of the Russian Ministry of Defense, military unit 11659, which is located in the village of Stepnoy, Aksai district, Rostov region. On March 8, 2022 at 16:03 I got a phone call via the app Telegram from a Ukrainian number, presumably from the Ukrainian military, telling me that my husband was in captivity with gunshot wounds to both of his legs. They said “come and get your meat”, but when I asked where I should go, the call cut off immediately. During the call I could hear the distant voice of my husband Nikolai and I'm sure it was his voice, it was my husband. Later I received a picture of him on my smartphone, which showed my husband lying with his hands tied, his wounded bloody leg bandaged with a rag. I texted back, “When will you let him go?”, and they answered: never. Then they insisted that we (Russian people) and I personally should organize rallies in Russia to protest against the Russian government and against the war.
They called me and said, “Come and get your meat”
“At least bring back the remains”
The bodies of the dead have not been removed from Ukraine, and families are trying in vain to find out how to collect and bury them:
“I am a mother of the serviceman Kamil Salavatovich Khabibnazarov, born on December 6, 2000, he served in military unit 21005 of the 74th brigade, city of Yurga. Another soldier who served alongside my son in the special military operation (Ilya) informed me of the death of my son on March 6, 2022 near Chernihiv. The military unit won’t confirm this information because most likely the body was left on the battlefield and the commander did not inform the unit. I ask you to investigate this outrageous incident and return my son's body to me so that all the culprits could be punished”.
“I ask you to help me understand why it so happened that my son R.S. Argimbayev, born on October 22, 1985, was sent from the village of Totskoe-2, military unit 12128, to take part in the special operation in Ukraine. We last spoke on the phone on March 21, 2022, and later, on March 28, 2022 we learned from his commander that he was killed in action on March 24, 2022. According to his fellow servicemen, his BMP-2 blew up, and his body was never recovered, he was abandoned in a burning vehicle in Ukraine. We’ve submitted DNA samples. I ask you to look into it, no one knows what to do, more than a month has passed, at least return the remains so we could bury them in a decent manner”.
“My cousin Nikita Viktorovich Tivilev, born on November 25, 2000 in Spassk-Ryazanskiy, served in military unit 94018 stationed in Yelnya, Smolensk region. He called his mother from Rivne, telling her he served there as a hospital attendant. His next phone call was in March, he cried and told his mother, “Why did you let me join the army?” After that, he never called again. His mates called his mother and told her Nikita had been shot and his body had been seen lying next to a tank. His mother, Olga Tivileva, started calling various officials, including the unit in which he served. At first, they said he was in the unit, and they couldn't get him on the phobe. Then they started blatantly telling her off. One person said 130 people were missing and no one knew where they were. I ask that a prosecutorial investigation be carried out. I ask that Nikita Viktorovich Tivilev be located. I request that those responsible for sending a conscript to war be identified and punished.”
In March, he cried and told his mother, “Why did you let me join the army?” After that, he never called again
“My appeal is regarding the death of my son Albert Gadzhitagirovich Seferov, born on January 9, 1991, military unit 90600, Roshchinsky, Samara region. On the noon of March 30, 2022, during the military operation, he was wounded while rescuing his comrade in the Chernihiv region, Ukraine. He remained without medical aid until the evening. In the evening, help arrived, but he had died from his wounds and the loss of blood. The convoy carrying his remains as cargo 200 started to move towards the Russian border to the place his unit was stationed. On the way the cargo 200 tuck got stuck, the driver reported that to the commander of the medical unit Major Gadzhiev. Gadzhiev gave no orders, the soldiers said the commanding officer ordered them to continue on their way to the home base without stopping. The driver abandoned the truck and followed the convoy in the direction of the home base. To this day, April 17, 2022, the body of the deceased has not been handed over to his family and nothing is known about its whereabouts. The commanding officer of military unit 90600 has not provided any information and won’t get in touch with the relatives of the deceased.”