mobilization briefs
April 22, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Apr. 20–21, 2023 CIT volunteer summary 


Members of “A Just Russia — For Truth” [political party in Russia] have proposed an additional tax on citizens earning more than 12 million rubles a year. They want to increase the personal income tax rate for them by 2%. The funds raised are proposed to be directed to the "Fund for the Support of Mobilized Soldiers and Their Families." Earlier, the President of the Russian Federation signed a decree creating another state fund to support war participants called the "Defenders of the Fatherland." Its supervisory board is headed by the Deputy Chief of the Presidential Administration Sergey Kiriyenko, and the fund itself is headed by Anna Tsivilyova, who, according to the Project [independent Russian media outlet], is the President's cousin.

Draft boards do not comply with the directives of the Ministry of Defense, including the directive on deferment for fathers of three or more children. This follows from the response of the head of the Main Organizational and Mobilization Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Yevgeny Burdinsky, to the request of State Duma [lower house of Russia's Federal Assembly] member Yaroslav Nilov. According to Burdinsky, since the draft board of any constituent entity of the Russian Federation is headed by the governor, and the draft board of the municipal entity is headed by the head of the local administration, they decide whether to grant a deferment or not. Therefore, the draft board does not obey the Ministry of Defense, and therefore, the directives of the General Staff do not apply to it.

The Military Ombudsman Telegram channel studied the draft law on mobilization into the Russian National Guard [Rosgvardia] and the police proposed by members of the State Duma  Alexander Khinshtein. Citizens in the reserve of the Armed Forces who previously served in the Russian National Guard will be called up to serve in the Russian National Guard. The deferments provided by law and reservation during mobilization apply to them. Unlike mobilization into the Russian National Guard, the draft law does not describe the procedure for mobilization into the police. It is assumed that the criteria for those subject to mobilization and the procedure for their service will be determined by the President.

Meduza [an international Russian-language online media outlet] has published a detailed review of the concept of treason in Russian legislation in connection with the new amendments to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation passed by the State Duma. Lawyers from the Perviy Otdel [First Department] human rights project have helped Meduza to make the review. Recall that now a life sentence can be given for treason.

The Kremlin will try to avoid the topic of war during the election campaigns of governors. According to the sources in the authorities of the Vyorstka media outlet, such a strategy is needed to show that there are no problems caused by the war within the country and that everything is calm in Russia.

Digital Draft Notices

The authorities of Saint Petersburg, as well as MinTsifry [Ministry of Digital Development, Communications, and Mass Media] earlier, deny the start of serving digital draft notices via the Gosuslugi public services portal in Saint Petersburg. Earlier, the military commissar [head of the enlistment office] of the city said that the process had been launched in test mode.

The Council of Mothers and Wives, led by Olga Tsukanova, has filed a complaint with the Prosecutor General's Office of Russia, the State Duma, and the Investigative Committee of Russia, demanding to ban the serving of digital draft notices and completely cancel the new amendments. And activists from Samara city have started a petition against the law on digital draft notices. At the time of the summary release, it had already been signed by 115 thousand of people.

Conscripts and Military Service Advertising

There are reports of a mass serving of draft notices to students in Moscow. Students of Moscow State University report that draft notices are being served in the university dormitory in the southwest of Moscow. The Protestny MGU [Protesting MSU] and Perviy Universitetsky [First University] Telegram channels also write about this. One of the draft notices received by a student of MSU states that he needs to appear at the draft office “for the events related to conscription for military service.” Recently the Idite Lesom [Flee through the woods/Get lost you all] project, which helps to avoid conscription, reported raids on potential conscripts in Moscow.

Draft notices are also being delivered in the dormitories of MISIS [National University of Science and Technology] and the Kosygin Russian State University, the Doxa online student magazine wrote, referring to a student who had already visited the draft office. The young man reported having been pushed to enroll into conscription service despite being entitled to a deferment as a full-time student.

Students of the Higher School of Economics are also being summoned to the military enlistment office. They are being called in for a “military registration data check-up,” a subscriber to the ChTD Telegram channel reports. An employee of the institution insists that the draft notices are being sent out with the only purpose of updating the conscripts’ personal details.

