Jane Buchanan, researcher in the Europe and Central Asia division of Human Rights Watch, Diederik Lohman, senior researcher of the Europe and Central Asia Division of Human Rights Watch, Anna Neistat and Alexander Petrov, respectively director and deputy director of the Moscow office of Human Rights Watch conducted research for this report in the cities of Cheliabinsk, Moscow, Novokuznetsk, Novosibirsk, St. Petersburg, and Volgograd. Diederik Lohman is the author of the report, which was edited by Rachel Denber, acting executive director of the Europe and Central Asia Division of Human Rights Watch, Veronika Leila Szente Goldston, advocacy director of the Europe and Central Asia Division of Human Rights Watch, James Ross, senior legal advisor at Human Rights Watch, and Iain Levine, program director at Human Rights Watch. Invaluable assistance was provided by Anna Sinelnikova, Emily Letts, and Ludmila Belova, all associates at the Europe and Central Asia division of Human Rights Watch; Joanne Csete, director of the HIV/AIDS program; and Nikolai Mitrokhin, Yana Chervona, and Angelika Bykadorova, all interns with the Europe and Central Asia division of Human Rights Watch.
This report would not have been possible without the many young men who shared their, often traumatic, experiences in Russia’s armed forces with us. Thank you for your courage to be so frank with us. We also extend our warmest gratitude to the phenomenal staff of the Association of Soldiers’ Mothers of Cheliabinsk Province, the Soldiers’ Mothers Committee in Novosibirsk, the Committee for the Protection of the Rights of Military Servicemen in Novokuznetsk, the Moscow-based Union of Committees of Soldiers' Mothers of Russia, the Soldiers' Mothers of St. Petersburg, and the Right of the Mother in Volgograd and Uriupinsk, who generously shared their unique knowledge of Russia’s armed forces; helped us organize dozens of interviews with conscripts, officials, and others; and gave us access to their, often extensive, archives.