Summons are handed out at night. Head of Fund for Mobilization in Buryatia – DW – 23.09.2022

Published by
Peter Kavinsky

In the regions of Russia mobilization announced by Putin is in full swing. Lawyers and human rights activists say it is time to talk about full mobilization, not “partial”, as the Russian authorities call it. Both men with no combat experience and those over 60 are sent to the front.

In Buryatia, they immediately began to implement Vladimir Putin’s mobilization decree – the summonses were issued on the night of September 22. Even before the mobilization of Buryatia, according to media estimatesranked second after Dagestan by the number of dead in the war in Ukraine. Alexander Garmazhapova, chairman of the Free Buryatia Foundation, told DW about the situation in Buryatia and the reason for the hard mobilization in this republic.

DW: What do you know about the mobilization process in Buryatia and how big it is?

Alexandra Garmazhapova: She is very big. Buryatia this time was distinguished by the fact that: summons handed out overnight. At three or four in the morning people were knocked on the door to issue a subpoena. Villages were combed far and wide. Of course, this is not a partial, but a full-fledged mobilization.

They came to people who have long retired, to people who have a disabled child in their care, who have artificial limbs, who recently had surgery and can’t sit for another six months. Also subpoenas issued in the workplace. A young man who works at a bank wrote to us. They came to the bank with a subpoena and when he refused to take it, they started connecting witnesses, preparing a report on him about some kind of violation.

I believe it was one of the most terrible nights in the history of Buryatia because what happened was unprecedented. At the same time, a small group came out to protest the war. And at the same time there is a row of cars on the border with Mongolia. From Buryatia people try to go there.

Let me remind you that the Buryats are a Mongolian people. And it is very significant that that night the Mongols met their brothers from the Russian Federation, who there felt the attitude of their older brother towards their younger brother. The Buryats have long been mentally closer to the Russians, but now there is a risk for Russia that they abruptly remember their roots and turn to the Mongols. By the way, the latter also write to us that they are ready to help with work and teaching the Mongolian language.

– You talked about retirees… How? Both the Russian president and the defense minister said only those meeting certain parameters would be called up. This is both age and combat experience, as they said. And then it turns out that they end up with retirees.

– When they started making national battalions, incredible demands were also described there. In Buryatia, they named the battalion in honor of Lake Baikal, sacred to the Buryats, which was absolutely impossible. For such non-peaceful purposes, they tried for several months to recruit this battalion, but it did not work.

The guys who canceled the contract told me how they came back from Ukraine and registered with the job center to find work in civilian life. And they again received vacancies from the “Baikal” battalion. That is, they were short of people.

Therefore, they (the authorities of the Russian Federation. – Red.) words and deeds contradict each other. If all of Russia wanted to fight like this, there would be no need to announce the mobilization. To be honest, we initially started the fund’s work with suspicion. They suddenly thought there weren’t as many “refuseniks” as is commonly believed. But there were really a lot of them. Therefore, we do not rule out that such a hard mobilization in Buryatia is related to the Kremlin’s revenge for the mass termination of contracts. Well, of course the local authorities want to get in the favour. By the way, do you know who issues subpoenas in Buryatia?

– Teachers? Tell about it.

Yes, this is what teachers do. The puzzle fell together. Teachers have manipulated the election and now they are handing out diaries and teaching ‘lessons about the important’ in schools. This is what we apparently have important – absolutely hypocritical, cynical and irresponsible. There are now many questions for teachers. One of the most famous Buryat rappers wrote that all teachers should be blinded if the government changes. Because it’s all about people like her.

– That is, janitors in St. Petersburg and teachers in Buryatia.

– It seems to me that there are just not many people involved, but the core was probably still the teachers. I really cannot explain why there was such a total mobilization in Buryatia. I get a flood of requests for help, but then I open chats about what’s happening in St. Petersburg and Moscow and don’t see anything similar.

Just no regrets? Given the xenophobic nature of this government, I do not rule out that they are trying to get rid of a non-state-forming people in this way. Buryats should kill Ukrainians, who are also trying to be part of the empire. This is very cynical and scary.

– What is the atmosphere like in Buryat’s military registration and recruitment offices?

– The atmosphere is well captured by a video filmed by a man who drove past the military registration and recruiting office. He said that people cry, women kneel, no one understands how to react to what is happening. And, of course, they do not understand such zeal from the local authorities. Alexey Tsydenov (Head of Buryatia. – Red.) is now an enemy of the Buryat people. There are already so few Buryats – there are 461 thousand of them in Buryatia. We have been working for a long time to ensure that we are not associated with this war. We explained that the Buryats are different. With our help, contractors started terminating contracts. That is, Buryatia loudly declared that they did not want to participate in this war.

When the mobilization started, our hands fell in a way. It turns out that all the work has gone wrong. We brought these young guys back, many said they felt like occupiers, that they… war of two Slavic peoples. Why are they here? And now they’re back. But this is a mistake by the Kremlin and the local authorities.

They have no idea where this will lead. And this will lead the Buryats to look to Mongolia, which helps them. I always repeat that Vladimir Putin is doing everything he can to make Russia fall apart. Not some separatists and ethnic activists. No, this is what Vladimir Putin is doing with his xenophobic attitude towards national minorities.

Also see:

Mobilization experts: ‘It is a sign of Putin’s weakness’

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Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at

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