In response to media reports about full-time university students receiving draft notices, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated: “This is the first time I hear about it.” Moreover, Peskov once again denied that the Kremlin was considering a second round of military mobilization for the war in Ukraine, but confirmed that routine conscription activities are being brought up to date with digital technologies.

Russia’s Ministry of Defense released another video ad for its military recruitment campaign. Meanwhile, residents of Arkhangelsk reported having seen video advertisements seeking contract soldiers on city buses.

Mobilized Soldiers Killed in the War

The list of casualties Russia sustained in the war against Ukraine now includes mobilized service members Nikolay Ignatyev from Nizhnevartovsk, Vladimir Bayev from the Ryazan region, Andrey Tropin from the Vologda region, Ildar Valiyev from Bashkortostan, Grigory Tretyakov from the Arkhangelsk region, as well as Alan Naifonov and Pavel Yakimchuk from the Leningrad region, Ilya Alekseyev from the Perm region, Anatoly Samoylov from the Krasnoyarsk region, Taras Vovchok from the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous region, Sergey Polyakov from the Perm region and Aleksey Mikhailichenko from the Krasnodar region.

Problems and Appeals

About 40 servicemen who refused to fight in Ukraine are illegally detained in a military unit in the village of Pakino, Vladimir region. Both contract servicemen and draftees are among the detained. An investigation is underway against a number of the servicemen, while the rest are under a pre-investigation probe. Although the servicemen were not detained by the court, they are being held in a military unit.

A draftee from Russia's constituent Republic of Bashkortostan does not get paid for five months. His sister appealed to head of Bashkortostan Radiy Khabirov on his social network page. She said that her brother had not received any money for five months and had not been assisted in solving this problem.

The Mozhem Ob'yasnit [We can explain] Telegram channel reports about several families of draftees killed in the war. These families could not receive insurance payments for months. It seems that the SOGAZ insurance company and military units are not interested in helping relatives of deceased draftees. Ekaterina from Krasnoobsk, Novosibirsk region, is also seeking death gratuity lump sum for her husband killed in the war. After her husband had been mobilized and was killed, the woman was left alone with two children.

A contract serviceman from a military unit in the Moscow region wrote to Vladimir Putin asking to dismiss him from service. In early October, he signed a three-month contract. Currently, Dmitry is serving his seventh month, during which his wife was diagnosed with cancer. After the contract expired, Dmitry tried to quit the service and return home. The man, however, was denied due to the mobilization decree. According to law, dismissing a serviceman from service is only possible by decree of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief.

Sentences and incidents

An English teacher from Kansk, Krasnoyarsk region, was sentenced to 2 years and 10 days in prison for shooting his rifle at a banner advertising contract military service. On Oct. 16, 2022, he shot at the banner reading “Contract service — your best choice” in the center of Kansk with a hunting rifle registered to him. The court found the 35-year-old man guilty of vandalism with the use of weapons (part 2 of Article 213 of the Russian Criminal Code) and of threatening to kill a neighbor whom he met after shooting at the banner (Article 119 of the Criminal Code). The teacher said that after his arrest he was tortured and forced to confess to the arson of the local military enlistment office.

In the Kaluga region, FSB [Federal Security Service] officers detained four local residents suspected of setting fire to relay cabinets. Among the detainees were three 18-year-old boys and one 17-year-old girl. According to the investigators, on Apr. 13 and 16, the detainees set fire to several relay cabinets near the Vorotynsk station. A few days later, the special services managed to identify the arsonists, and on Apr. 20, they were detained. An investigation is in progress.

The media outlet reports more sentences passed to servicemen for going AWOL. The Borzya Garrison Military Court sentenced junior sergeant Yevgeny Efimov to 5 years and 4 months of probation for unauthorized abandonment of his military unit. The man left the unit without good reason on Aug. 24, 2022 and upon learning that he was being sought, gave himself up on Dec. 30, 2022. In the meantime, the Tomsk Garrison Military Court sentenced mobilized private Mikhail Dudarev to 2 years of probation for leaving his unit. On Dec. 15, he left the location of the unit and headed home, but returned of his own free will on Jan. 13, 2023.

