mobilization briefs
April 21, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Apr. 19–20, 2023 CIT volunteer summary 

State Duma

Following second and third readings in a single session, the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] approved a bill mandating the fingerprinting of all citizens serving in volunteer units of the Russian Armed Forces. The Ministry of Defense will handle the fingerprinting.

At its third reading, the State Duma approved a bill allowing loan repayments to be deferred or waived for co-borrowers of those fighting the war in Ukraine. The bill expands the current legislation on credit holidays to all co-borrowers: parents of people who were killed in the war or became disabled persons of group I [with the most serious health problems] will not have to pay back the loans if they were co-borrowers.

The State Duma approved a bill at its third reading, granting the status of war veterans to participants of the war in Ukraine in 2014 and, more specifically, to members of paramilitary groups and authorities of the “LPR” and “DPR”. An amendment was introduced at the second reading, recognizing members of “private military companies” and other “volunteer” units as war veterans, too.

Digital Draft Notices

Saint Petersburg military commissar Sergey Kachkovsky stated that digital distribution of draft notices began in the city in the context of the spring regular conscription: “test notices arrive in users’ inboxes on the Gosuslugi public services portal.” According to him, notifications using SMS text messages are also in the works.

In response to the above statement, MinTsifry [the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of Russia] has once again refuted the digital distribution of draft notices through the Gosuslugi public services portal. The ministry insists on the need for a distinct regulation, without which digital distribution remains impossible. Only two distribution methods can be used for now: notices can be handed in person or delivered as registered mail by the Russian Post.

Residents of the city of Volgograd reported having received digital draft notices. One of the residents claimed to have received notifications via the Gosuslugi public services portal and via email on Apr. 18. This 38-year-old resident had completed his conscription service and had not received any draft notices until Apr. 18. He visited the draft office where his documents were checked, after which he was free to go. It should be noted that at least one of the reports from Volgograd proved to be false.

The Yabloko party was again denied permission to hold a protest rally against the law on digital draft notices. Earlier, officials claimed that the permission request should have been submitted in paper format and not electronically, whereas this time, they alleged that the request was submitted too late.

According to the Carnegie Endowment, the Russian government agencies are already competing for full control over the new common register of Russians subject to military service, which can become a powerful resource in the hands of the winner. In any case, no matter which agency ends up being tasked with delivering the project, its tight deadlines and complexity make the chances of success extremely low.


Governor of the Irkutsk region Igor Kobzev visited the enlistment center in the town of Goncharovo. He assured the parents of conscripts that conscripts would not be deployed to Ukraine. According to him, conscripts will be stationed to serve in other places. In Saint Petersburg, the first conscripts left for their assigned military units, also assured they would not be sent to the combat zone. The first ten conscripts from the Kursk region were deployed to the Voronezh region, while conscripts from the Novosibirsk region were sent to serve in the units of the Western and Eastern military districts.

A conscript from the Russia’s constituent Republic of Dagestan committed suicide in the Bryansk region. According to the investigation's version, the native of Makhachkala waited until he was alone in his unit's location and shot himself in the head with a firearm.

On Apr. 19, a student who had been evading the army for two years was abducted from his apartment in Moscow and taken to a draft office. At the draft office, he received a draft notice and underwent a medical examination before being taken to a collection point. The Idite Lesom [Go by Forest] human rights project reported that raids on conscripts have begun in Moscow. According to the organization, conscripts are being taken to draft offices with the police, and violence is being used against them.

Military Service Advertising

The Russian Ministry of Defense's Telegram channel featured another, third in a row, advertising video of contract service. The Agentstvo.Novosti [Agency news] Telegram channel and the Vyorstka media outlet identified the names of the actors who appeared in the video which was posted on the Ministry of Defense's Telegram channel on Apr. 19. According to information from the Vyorstka, one of the actors opposed the war in 2014, while another is a Kyiv native who lived in Odesa.

The Match TV federal sports channel began showing a commercial urging people to sign a contract with the Armed Forces. Meanwhile, audio advertisements for contract service appeared on Volgograd's trolleybuses.

In Irkutsk, a banner advertising a contract military service was mounted on the facade of a building built in 1915, which is part of the conservation zone of the city's historical area. Advertising on such buildings is prohibited.

Advertisements for contract military service continue to be placed on utility bills. Such an advertisement was also spotted on an information stand of one of the universities in Chelyabinsk. In Saint Petersburg, an advertisement for military service was placed side by side with a call to report on "merchants of death" [drug dealers].

Mobilized Soldiers Killed in the War

The lists of mobilized soldiers who were killed in the war were replenished by Sergey Polyakov from the Perm region, Andrey Kizin from the Volgograd region, and Aleksey Subbotin from the Voronezh region.

At least 21 mobilized from the Samara region are still missing. All of them were in the vocational school building in Makiivka on Jan. 1, 2023, when it was struck. The Idel.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet has already established the names of 142 servicemen who were killed that day. Today, the media outlet published a list of missing soldiers and told the stories of families who were searching for their loved ones but found them dead.

The Sirena Telegram channel obtained a presentation on the report of the Governor of the Belgorod region Vyacheslav Gladkov for 2022, prepared for a speech before the members of the regional Duma [regional parliament] . Based on the data indicated in it, the region spent 729 million rubles [~9 mln USD] on payments to the families of killed soldiers. Given the size of the regional payment of 3 million rubles [~36,700 USD], we can conclude that 243 residents of the Belgorod region were killed in the war in Ukraine. As Sirena notes, it is possible that Gladkov’s report in the section “Help for mobilized soldiers” indicates payments to the families of all Belgorod residents who were killed. According to regional media estimates, 291 Belgorod residents were killed in the war.

