Russian contract soldiers, who went through the war in Donbas, try to avoid further service in military districts and units, which are more often involved in Ukrainian deployments.
OSINT investigations are all about noticing the details. A seemingly harmless picture or a careless comment can put OSINT investigators on a trail. In this short investigation InformNapalm international community will look into a case of Russian serviceman who chose to serve in the Russian Far East rather than stay closer to home and run a risk of another Ukrainian deployment.
In the profile of one Arthur Arsenov we found an interesting photo uploaded in October 2014. The photo shows two soldiers sitting on a BTR-80 rushing along the road with outside-mounted load. The photo has a noteworthy caption: “to ukr…”.
We studied the profile, which contained the photo and identified its owner, and traced the way of this Russian serviceman from the 7th Military Base in Abkhazia to the 60th Motorized Rifle Brigade (MRB) stationed in Russian Far East.
Judging by the photos and comments to A. Bagavov’s photo album, in 2014 he was serving as a contract soldier in the snipers company of the 7th Military Base (military unit No. 09332, Gudauta, Georgia, occupied Abkhazia) of the Southern Military District, Russia. Since late spring, he was at the Ashuluk training range (Astrakhan Oblast) serving in the battalion tactical group (BTG) of the 7th Military Base. From that training range, this combined unit was transferred to Rostov Oblast first, and then went on a combat deployment to Ukraine (most of the photos from Ashuluk were uploaded to his album in 2015 and 2016).
A. Bagavov left military service in the end of September or in the beginning of October 2014. The reason for the contract termination was most likely the fear of being sent on another Ukrainian deployment. InformNapalm reported more than once about high staff turnover and massive dismissals of contract servicemen from the 7th Military Base:
- From tangerine paradise to Ukrainian hell: Russian contract soldiers pressed to fight in Ukraine (RU), 02/04/2015
- Conscripts of the 7th Russian Military Base massively recruited to become contract soldiers for the “Ukrainian missions” (RU), 3/6/2015
The operational record of the BTG of the 7th Military Base, which took part in the fighting in Donbas in summer-autumn of 2014, has already been tracked and described by us. It was established that before deployment to the east of Ukraine, from late spring to mid-summer of 2014, the BTG of the 7th Military Base was trained at the Ashuluk training range (Astrakhan Oblast), from where it was firstly transferred to Rostov Oblast, and then to Donbas.
After almost two-year pause, having found no civilian job, and feeling nostalgic for the army A. Bagavov again signed a contract with the Defense Ministry of Russia, but with a unit far away from Ukraine and his birthplace, and joined the reconnaissance company of the scouts battalion of the 60th MRB (military unit No. 16871, located in Kamen-Rybolov and Monastyrishche settlements, Primorsky Krai, the Eastern Military District).
Let us remind you that the 7th military base is one of the most actively belligerent units of the Russian Armed Forces, it featured in 28 OSINT investigations and other publications of the InformNapalm international intelligence community.
The 7th Military Base in InformNapalm publications
- Combat Crews of 2S3 “Akatsiya” of the 7th Military Base Identified along the Border with Ukraine. 10/05/2014
- ‘Donetsk Express’ – identification of Russian military equipment and weaponry, transferred to Donbas. (RU) 10/06/2014
- Medical Detachment of the 7th Military Base from Abkhazia Identified near the Border with Ukraine. 10/13/2014
- Rocket artillery of the 7th Military Base of the Russian occupation forces from Abkhazia on the border with Donbas. (RU) 12/18/2014
- From tangerine paradise to Ukrainian hell: Russian contract soldiers pressed to fight in Ukraine (RU) 02/04/2015
- Servicemen of the 7th Russian Military Base from Abkhazia receive medals for fighting in Donbas (RU) 03/02/2015
- Conscripts of the 7th Russian Military Base massively recruited to become contract soldiers for the “Ukrainian missions” 03/06/2015
- “Courageous Mihos” – a scout of the 7th Military Base, holder of medal For Courage. 03/18/2015
- More soldiers from 7th Military Base received Combat Medals after temporary duties in Ukraine 05/27/2015
- ‘Cinderellas’ with Self-propelled Artillery Systems or How Russian Contract Servicemen are Posing as ‘Self-defence’ 07/02/2015
- The Сover Story of the ‘Former’ Soldier of the 7th Russian Base Does not Hold Water 07/02/2015
- Massive Deployment of the Russian Troops And Equipment from the Occupied Abkhazia Is Registered 09/23/2015
