mobilization briefs
April 13

Mobilization in Russia for April 11-12, 2024 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

Lawmakers have proposed to limit funds recovery from bankrupt participants of the war against Ukraine. On April 12, a group of senators and members of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] introduced a bill granting the government the authority to exempt military payments from servicemembers’ bankruptcy estates. It would also prohibit financial managers from blocking the bank accounts and cards of citizens who have joined the war effort. However, exemptions would not extend to alimony payments or death gratuities [compensations for losses resulting from the death of a primary wage earner].

Authorities and Relatives of Mobilized Soldiers

The Put Domoy [Way Home] movement has launched a web site, as reported by the Sirena Telegram channel. The site features announcements of upcoming flower-laying protests and "Empty Pots Marches," as well as a link to the movement’s permanent Telegram channel. The next protests are scheduled to take place on April 13: a flower-laying ceremony at 12 p.m. and an "Empty Pots March" at 5 p.m local time.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

According to the Kavkaz.Realii media outlet, personnel who previously served military bases in Chechnya are now being sent to the war against Ukraine. This practice reportedly began in the spring of 2023. Individuals facing deployment stated that their only alternatives are to find a substitute volunteer or pay a large bribe.

The Perm 36.6 online media outlet discovered on the website of the Lysva urban district administration a resolution, signed on April 9, regarding the establishment of a "commission for mobilizing citizens, staying in reserve." The document outlines the commission's responsibilities, which include preparing for mobilization well in advance, searching for draft dodgers and ensuring that decisions regarding mobilization announced by the President of the Russian Federation are communicated to citizens and organizations. The document also mentions the office of the Federal Security Service (FSB) in Lysva, tasked with identifying citizens "engaged in anti-army propaganda" and preventing "provocative and inciting activities."

Residents of Moscow are reporting a new wave of messages from the portal [public services portal for Muscovites] about "digital draft notices." These messages now threaten recipients with administrative and criminal liability in case of failure to report to military commissariats [enlistment offices]. However, according to the Voyennye Advokaty [Military Lawyers] Telegram channel, under the Regulation on Conscription for Military Service, military commissariats are authorized to send digital notices through the Register of Russians subject to military service. There is currently no information about the launch of the register, which means that Moscow’s "digital draft notices" are simply notifications from a legal standpoint. They do not entail legal responsibility for failing to report to military commissariats. Until the register is launched, draft notices can either be delivered in person with the recipient's signature or sent via registered mail with a delivery notification.

In the city of Makhachkala, a conscript engaged in a scuffle with police officers who were trying to forcibly take him to the military commissariat. The scuffle was captured on video and later, an audio recording from the person in the video appeared on messengers, claiming that he was being forcibly detained and pressured to sign a draft notice. The video prompted a response from the republican military commissariat, which stated that the young man was summoned based on an existing draft notice. In spring 2024, Dagestan [Russia’s constituent republic] plans to conscript 4,000 people.

The resident of Ryazan, Aleksandr Logunov, who was convicted of murdering his wife, Elena, by strangling her and staging her disappearance, has been released from prison to participate in the war in Ukraine. In 2021, Logunov had reported his wife missing, claiming she had left home and not returned. In August 2022, he was arrested for distributing child pornography, and a month later, a bag containing the remains of his wife was discovered. In November 2023, Logunov was sentenced to 11 years in a maximum-security penal colony for the murder of his wife. In April, it was revealed that Logunov had signed a contract and left for war.

Mobilized Soldiers, Volunteer Fighters and Contract Soldiers

Based on open sources, Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] and BBC News Russian, together with volunteers, have verified the names of 50,471 Russian fighters killed in Ukraine, including 6,067 mobilized soldiers. In the past week alone, the list has expanded with the addition of 455 military personnel, including 28 mobilized soldiers. However, the actual number of deaths, as reported by the National Probate Registry and current as of March 15, 2024, stands at approximately 85,000 men. The number of deceased soldiers identified by journalists and volunteers on social media remains consistently around 1,200 per week throughout 2024, with the majority of them not being professional soldiers.

The information about the death of single father Igor Bogdanov in the war has vanished from the website of the Engelssky Municipal District. Initially, during the September 2022 mobilization, authorities attempted to conscript him, but due to a wave of public outcry, he was returned to his family. However, the reasons behind why he ultimately ended up on the frontline and subsequently was killed remain unclear.

