mobilization briefs
April 15

Mobilization in Russia for April 12-14, 2024 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Relatives of Mobilized Soldiers

On April 13, dozens of wives and mothers of mobilized soldiers across Russia, united by the Put Domoy [The Way Home] Telegram channel, attended the weekly Saturday gatherings to lay flowers to the best-known war monuments and joined the "Empty PotsMarch," clanging pots and pans on balconies of their apartments in a symbolic protest aimed at the authorities. According to the activists, the rally brought together women in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Kazan, Voronezh, Kostroma, Novosibirsk, Chelyabinsk, Bryansk, the Leningrad and Sverdlovsk regions, as well as the occupied part of the Donetsk region. The independent media project Okno [Window] interviewed several activists seeking to explore the reasons why they joined the protests. A woman from Saint Petersburg whose husband had been mobilized for the war in Ukraine spoke with the Bumaga independent media outlet to reveal that both activists and their mobilized husbands at the frontline are being threatened by law enforcement authorities. She also told the reporters about her routine trips to the "special military operation" area to deliver food and basic supplies to her husband. Having been pressured by police, many women stopped participating in the anti-mobilization campaign and left the online groups. Thus, if in January the flower-laying rallies in Saint Petersburg were regularly attended by over three dozen women, now only a few activists turn up.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

In Novosibirsk, military recruitment officers raided a shopping mall targeting draft dodgers. More than 40 individuals, including several "foreign nationals in recent possession of the Russian citizenship," were stopped for an identity check; as a result, two draft dodgers were identified and ordered to report to the draft office for military registration and conscription procedures.

This year’s military training campaign could involve more men than in the previous 10 years, as reported by the Moscow Times. The independent outlet spoke with managers of four enterprises in the Moscow region, who fear that they might need to suspend part of their activity as a result. In one of the enterprises, up to 20% of the staff meet the selection criteria. Draft offices have already begun sending out letters en masse to organizations registered in the region, demanding that they submit lists of employees who fall under the law on military training. A source close to the Ministry of Defense, indicated that other regions could see increased military training quotas, too.

Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, dozens of municipal officials and deputies from the Southern and North Caucasian Federal Districts have announced their participation as "volunteer fighters." The Kavkaz.Realii [Caucasus.Realities] media outlet notes, however that many of them later returned to their posts, while very few regional or federal officials had been observed at the front. According to Aleksandr Korovaynov, a former member of the Yeysky District assembly, the "VIPs" are simply seeking publicity and taking selfies far from the contact line, since there are no reports of them losing their life in combat. In some cases, these trips may stem from a desire to climb the career ladder, while in others, they are attempts to avoid criminal prosecution. Similar cases have been reported in other regions, such as that of Tsyren Norboev, former head doctor at the hospital in Borzya, Zabaykalsky region, who has also left for war as a volunteer fighter.

In March 2024, Indian intelligence services announced having uncovered a "large human trafficking network." The participants in this network lured Indian citizens to Russia with the promise of high-paying jobs, only to send them to war. It was reported that around 100 individuals may have signed contracts with the Russian Army. The BBC interviewed two Indian men, who managed to return home. According to them, they were deceived into coming to Russia with the promise of work as "security guards" for a monthly salary of around 220,000 rubles [$2,360], a significant amount in their home province in India. Their stories were recounted by Meduza, an international Russian-language online media outlet.

Mobilized Soldiers, Volunteer Fighters and Contract Soldiers

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Valery Kiryutin and Eduard Filatov from the Volgograd region, Mikhail Tsybulya from the Stavropol region, Aleksandr Maternyak from the Rostov region, Nikolay Timofeyev from the Astrakhan region, Oleg Shevelyov from the Vologda region, Aleksey Demidov from the Vladimir region, as well as Aleksandr Verkhoturov from the Irkutsk region.

