“It’s a horror” - Line of fresh new graves of Russian servicemen in Syktyvkar shocks locals
Resident of the northern Russian city of Syktyvkar - Komi Republic capital - Inna Makatrova posted in the Russian social media Vkontakte a video from the local cemetery Verkhny Chov.
The video, that was published on July 23 in the comment section on the Komi governor official VK page, shows a long line of fresh new graves of the Russian servicemen, who died in Ukraine.
“Oh my god. Our boys. How many of them are here?”, a female voice exclaims in the background.
“They are so young”, another female voice continues.
“I’m crying, - says a female voice again - It’s a horror”.
In the video is clearly visible graves of the Russian servicemen Bekker German and Valery Arteev - earlier in July Komi region governor Vladimir Uyba made a post about their death:
“They died in the fight with neo-nazis in the Donbas Peoples Republic”, the governor wrote. - They will always stay in our hearts”.
“When will it all come to an end? - Inna writes in her video post - This war destroys people’s lives! I’m scared for our loved ones!”
Another grave that is visible in the video the Syktyvkar resident posted, is the grave of Badayev Alexey, whose date of death is marked as June 25, 2023.
“He died as a hero protecting our Motherland on our soil”, governor Uyba said in another online post dedicated to Badayev on July 18, 2023.
Video shows that there is a flag of the Russian paratroopers installed on the Badayev’s grave. The governor Uyba in the post called Badayev a “professional military serviceman”.
“There are more than 20 new graves at the cemetery”, a local Syktyvkar resident told the Barents Observer, confirming that the ones buried at the Verkhny Chov are the participants of the “SMO” (special military operation, the official term for the war in Russia).
Numbers of losses
Long lines of fresh new graves is a typical picture in almost every Russian city or town nowadays.
The last time the Russian Defence Ministry officially announced the number of losses was on September 21, 2022 - the number back then was 5,937. Meanwhile, according to the investigation by a group of journalists, published on June 2023, it was established at least 27 423 names of those who died in Ukraine. The data was obtained from open sources. Another joint study on July 10 reported about an estimated 47, 000.
Despite all the official pathos and calling those who died in Ukraine “heroes”, despite all the propaganda statements like the ones made by the Komi governor, Russian officials didn’t seem to be eager to deal with the problems that servicemen and their families face.
Some relatives struggle to find their family members in the list of dead or alive. After losing hope to get any information from the Russian Defence Ministry, relatives tend to unite in such unofficial organizations as Mothers and Wives council.
Participants of such civil unions usually do not hold any anti-war stance. They focus on the problems of their mobilized relatives. In November 2022 Mother and Wives representatives even went all the way to the capital city of Moscow and demanded to meet the representatives of the Russian Ministry of Defence. Leader of the council Olga Tsukanova wanted to hand to the Russian authorities complaints from around 700 women about the situation with their sons and husbands who have been sent to fight in Ukraine.
The Russian state response? The leader of the movement Olga Tsukanova was branded as a “foreign agent” and today on July 28 Olga announced the council is closed.
“We do not want to act under this “foreign agent” label, this is humiliating for us women, - Olga said in a video address, - This is my land, this is my people and I will be protecting them. They (women of the council) are true patriots. We will be fighting for justice wherever anyway. I was branded a foreign agent because I spoke about the problems of the mobilization (in Russia). I never got any foreign funding or was under any foreign influence. I act only in the interests of the Russian people and Russia. We can’t give up on the injustice that is happening now. It’s just a way to silence us. ”
Another wave of mobilization?
As the war rages on and the cemeteries all over the country devastate local residents, the army is clearly in desperate need of more men, as experts warn. Some predict fall 2023 could begin with another wave of mobilization. The latest legislation points to it. The Russian parliament recently voted in favor of a bill increasing the maximum conscription age for military service from 27 to 30. The law is still to be signed by President Putin. The lower bar - 18 years - remained the same, despite initial plans to lift the conscript age up to the age of 21. Russian parliament also recently increased fines for violating the rules of military registration.
The more men power is needed also after the Wagner group, that has been recruiting people all over Russia, has left to Belarus after a failed march on to Moscow. Amendments that were announced by Member of the State Duma Andrei Kartapolov on the 25th of July will allow Russian governors to build their own private military companies thus allowing to recruit more and more servicemen from the Russian provinces.