mobilization briefs
April 26, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Apr. 24–25, 2023 CIT volunteer summary

Authorities and Legislation

First Deputy Prosecutor General Anatoliy Razinkin stated that prosecutors identified more than 12,000 breaches of the law during mobilization in Russia and prevented the illegal draft of 15,000 people.

State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] Deputy Sergey Shargunov proposed to introduce a rule, suspending on appeal a draft board’s decision, until “a court decision enters into force”. Such a rule had recently been repealed by the new legislation on Digital Draft Notices.

The government withdrew a bill to amend income tax payments rules for Russians who’ve left the country. The press service of the government stated that the document was withdrawn “for clarifications.” The withdrawal was not reflected in the database of the State Duma. According to sources of the Vyorstka media outlet, the government withdrew the bill because it was poorly prepared from the legal point of view, and its appearance provoked a public outcry. Journalists from Vyorstka and Meduza [international Russian-language online media outlet] published analyses of the legislative initiative.

Military Service Advertising, Volunteer Fighters’ Recruitment and Draft Notices

Subscribers of the Astra Telegram channel report that Channel One [state-controlled television channel] has also started airing military service ads, following similar campaigns on NTV [Russian free-to-air television channel] and Match-TV [Russian federal sports channel owned by Gazprom Media]. The Ministry of Defense has published yet another video advertising contract-based military service on its Telegram channel. Meanwhile, a series of animated videos called Azbuka SVO [literally “alphabet of the special military operation”], published on YouTube, teaches urban warfare, building clearing and trench digging. The narrator is Ivan Okhlobystin [Russian actor, director, screenwriter].

The Mozhem Ob'yasnit [We can explain] Telegram channel reports that the Zhilishchnik State Budgetary Institution [Moscow utility provider] tries to recruit its migrant employees in a certain “private military company”, affiliated with the Ministry of Defense. According to human rights activists, the effectiveness of such activities is extremely low. Those who hesitate to go to war are instead invited to rebuild the occupied territories. Meanwhile, migrants taken to construction sites are often reportedly not allowed to return to Russia from the occupied territories.

Convicts are recruited into so-called PMCs (Private Military Companies) linked to the Ministry of Defense. Former member of the Public Observation Commission and journalist Oksana Asaulenko reports on the recruitment of convicts from penal colony No.12 in Gubakha, Perm region. They are offered a six-month contract with a salary of 205,000 rubles per month. In case of injury, a payment of 3 million rubles is promised, and in case of death, 5 million rubles. A pardon follows, but a former convict is required to sign another contract for one year.

In Bashkortostan [Russia’s constituent republic], a medical unit has been formed for voluntary battalions, according to the head of the regional administration. It will include doctors, nurses, instructors, and medics.

The military academy in Blagoveshchensk is graduating cadets three months earlier than usual: on Apr. 29 instead of the previously established Jul. 23. The reasons for such a shortening of the training period are not explained by the leadership of the educational institution. Young lieutenants are writing their theses "taking into account the experience of the special military operation." Graduates of the military academy will become platoon commanders in motorized rifle, mountain, or Arctic units, or in the marine infantry.

In the Krasnoyarsk region, students of a technical school were forced to sign a consent form for the processing of personal data for the military commissariat [enlistment office]. The consent form required them to provide their personal document numbers, the name and code of their specialty, the expected date of graduation from the technical school, and other information. The next day, the technical school started promoting military service under contract.

Draft notices have been handed out to students of Moscow universities. Meduza [an international Russian-language online media outlet] covered how Moscow students faced the spring draft and discussed the best way to handle the situation.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

Aleksandr Petrov from Arkhangelsk, Aleksandr Galitsin from the Sverdlovsk region, and Aleksandr Vladimirov from Tatarstan [Russia's constituent republic] joined the list of the mobilized soldiers killed in the war.

Relatives of mobilized soldiers from the Altai region [federal subject of Russia] complain about the lack of information about the soldiers' whereabouts, as well as the information pertaining to the accumulated vacation time and pays owed to them. The [regional] military commissariat, in response to requests from relatives for information, refers them to the command of the unit, and the command of the unit refers them back to the military commissariat.

The Kholod ["Cold," independent media outlet] tells the story of a mobilized man who contracted HIV in a hospital in Simferopol. After returning to the unit, he was placed in a "zindan" — a dungeon prison for delinquent mobilized soldiers. However, thanks to his brother's actions and publication in the media, after 16 days, he was eventually transferred to a hospital. We have previously mentioned his story in our summaries.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings, and Incidents

A mobilized resident of Berezovsky [a town in the Sverdlovsk region], has been sentenced to six years in prison for going AWOL. Last fall, the man was mobilized, despite health problems — he is missing almost all his teeth. His wife fought for his return and even managed to get him home. However, on Apr. 25, it became known that the man was sentenced to a term of six years for unauthorized leave of the military unit. Presently, he is in a penal colony in Nizhny Tagil.

