mobilization briefs
April 29, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Apr. 27–28, 2023 CIT volunteer summary

Authorities and Legislation

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a number of decrees and laws:

A decree on deportation of residents of occupied territories who advocate for a “forcible change to the foundations of [Russia’s] constitutional order,” finance “terrorist” or “extremist” activities, or participate in “unsanctioned” protest events. The decree entered into force on the date of signing.

A law seeking to tighten the criminal liability for state treason (now punishable by a life imprisonment), terrorism (up to 20 years in prison), aiding and abetting acts of terrorism (up to 7 years in prison), and conspiring to commit acts of terrorism (up to 15 years in prison). Charges under the article on international terrorism may carry a life sentence as well. The maximum penalty for sabotage was increased from 15 to 20 years of imprisonment. Moreover, a penalty of up to 5 years in prison was introduced for those who assist international organizations in the execution of “unlawful decisions.”

An amended law on Russian citizenship. Acquired citizenship can now be revoked if a person is found guilty of disseminating “false information” about the Russian Army, “discrediting” the Russian Armed Forces, cooperating with an “undesirable organization” or failing to submit “foreign agent” reports to authorities. The law will enter into force 180 days after its official publication.

A law on the Central Bank’s field facilities and on the government’s discretion to appoint banks authorized for managing military payments and allowances.

A law allowing conscripts and volunteer fighters to take part in “peacekeeping” missions.

A law extending war veteran status to the members of paramilitary groups and the authorities of the “LPR” and “DPR”, as well as the members of “private military companies.”

A law extending the right to credit holidays to the family members of those fighting in the war in Ukraine, when they are co-borrowers of a loan.

Furthermore, Putin instructed the Ministry of Education and Science, in collaboration with the Ministry of Defense and the Russian Academy of Sciences, to submit proposals, in order to organize “the historical study of the special military operation.” The deadline for this report is Sept. 30, 2023. The Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Education and Science and the Ministry of Defense were also instructed to ensure the creation of museums, “dedicated to the events of the ‘special military operation’ and the heroic deeds of its participants.” They have to report on this assignment until Dec. 30, 2023.

In a meeting dedicated to the development of unmanned aircraft systems, Vladimir Putin stated that school curricula should include “courses and modules that teach how to control unmanned systems”. In his opinion, these skills will be useful to specialists in the agriculture, construction, energy and transport industries.

Russian President’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that the military parade on May 9 will include fighters who are currently involved in the war in Ukraine.

Conscription and Military Service Advertising

Reportedly, wall posters appeared on the buildings of Kazan State University of Architecture and Engineering to advertise contract-based military service. Meanwhile, students of the Cheboksary Pavlov's Music College met with representatives of the 12th Chief Directorate of the Ministry of Defense. Students were told about contract-based military service for people with specialized secondary education as a substitute to conscription.

The Ministry of Defense of Russia has published yet another commercial for contract military service. Meanwhile, the Voronezh Opera and Ballet Theater has posted one of the previously published Ministry of Defense commercials on its Telegram channel.

The residents of the town of Zarechny near Penza received utility bills advertising contract military service. They contain information about payments due for the destruction of military vehicles, injury, or death. An advertisement for contract military service with the slogan “For the Motherland! For Stalingrad! [name of Volgograd in 1925-1961]” has appeared in Volgograd. In the town of Severouralsk, Sverdlovsk region, a mobile contract military service recruitment facility has been set up near the Sovremennik Palace of Culture.

The authorities of Voronezh have asked owners of malls and office buildings to help with the recruitment of contract soldiers for the army. The city administration, referring to the order of the governor, is looking for locations to place advertising materials and "conduct propaganda work."

More details about the video filmed near the Babushkinsky draft office in Moscow have become known. According to the Idite Lesom [Flee through the woods/Get lost you all] project, the man was taken to the draft office to pass the draft board. He had his medical documents with him, which were ignored by the draft board. After the man was forcibly put into a car to be taken to a collection point, contact with him was lost.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The list of those killed in the war now includes Sergey Samsonov and Yevgeny Gureev from the Vladimir region, Yevgeny Starodubtsev from the Voronezh region, Sergey Zuev from the Rostov region, Aleksandr Kurtov from the Novosibirsk region, Eduard Kyzhinaev from Khakassia [Russia’s constituent republic], and Farrukh Asadov from the Volgograd region.

Journalists from Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] and BBC News Russian, together with volunteers, used open sources to confirm the deaths of 21,700 Russian soldiers, including 2,001 mobilized soldiers. In the last two weeks, the list of those killed has expanded by 1,249 names, of which 101 were the mobilized.

A mobilized soldier from the Astrakhan region has filed a lawsuit against his military unit. The trial will be held behind closed doors. According to the soldier, during the mobilization in September, he failed a medical examination and had previously been discharged from the army for alcoholism. After being mobilized, he was admitted to a military hospital due to alcohol abuse. The soldier's lawyer admitted that his client may face criminal charges of desertion during mobilization (part 5 of article 337 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).