A funeral was held for Ilsur Fathutdinov in Russia's constituent Republic of Tatarstan. Fathutdinov, who had been on contract military service since 2016, participated "from the very first days" in the full-scale invasion. He was killed on Feb. 3.The announcement did not mention that in 2023, Fathutdinov was sentenced to five and a half years of imprisonment for going AWOL and living with relatives for five months in 2022. It remains unclear how Fathutdinov once again found himself on the battlefield; however, recruiting convicts to the war is a common practice.

Irina Faevskaya, the Commissioner for Human Rights in the Moscow region, reported that last year, she received inquiries from the relatives of 150 military personnel who were either missing in action or held captive as prisoners of war. Over the year, 18 soldiers were successfully repatriated. Throughout the same period, 453 appeals were made on behalf of and concerning military personnel, addressing 463 different issues. Service members also filed complaints regarding the denial of their leave entitlements.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

In Sakhalin, a military court has sentenced a serviceman to eight years in a penal colony for going AWOL. According to investigators, the soldier left his unit on Feb. 26, 2023, to visit his family. Almost a year later, on Feb. 6, 2024, he reported to his unit, and a criminal case was subsequently initiated against him.

In Abakan, a military court has sentenced serviceman Andrey Lebedev to five years in a penal colony for going AWOL. Lebedev failed to report for duty on April 24, 2023, but later reported to the commandant's office on July 5.

Garrison military courts of the Southern Military District have considered new cases against mobilized soldiers and contract soldiers who were accused of going AWOL.

  • Mobilized soldier Timur Dzharmukhambetov has received a two-year sentence in a penal colony. He fled home from his temporary deployment location twice, but was apprehended and returned to his unit each time. The court took into account his participation in the invasion of Ukraine and his intention to return to the frontline as mitigating factors.
  • Mobilized soldier Ivan Platonov's sentence has been reduced from seven to six years in a maximum security penal colony. In addition to going AWOL, he was also charged with desertion. Platonov explained his absence by the need to take care of his three children, as his wife was experiencing severe difficulties with her pregnancy. Despite promising in court to go to the war zone, this did not significantly affect the verdict.
  • Contract soldier Denis Davydov has been sentenced to five and a half years in a penal colony. Davydov told the court that his unit's commanding officer had repeatedly ignored his requests for leave to take care of his seriously ill mother. Consequently, Davydov returned home with the intention of rejoining his unit once he arranged for someone to care for his mother. He provided his address to his commanding officer but was later detained. Despite arguments regarding his participation in the war in Ukraine and being awarded a medal, these factors did not influence the verdict.
  • Contract soldier Shamil Dzhavatkhanov has received seven years in a penal colony for twice going AWOL and subsequently returning. Dzhavatkhanov claimed that his commanding officer had allowed him to leave for medical treatment on the first occasion. On the second instance, he stated that he failed to return due to his involvement in a car accident.
  • Vladimir Bondarenko, who signed a contract with the Ministry of Defense in March 2022, has been sentenced to seven years in a penal colony. Bondarenko fled his military unit three times in 2023. Although he returned voluntarily twice, he was detained by the commandant's office on the last occasion.

In March 2024, Russian courts issued 684 sentences for criminal cases of going AWOL, as reported by Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet]. This means that courts were issuing an average of 34 sentences per day. The number of cases against refuseniks significantly increased after the announcement of mobilization in September 2022, but the pace in 2024 has reached unprecedented levels. Since the beginning of 2024, approximately 2,300 cases of AWOL have been brought to military courts, and since the start of mobilization, nearly 7,400 cases. The regions with the highest number of cases are the Moscow (496 cases), Sverdlovsk (258) and Orenburg (255) regions. As before, most sentences for such cases remain suspended so that servicemen can be sent to the frontline. Since the beginning of mobilization, 254 cases of desertion and 536 cases of failure to execute orders have been brought to Russian courts.

The Tomsk Garrison Military Court has received the criminal case of serviceman Radmir Mustafin, who is accused of desecrating the Russian flag. The prosecution alleges that Mustafin, in the presence of others, tore off the emblem of the Russian Armed Forces from his military uniform, which bore the image of the country's flag, and exclaimed "Glory to Ukraine" as he threw it to the ground and trampled it with his boot, as stated in the court's decision. According to prosecutors, Mustafin's actions showed signs of "political hatred and enmity."