In the Zabaykalsky region, a mobilized soldier was sentenced to seven years in a maximum security penal colony for desertion. According to the court, he left his military unit in November last year and was not going to return back there. In January, the man was arrested by the police.

A contract soldier, father of many children, was sentenced to five and a half years in a penal colony for unauthorized abandonment of a military unit during mobilization. The man signed a contract on Jul. 27, 2022, and on Sept. 26 he did not return to the unit. On Dec. 15, his car was stopped by the traffic police. Then it turned out that he was a serviceman and was wanted. After that, a criminal case was initiated against him.

An 18-year-old conscript who was drafted from Russia’s constituent Republic of Adygea has fled from a military unit in Aksay, Rostov region. The reason for the escape is still unknown.

A conscript fled from the unit due to systematic beatings by fellow soldiers. According to his father, the man is currently undergoing treatment in a psychiatric hospital. The issue of his detention is currently being considered.

A serviceman from the Rostov region has been sentenced to 14 years in a maximum security penal colony on charges of state treason. It is not known exactly what the soldier was accused of as the trial was held in closed session and the case materials are classified.

In the Vologda region, a military serviceman fired a traumatic pistol at a police officer. The conflict occurred after police officers came to search for a former comrade-in-arms of this serviceman, who left the unit without permission.

In Crimea, a 22-year-old local established a channel for smuggling military products abroad. He sent the goods through postal offices under the guise of civilian products. Two criminal cases have been initiated against him under the article "Smuggling of Other Weapons", and he faces up to seven years in prison.

In Moscow, a man tried to carry a grenade into the Lermontovsky Prospekt metro station. It was found during a baggage search.

Five residents of Krasnoyarsk were arrested on charges of sabotage on the railway. The suspects were detained in January. First, a criminal case was initiated against the detainees under the article on damage to property, which provides for up to five years in prison. Subsequently, the article was tightened to sabotage, and now the 17-year-old suspect faces up to 10 years in prison, the rest — from 12 to 20 years.

According to the Baza Telegram channel, in the past few days alone, there have been five cases of arson of relay cabinets on railways in four regions of Russia.

The Department of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs for the Sakhalin Region reports that the account on the Gosuslugi public services portal of a resident of Sakhalin was hacked, and he was signed up as a volunteer fighter for the “special military operation.”


Head of Buryatia [Russia’s constituent republic] Aleksey Tsydenov published a post on his Telegram channel about the well-established supply chain for participants of the “special military operation” to provide them with cars, equipment, food, medicines and other things. Meanwhile, in the Leningrad region, employees of the Comprehensive Center for Social Services for the Population are engaged in making camouflage nets right at the workplace during lunch breaks and after work.

Elena Penzina, a member of the Legislative Assembly of the Krasnoyarsk region, reported that, to her request for financing of maxillofacial operations for wounded participants of the "special military operation" at the expense of the budget, the Ministry of Health replied that it did not consider it necessary to expand the list of medical services provided under compulsory medical insurance policies, since the list did contain all necessary options. Earlier, we reported about an enthusiastic doctor who carries out prosthetics restoring the faces of injured Russian servicemen at the expense of charitable organizations.


On May 7, the Operation Bagration military-patriotic reconstruction will be held in the Sovetsky town, Khanty-Mansiysk autonomous region [federal subject of Russia]. The event is designed to remind young people of Russian history and raise a patriotic spirit in them.

The Ministry of Education of Russia showed a fragment of a new history textbook. In particular, it speaks of the heroism of the Akhmat special forces regiment in the battles for Mariupol and the desire of Russian citizens to assist the participants of the “special military operation.” The textbook will be adopted at schools in the next academic year.

Students continue to be recruited for participation in online surveys about their attitudes towards Putin and the war in Ukraine. This time, such information came from students of the Mechnikov State Medical Academy in St. Petersburg. As in previous cases, students need to be authorized either through the VKontakte social network or by phone number to take the survey.


The authorities of Chelyabinsk announced a competition for the best bomb shelter and urged the heads of organizations using civil defense protective structures to participate in it. The winners will be determined in three categories: shelters with a capacity of up to 150 people, from 150 to 600 people, and over 600 people.

The Meduza media outlet found out who will build the “Digital Gulag” for Russians subject to military service. According to the outlet’s sources, RT Labs [Rostelecom subsidiary], which already services the Gosuslugi public services portal and other state data systems, will be directly responsible for building the common register of Russians subject to military service. The article tells in detail about the company’s leaders and what a “headache” digitalization has become for the officials themselves.