- Russia Deploys the Military Equipment of the 7th Base to Rostov Oblast 09/24/2015
- Russian Contract Soldier from the 7th Base Fights as ‘DPR’ Militant 09/25/2015
- ‘Bored silly’: the Russian Invaders’ Games in Donbas 01/10/2016
- ‘Double Strike’ to the Russian Officers from the Southern Military District 02/10/2016
- Journey of Russian Occupant: Gudauta – Rostov – Donbas – Khmeimim 04/03/2016
- The Dynasty of Russian War Criminals: Biographic Narrative of the Invader 08/15/2016
- Emperor’s new clothes – or Putin exposed 11/30/2016
- Updates on the Rostov reserve of the “Novorossian” army 12/15/2016
- Documents revealing personnel of another Russian BTG on a “Rostov-Ukrainian mission” 10/27/2016
- 21 of 35: Russian artillerymen of the 7th Military Base involved in shelling of Ukraine identified 11/15/2016
- Love Story 3: Love adventures of Russian occupier 21.11.2016
- Russian scout from 7th Military Base given away by Bull Terrier from Horlivka 11/28/2016
- Identification of Russian 7th military base scouts who fought in Ukraine 12/30/2016
- Russian Kalmyk soldiers “got lost ” in the steppes of Ukraine 12/25/2016
- From ‘hybrid’ soldier to cadet: Russian Military Intervention in Ukraine (RU) 01/06/2017
- Recipient of Medal of the Order “For Merit to the Fatherland” and other Donbas veterans from the 7th Military Base 01/22/2017
Databases of identified Russian military personnel and evidence of their involvement in the fighting in Ukraine on the side of the Russian-terrorist forces are available here: https://informnapalm.org/en/category/top-investigations.
Personnel and armament of the 7th Military Base of the Russian occupation forcesThe 7th Krasnodar Red Banner Order of Kutuzov and the Red Star Military Base, military unit 09332 (stationed in Gudauta, occupied Abkhazia, Georgia), includes:Structure– Command;– Four mechanized infantry battalions;– Sniper company;– Tank battalion;– Two self-propelled artillery battalions and one battery of towed howitzers;– Rocket artillery battalion;– Antitank artillery battalion;– Antiaircraft missile battalion and an antiaircraft artillery missile battalion (parts of the so-called Anti-aircraft battalion group of the 7th Military Base);– Reconnaissance battalion;– UAV company;– Engineer battalion;– NBC protection company;– Control (communications) battalion;– Electronic warfare company;– Control and artillery reconnaissance battery (of the artillery commander);– Control and radar reconnaissance platoon (of air defense commander);– Control Platoon (of the reconnaissance commander);– Maintenance battalion;– Logistics battalion;– Headquarters company;– Medical company;– Military instructors platoon;– Training simulator platoon;– Training range;– Brass band.The military base also includes a so-called aviation command office providing ground support for periodic flights of the Russian Airforce planes to the airfield in Gudauta. Аn anti-aircraft missile regiment (formerly the 100th Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment, military unit 90100), consisting of 2 SAM battalions in Agudzera and Primorskoye, which have 8 units of S-300 SAM’s on combat alert (make part of the so-called anti-aircraft battalion group of the 7th Military Base). The base also has an electronic technical unit with alert facilities deployed on the airfield of Sukhumi Babushara Airport.Armament– T-90A and T-72B3 MBTs – 41 pc. (according to other sources 51 pc.);– BTR-82AM and BTR-80 armored personnel carriers (APC) – 156 pcs.;– MT-LB light multi-purpose armored towing vehicles – 15 pcs.;– BM-21 Grad MLRS – 18 pcs.;– 2S3M Akatsiya 152-mm self-propelled howitzers – 36 pcs.;– D-30 122-mm self-propelled howitzers – 6 pcs.;– 2S12 Sani 120-mm mortars – 18 pcs.;– MT-12 Rapira 100mm anti-tank guns – 12 pcs.;– Shturm-S self-propelled anti-tank missile systems – 12 pcs.;– BRDM-2 armored reconnaissance vehicles – 4 pcs.;– 9A33BM2(3) Osa SAM’s – 12 pcs.;– 9A34(35) Strela-10 SAM’s on armored vehicle mounts – 6 pcs.;– 2S6M Tunguska self-propelled anti-aircraft guns – 6 pcs.;– 9K38 Igla man portable surface-to-air missiles – 27 pcs.
The armament of the base also includes S-300PM SAM launchers – 16 pcs. In addition, in accordance with the agreement on joint armed forces between the Russian Federation and unrecognized Republic of Abkhazia signed in Moscow on November 21, 2015, two mechanized infantry battalions, artillery and aviation groups, as well as a separate special operations group have been attached by Abkhazia to the 7th Military Base.Except for a few of our additions, this note is based on the data from milkavkaz.
This publication was prepared on the basis of an OSINT investigation of InformNapalm volunteer intelligence community. Author Irakli Komaxidze
Translated by Evgeniy Kalashnik
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