The Astra Telegram channel and the Put Domoy movement have published appeals from the wife and mother of Vladimir Frolov,an illegally mobilized resident of the "DPR" and a first-degree disability pensioner. Frolov was abducted in Donetsk and has been held captive in a military unit for several months, with threats of being sent to the forward positions, despite having an official letter from the military medical board requesting him to attend a repeat medical examination. Initially held in a pit, Frolov was later moved to a basement where he is reportedly subjected to beatings and mistreatment. His relatives informed Astra that they are frustrated with the inaction of the military prosecutor's office and the Investigative Committee.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

The mobilized soldier from the Tyumen region, Vladimir, was sentenced to seven years in prison for going AWOL and unauthorized use of a vehicle. On Jan. 27, 2023, he fled from his military deployment point in the "LPR" and traveled to the city of Tyumen "to relax." On Aug. 5, Vladimir took an acquaintance’s car without permission and was later stopped by traffic police, who discovered he was driving drunk and without a valid license.

The Chita Garrison Military Court has sentenced Aleksey Yudin, the battalion commander of one of the military units in the Zabaykalsky region [Russia's federal subject], to two years of probation for negligence resulting in the death of a person. He, along with two subordinates, went to dismantle a dilapidated building on the territory of the unit. Yudin approached one of the walls and, "deciding to demolish it," struck it twice with a reinforcing bar. The wall collapsed directly on one of the soldiers, who subsequently died from the injuries. Yudin was initially charged with exceeding his authority with serious consequences, but the court reclassified his case as negligence resulting in the death of a person, for which he faced up to five years instead of ten. The court considered his participation in unnamed "combat operations" and departmental medals from the Ministry of Defense as mitigating factors.

The Vladikavkaz Garrison Military Court has sentenced Alan Basiev, a previously convicted mobilized soldier, to two years in a penal colony for a knife attack. In May 2023, while intoxicated, Basiev stabbed a witness to his conflict with an acquaintance in the abdomen. His participation in the war in Ukraine and an award were cited as mitigating factors.

In Novosibirsk, Konstantin Rybalko, who has a previous criminal record and returned home after being pardoned for participating in the war, is terrorizing the entire building. The man served time in a maximum security penal colony for murder, from where he was recruited to the war. In November 2023, he returned home. Upon his return, Rybalko threatened his neighbor Yury Pavlov for asking him to turn down the music. As a result of the scuffle, Pavlov broke his arm. Rybalko also threatened and insulted the police officers who responded to the call.

In Vladimir, a man threwMolotov cocktails at the regional government building and a car parked nearby. The car caught fire, while the bottle bounced off the building. The man was detained. The Governor of the Vladimir region, Aleksandr Avdeyev, stated that the young man allegedly acted under the influence of "Ukraine’s Psychological Operations (CIPsO)." The detainee, Vladislav Afanasyev, reported during interrogation that he acted on the instructions of fraudsters. A criminal case has been initiated for deliberate destruction or damage to property.

A resident of the Sverdlovsk region, Vladlen Menshikov, who allegedly collaborated with the "Freedom of Russia Legion" and attempted to commit arson on the railway, faces a 19-year prison term as requested by the prosecutor. Menshikov was detained in September 2022 after allegedly placing obstructions on the tracks used to transport Russian armored vehicles and defacing the stone entrance sign to the city of Rezh with swastikas. During the investigation, the charges were upgraded from sabotage to calls for terrorism and cooperation with Ukraine.


More than 40,000 people have applied to the Time of Heroes personnel program, established by Putin for participants in the war in Ukraine. Half of the applicants are between 30 and 40 years old. The results of the selection for the program will be announced in June 2024. Organizers promise that for those who were on the frontline during the selection trials, evaluation centers will be opened at the branches of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, where applicants can come in person for assessment and selection into the new group of participants.

In the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region–Yugra [Russia's federal subject], the United Russia party [Putin’s ruling party] has launched a career elevator program for participants and veterans of the "special military operation." They were given advantages during the party primaries. The application procedures have been simplified, and the mandatory video upload to the primary elections website has been canceled for participants and veterans of the war in Ukraine. Additionally, servicemen will automatically have an additional 25% of votes added to their results. Similar preferences have been introduced for the United Russia primaries for the upcoming municipal elections in Saint Petersburg. The "special military operation" participants have already begun to file their applications.

Konstantin Serov, the head of the Frunzensky district of the city of Saint Petersburg, announced the opening of a "heroes of the special military operation" memorial park. Additionally, Governor of the Novosibirsk region Andrey Travnikov informed that war in Ukraine participants will be honored during the Victory Day celebrations in the city of Novosibirsk along with WWII veterans.