Two citizens of Belarus were arrested in December in Moscow. Despite their monthslong pre-trial detention, news of their arrest surfaced only now. Artyom Bressky and Kirill Basko are charged with sabotage. According to investigators, they set fire to an electric locomotive in a railway yard at the Orekhovo-Zuyevo train station and got paid for it.

A criminal case on the grounds of calls for terrorism has been brought against Maria Menshikova, the head of the news department of Doxa. Reportedly, the pretext for the case was a post on Doxa’s page on the VKontakte social network in which the outlet suggested that readers write letters in support of Russians who were in prison for setting fire to military enlistment offices. Investigators have concluded that the post contained “signs of justification of terrorism” and “incitement to terrorist activists.”

A resident of the Novgorod region, who has returned from the war in Ukraine, is suspected of rape and murder of his cohabiting partner. The murder happened at the end of March in the village of Borki in the Novgorodsky district. The “7x7” online outlet reports that the woman fell victim to a group of men, led by her partner Edouard Antoshkin, during a gathering with food and alcoholic drinks. Law enforcers launched a criminal investigation into the murder and suspect Antoshkin.

The court has dropped the case of limiting the parental rights of Masha Moskalyova’s parents. As we said earlier, the Commission for Juvenile Affairs rejected the corresponding lawsuit.

A 61-year-old resident of the Russia’s constituent Republic of Komi, who was sent to a pre-trial detention center for two months for attempting to set a draft office on fire, was included on the list of terrorists and extremists. A criminal case was opened against her for attempted terrorism.

The Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation accused a 47-year-old resident of Sevastopol, who was detained by security forces on suspicion of "treason," of planning an act of terror. It was reported by the Russian media with reference to the press service of the FSB. The man allegedly planned to set one of the city's administrative premises on fire.

The Sota Telegram channel reported that Aleksandr Efimov, a chief of police from the Smolensk region, is suspected of attempting to take weapons and ammunition from the war zone. According to the investigators, he illegally acquired and tried to take out 28 ammunition rounds, a Kalashnikov rifle, and four grenades during a business trip to the "LPR." Efimov was detained, and a criminal case was initiated against him.

Assistance and children

Mobilized soldiers from the Tyumen region asked the governor of the region for another benefit: to help in the gasification of housing. Aleksandr Moor agreed and expanded the list of preferential categories of citizens who can reckon on a subsidy for gas pipelines. However, the wives of the mobilized found out in the administration of the region that the benefits do not apply to non-residents of Tyumen.

Pavel Matveev, a soldier who returned from the war in Ukraine, met with schoolchildren from the town of Kolchugino, Vladimir region. A poetry recitation contest called Constellation of Talents was held in one of the kindergartens of the Stavropol region. The contest was held as part of the Russia Connects Hearts campaign. Kindergarten children dressed in army uniforms recited poems about Russia and the war.


Mayor of the Stavropol town of Nevinnomyssk Mikhail Minenkov posted a video on his Telegram channel in which he complained that citizens did not want to put Z symbols on their cars for fear that their cars would then be vandalized. Meanwhile, the mayor's office of Kineshma, Ivanovo region, prohibited the Russian Communist Party from holding a motor rally on May 1, citing an increased level of the terrorist threat. Instead, the communists were offered to take part in the May 9th motor rally in support of those who fight in Ukraine.

The Dovod online publication reports that when mobilization started, five lawyers from Vladimir came together and created the Committee of Military Lawyers in order to jointly provide qualified legal assistance to residents of the region that are trying to avoid being mobilized.

After the law on "digital draft notices" had been passed, the chances of successfully avoiding being forced to fight in Ukraine considerably decreased. Nevertheless, this law did not lead to a noticeable public reaction in Russia and did not provoke a new wave of emigration. Meduza asked readers who remain in Russia to share their feelings and how they react to being encouraged to leave as soon as possible.