Brain-Damaged Pensioner Among Russians With Health Conditions Conscripted

A 63-old Russian man with diabetes and a severe brain injury has reportedly been called up to fight in Ukraine as part of Vladimir Putin's partial mobilization decree.

Baza, a news site with close ties to the Russian police, said Alexander Ermolaev, a lieutenant colonel in the reserve who has second-degree diabetes and cerebral ischemia, was conscripted as part of the partial mobilization.

According to the outlet, before retiring, Ermolaev served as deputy commander of a logistics unit and as a deputy director of a plant for the destruction of chemical weapons.

He was reportedly handed a summons on September 22 at 6 a.m. local time from Nikolai Patrin, head of the Sredneakhtubinsky district in Russia's Volgograd region, and was taken for medical examination.

Doctors reportedly told the 63-year-old that he was fit for service and that he could "go to the front" despite his illnesses.

After receiving an all-clear from doctors, Ermolaev was sent to undergo training at a military ground in the village of Novy Rogachik, to prepare for battle.

It isn't clear why Ermolaev was called up to serve.

According to the Russian defense ministry, conscription is only supposed to affect rank-and-file soldiers up to 35 years old, junior officers up to 50 years old, and senior officers up to 55 years old.

Russian officials have also published a list of medical conditions and illnesses that supposedly exempt individuals from being called up to serve—that list includes brain injuries and diabetes.

An activist holds a single-person picket
An activist holds a single-person picket in support of Russian President Vladimir Putin in central Moscow on September 22, 2022. A poster rephrases a Soviet WWII slogan - "Everything for the Front! Everything for the Victory!". As part of Putin's partial mobilization to support the Ukraine, a 63-year-old man with brain damage said he was conscripted. ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images

Putin announced a partial mobilization of the armed forces on Wednesday, with defense officials saying up to 300,000 reservists would be called up to fight. The conscription order affects reservists and ex-military personnel with "certain military specialties and relevant experience."

Since his announcement, several incidents have been reported, including an apparent attempt to draft students at Buryat State University in Ulan-Ude, the capital of the Siberian republic of Buryatia, despite the Russian military saying that those studying full-time would not be called up.

A student at the university told news outlet The Village that national guard members and military police arrived "to take students straight from classes." The student also said a mobilization point had been set up, Newsweek previously reported.

"The cops are on my campus, 10-15 people," a student wrote in a chat room. The Village reported. A local blogger said on social media networks that the police had arrived at the university at 7:48 a.m. Thursday.

Protests have also erupted nationwide over the mobilization decree, with at least 1,386 people arrested in 38 cities across Russia since Wednesday, human rights project OVD-Info reported.

Newsweek has reached out to Russia's foreign ministry for comment.