The Algiz partisan movement has claimed responsibility for burning a relay cabinet in the Smolensk region. According to their statement, the arsonist "has not been found. And will not be found."

In the Kaliningrad region, the FSB has detained two local residents, born in 2001 and 2002, on suspicion of organizing a sabotage conspiracy and cooperation with the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). According to law enforcement, one of the suspects established contact with an SBU officer and, under his direction, created a sabotage conspiracy aimed at setting fire to transportation and communication infrastructure equipment. The second suspect allegedly joined that conspiracy on his own accord, seeking opportunities to commit sabotage. The detained individuals are now facing criminal charges of organizing a sabotage conspiracy and participating in it.

A computer programmer from Mordovia has been detained in the Saratov region as he was attempting to cross the border into Kazakhstan. Intelligence services allege that the man "called for financing AFU activities, the murder of officials and arson at military facilities inside Russia." Described as a "computer programmer employed by a foreign company," he is now facing charges of condoning terrorism.

In Ussuriysk, the FSB has detained a local resident who posted a video on his VKontakte social network page praising the SBU. According to the agency, the 50-year-old Primorsky region resident is said to be a supporter of the "Russian Volunteer Corps" and the "Freedom of Russia Legion." He is facing charges under the article on public calls for terrorism. A video published by the News.VI news outlet showed the detained individual apologizing to the participants of the "special military operation" and expressing remorse for his actions.

The Federal Security Service (FSB) in the Krasnodar region has reported the detention of a local resident who, purportedly acting on his own initiative, consented to collect and transmit information about the activities of the RuAF and other security agencies within the territory of the Krasnodar region.

According to findings from court records, the Mozhem Ob'yasnit [We Can Explain] Telegram channel has revealed a twofold surge in cases linked to terrorism justification since the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, increasing from 56 to 126. These cases are considered by military courts behind closed doors, with investigations conducted by the FSB. Public statements made by anti-war activists or even ordinary citizens can be deemed as terrorism justification.

Lyubov Lizunova, a ninth-grader from Chita, accused of extremism over graffiti reading “Death to the regime,” has been transferred to a pre-trial detention center after months of house arrest. Lizunova and her friend, 19-year-old Aleksandr Snezhkov, were detained in October 2022 for writing the aforementioned graffiti in a garage cooperative in Chita. The teenagers face criminal charges for involvement in terrorist activities, vandalism motivated by political hatred and extremism.

Children and Educational System

Vitaliy Bobylchenko, director of the Shakhty Cossack Cadet Corps, his deputy Irina Chertova and other employees were given awards for their achievements in patriotic education. However, earlier in October 2023, ninth-grader Aleksey Marinets reported that Bobylchenko insulted him and assaulted him for using his phone during lessons.

At Chuvash State University, students were ordered to weave camouflage nets instead of attending classes. Meanwhile, students from a school for children with disabilities in the town of Zainsk, Tatarstan, were involved in making crutches for the  soldiers of the "special military operation." Additionally, students from the Saint Petersburg State Academy of Art and Design were tasked with creating "patriotic" designs for mugs, which would be given to Russian soldiers.


A Buryat soldier from the BARS (Special Combat Army Reserve) volunteer unit, who fought in Ukraine from April to September 2023, faced a six-month struggle upon his return to prove to authorities that he had indeed participated in the war.

In the Samara region, 500 children of participants in the "special military operation" will be sent to health camps. Meanwhile, the Government of the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region–Yugra [Russia’s federal subject] plans to sign an agreement with the Federal Agency for State Property Management (Rosimushchestvo) for the transfer of unused land plots owned by Rosgvardia [the Russian National Guard] to participants of the war with Ukraine.


SotaVision interviewed Anna, a 26-year-old school teacher who has been teaching history for five years. Despite the situation, she has no plans to leave Russia due to her strong stance.

The Govorit NeMoskva [NonMoscow is Speaking] Telegram channel recounts the story of a former convict who, in April 2023, joined the Wagner Group to fight in Ukraine. In August, his family buried him in a zinc coffin, only to later, by chance, identify him in a video with prisoners of war.