Problems and Appeals

Yevgeny Prigozhin [Russian oligarch, confidant of Vladimir Putin, and owner of the Wagner Group] commented on a report concerning the mobilized from Yakutia [Russia’s constituent republic], who were allegedly forcibly transferred to the command of the mercenary group. He called this information "nonsense", saying the Wagner Group did not take active military servicemen.

The Astra Telegram channel published yet another collective appeal of relatives of students from the "LDPR" demanding to return them home. Despite a draft deferral, they were mobilized back in February of last year and coerced into signing contracts, many of which had already expired. However, now, due to the absence of a decree ending mobilization, their contracts are still valid, so they cannot return home.

A reporter of the It's My City media outlet visited one of the rehabilitation centers in Yekaterinburg to find out how soldiers are trying to adjust to civilian life and why they still return to the front. Psychologist Anastasia Berenova explained whether the soldiers suffer from PTSD and what kind of trauma is experienced by the relatives and families of the mobilized.

The building of Novosibirsk regional hospital No. 2 for veterans of wars, where the wounded in the "special military operation" in Ukraine are treated, fails to meet standards, according to the chief physician. Meanwhile, the Deputy Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, in the presence of Governor Andrey Travnikov, demanded to provide the wounded with the necessary medications.

Vladimir region medics who went to Ukraine did not receive the payouts they were promised. Their monthly salary is only 25 to 32 thousand rubles [305 to 390 USD], several times less than the authorities promised them, despite the fact that “they are operating around the clock to save the wounded,” according to the State Duma member Igor Igoshin. In his words, the medics received a note stating they were not war participants but rather volunteers that allegedly work for free.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings, Incidents

The Sevastopol Garrison Military Court sentenced a contract soldier Ismail Dzangiyev, 29, to 10 years in a high-security penal colony for shooting at his commander, whom he thought responsible for the death of his brother and other members of his units in an ambush. Dzangiyev was found guilty of the attempted murder of a fellow soldier and also of violating the statutory relations between military personnel.

The Barnaul Garrison Military Court heard the case of the sailor Yevgeniy Zelenkov. He was accused of two cases of “desertion” during a mobilization campaign. Between Mar. 2022 and Jan. 2023, the contract service member left his unit three times without an acceptable excuse and has already been sentenced under the articles on “going AWOL.” For his third offense, he has been sentenced to nine years in a penal colony under the article on desertion [a more serious charge].

The Novosibirsk Garrison Military Court issued a three-year suspended sentence to the service member Maksim Nikitin for leaving his unit during a mobilization campaign. The man left his unit without an acceptable excuse on Nov. 6, 2022. On Nov. 19, he was detained by Novosibirsk police, who handed him over to the military prosecutors.

The Yekaterinburg Military Garrison Court is taking up four cases, all at the same time, under articles on unauthorized abandonment of a military unit during mobilization. Servicemen Nikita Kozlov, Ilnar Nurislamov, Aleksandr Dyukov, and Aleksandr Akhmetkarimov face up to seven years in prison.

In the Voronezh region, two young men, 19 and 20, are on trial for evading military and alternative civilian service. They face a fine of up to 200 thousand rubles or imprisonment for up to two years.

A 46-year-old serviceman from Novosibirsk was detained at Vnukovo airport with a grenade. According to the man, he had been serving in Luhansk, and then he flew home to Khanty-Mansiysk through Moscow on a short leave. The investigation has been initiated.

In the Rostov region, on the Rostov-Taganrog highway, a mobilized person from Kabardino-Balkaria [Russia’s constituent republic], who was trying to transport 10 TNT explosive blocks in the passenger compartment of a UAZ vehicle, was detained.

Activists Vladimir Sergeev and Anton Zhuchkov from Omsk have been sentenced to 8 and 10 years in prison, respectively. They were found guilty of an attempted arson attack on a police van during an anti-war rally. The Meduza independent media outlet reviewed documents and videos obtained from the Zona Solidarnisti [Zone of Solidarity] project and spoke to the activists' lawyer to explain how the two friends, who were detained at an anti-war rally, became accused of attempted terrorism.


Businessmen's wives will be trained to do business free of charge to replace their husbands who went to war. A special program was launched at the Russian University of Cooperation, the main branch of which is located in Mytishchi near Moscow.

Mikhail Shipulin, chairman of the Duma of the Ordinsky municipal district of the Perm region, sent his own UAZ-3151 cross-country car to replace one of the three UAZ vehicles that burned down in an accident on the way to the war zone. Meanwhile, in the town of Minusinsk, a volunteer workshop was opened for tailoring things for the needs of “special military operation.”


A trolleybus conductor in Chita did not believe a schoolboy that he was the son of a participant in the “special military operation,” despite a certificate from his school. In Stavropol, schoolchildren were made to wear St. George's ribbons which are sold directly at school, although the authorities expressly forbid trading in symbols of military glory.

The mother of a Russian serviceman from Ulyanovsk killed in the war visits schools throughout the region, explaining to schoolchildren the necessity of the "special military operation."

The Voyna Blizko [War is Near] Telegram channel published information that was sent to teachers of school No. 150 in Krasnoyarsk with guidance on how students should behave on the day of the solemn presentation of a posthumous award to the father of a school leaver, which will be held at the school.


The Vyorstka media outlet interviewed some of its male readers who do not plan to leave Russia to avoid being sent to the war, despite the tightening of conscription laws.