According to Commissioner for Children's Rights in the Krasnoyarsk region Irina Miroshnikova, only 11 of 59 petitions by local residents to return their mobilized fathers or grant them a deferment from service were successful.

Mediazona reports about the story of Dmitry Udovenko, a resident of Petrozavodsk, who enlisted under a contract in the fall of 2022, and now cannot resign because of the decree on mobilization. At home, he left a newborn baby and a wife who had been diagnosed with cancer. Rather than getting paid 200-300 thousand rubles a month as promised, which Dmitry intended to use to cover his wife's medical treatment and pay off his personal debts, he gets paid 30 thousand rubles instead.

Mediazona also drew attention to the sharp increase in the number of repayment breaks granted in March 2023, according to the data of the Central Bank. This may indicate that new participants have joined the war. At the end of March, repayment breaks were granted under 188,000 loan agreements. The Central Bank did not report on the number of servicemen and their family members who received benefits.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings, and Incidents

The Chita Garrison Military Court sentenced a conscripted junior sergeant to a fine of 30 thousand rubles for the use of force against a fellow serviceman in a military unit in the Zabaikalsky region. He attacked a fellow soldier for smoking an e-cigarette.

In Vladivostok, 60-year-old Nikolay Pivovarov, a repeat offender, was put on the wanted list. He is fighting in the war as part of the Tiger volunteer battalion, formed by the Governor of the Primorsky region, Oleg Kozhemyako. Pivovarov is the suspect in the murder of a security guard on Russky Island.

According to the pro-Kremlin media, the teenager accused of plotting sabotage in the Kaluga region said that he was instructed to do so by a representative of the Russian Volunteer Corps aka RDK [a paramilitary unit whose members claim they are Russians who fight for Ukraine]. Sources close to RDK provided comments on this matter to the independent Sota news outlet. According to them, the organization does not recruit people currently residing in Russia, and also does not use Telegram bots to recruit members.

Astra (Telegram channel) reports that the body of a mobilized soldier Ilya Belyaev, who served in the 138th Brigade, was found in a ravine in Alekseyevka, Belgorod region. According to investigators, he committed suicide by blowing himself up with a grenade.

The Vladivostok Garrison Military Court sentenced a mobilized soldier to 2 years and 3 months in prison for failing to comply with the order and refusing to participate in the war. The defendant pleaded guilty and the case was tried under a special procedure.

A volunteer soldier from the Arkhangelsk region is facing up to 10 years in prison for going AWOL. Last summer, the man signed a short-term contract and went to war. Two weeks before his contract was due to expire, he went home, where he checked in at the local military commissariat [enlistment office], and then went to his military unit to terminate the contract. For several months he lived unaware at home with his family until he found out that he was wanted by police.

Another attempt to set fire to a relay cabinet occurred on Apr. 27 in the Moscow region, on the Selyatino — Aprelevka stretch. The opened cabinet was discovered by an electromechanic. Law enforcement officials are investigating, and no one has been detained yet.

A graduate student of the Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University was arrested until Jun. 25 for attempting to set fire to a museum in Pushkin "due to political enmity." The man was charged with hooliganism. According to the Fontanka media outlet, he said during questioning that two unknown persons called him, threatening to draft him into the army, and tried to persuade him to set fire to the military commissariat.


Soldiers from the Española Battalion, composed of former soccer hooligans fighting in Ukraine, came to give a lesson to college students in St. Petersburg. However, the meeting did not go as planned: the teenagers bombarded the soldiers with uncomfortable questions about killing civilians, Nazi patches worn by Russian volunteer fighters, and belief in God. As a result, the college administration issued reprimands to five students. A Ukrainian war participant also visited one of the kindergartens in Tatarstan [Russia’s constituent republic], where he allegedly answered children's questions.


Watch groups were created in Moscow to patrol the city and search for drones during the May holidays. Public sector employees will be on duty in the courtyard areas of their enterprises during the holidays. Night shifts are scheduled from Apr. 27 to May 9 inclusive. In addition to visual control of airspace, patrols will monitor attics and basements, suspicious objects and vehicles.

The Govorit NeMoskva [Not Moscow Speaking] independent media outlet published a story of Vitaly Votanovsky, an activist from Krasnodar, who photographed graves of those killed in Ukraine to draw people's attention to what was happening. Recently he was forced to leave Russia because of threats.

The ABZ Bely Rast company from Moscow sent migrants to dig trenches in Ukraine. After part of the work was completed, the company paid only 600 thousand rubles out of the required 800 thousand rubles. Several workers returned to Russia, but some are still in the occupied territories. When the workers complained to the police, officers arrested two of them and tried to intimidate them by threatening them with long terms in prison. The leaders of the ABZ Bely Rast company claim that they have paid the wages in full.