mobilization briefs
April 23

Mobilization in Russia for April 21-22, 2024 CIT Volunteer Summary

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

Authorities have deported 636 foreign nationals from the Sverdlovsk region since the beginning of the year. This is 2.5 times more than in the same period last year, when 253 people were deported. This increase may be related to the raids conducted by law enforcement agencies on illegal migrants and recently naturalized citizens who failed to register for military service. By serving the latter with draft notices, the authorities forcibly added 900 naturalized citizens to the military rolls between January 2023 and February 2024, 50 of whom signed contracts with the Ministry of Defense.

Authorities have sent streamer Aleksandr Kushnin to war. Earlier, they had fined the young man from Anapa 30,000 rubles [$320] for discrediting the Armed Forces. Kushnin had said during a live session that he did not want to die for Russia in the war against Ukraine. Police then released a video "apologizing," fined him, and eventually forced him to sign a declaration that he would enlist, despite his poor health.

Metropolitan Kirill of Stavropol and Nevinnomyssk, head of the Synodal Department for Cooperation with the Armed Forces and Law Enforcement Agencies, stated that the Russian Army is short on clergy. Reportedly, 309 chaplains are currently serving in the Armed Forces. 60-70% of them volunteered, but according to Metropolitan Kirill, another 1,300 chaplains are needed to cover the needs of military personnel.

Mobilized Soldiers, Volunteer Fighters and Contract Soldiers

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Aleksey Kovalyov from the Moscow region and Yevgeny Zuev from the Belgorod region.

Yevgeny Leskov, 48, a draftee from the Primorsky region [Russia's federal subject] who refused to fight, was handcuffed and forcibly put on a plane to Ukraine and then sent to the Zaporizhzhia region, his wife Victoria told the Astra Telegram channel. On April 22, Victoria filed complaints with the Military Prosecutor's Office and the Investigative Committee, and plans to visit the presidential reception office on April 23.

About a hundred draftees from the 60th Motor Rifle Brigade were once again held back from deployment after a video was released showing a refusenik handcuffed to a piece of rail. Those who refused to fight were threatened with forced deployment on April 22. "After the video was published, there was an uproar in the unit. Today, the flight to Ukraine was once again postponed," the wife of one of the refuseniks said. The soldiers are still being detained in Sibirtsevo and are expected to be sent to war. In early April, the deployment of over 90 draftees to the frontline was halted following a post by Astra.

Vladimir Frolov, a disabled soldier who was illegally mobilized, abducted, and forcibly sent to the forward positions without undergoing a new medical examination, sustained a leg injury in combat and is now being held in a basement prison with other wounded men without receiving medical assistance.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

An ex-convict serviceman shot and killed a fellow soldier in the Zaporizhzhia region. On April 18, the body of Aleksandr Ovchinnikov, 56, was found near the occupied village of Zorya. Ovchinnikov had previously been convicted of causing grievous bodily harm, evading child support payments, and driving under the influence of alcohol. Later, law enforcement officers apprehended the suspect in the murder. The suspect is Anatoly Goryachev, a serviceman of the 136th Motorized Rifle Brigade who has been convicted of at least 20 criminal offenses.

A court in the Volgograd region has sentenced a previously convicted mercenary of the Wagner Group, Elbeyi Dadashov, to 11 years in a maximum security penal colony for large-scale drug possession, drug trafficking, and illegal possession of a grenade brought from the war zone. Interestingly, the verdict does not mention his prior conviction: in 2017, Dadashov received a three-and-a-half-year suspended sentence for illegal possession of firearms.

The OVD-Info independent human rights project has analyzed the statistics provided by the Judicial Department of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation on administrative and criminal cases from the perspective of political persecution. As the analysis by human rights activists showed, for all the studied articles, including the justification of terrorism, "fakes news" about the army, treason, discrediting the Armed Forces, sabotage, not a single acquittal was issued, unlike in 2022, when two persons were acquitted under the article on the justification of terrorism. Additionally, compared to 2022, more people were sent to compulsory treatment in 2023.

Yury Kokhovets, a 38-year-old Moscow resident, has been sentenced to five years of forced labor for "fake news" about the army. The reason for the man's persecution was his anti-war statements during a street interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. On July 11, 2022, journalists asked Moscow residents if they believed that "de-escalation of tensions between Russia and NATO countries" was necessary. Kokhovets stated that the "government bombs shopping centers" in Ukraine and that Russia is involved in the murder of civilians in Bucha. The prosecution requested five and a half years in a penal colony for him. The defense does not intend to appeal the verdict.

The Federal Penitentiary Service of the Belgorod region has stated that Aleksandr Demidenko, a volunteer who assisted Ukrainians, cut his veins in pre-trial detention. According to law enforcement officers, he was found in his cell with a wound on his left forearm on April 5. "Medical personnel of the pre-trial detention center immediately arrived at the scene, and an ambulance was called. However, resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful and emergency medical personnel confirmed Demidenko’s death. No signs of violent death were discovered during the body examination," the department's press service informed. Demidenko's death was reported on April 8, although according to the Federal Penitentiary Service, he died on April 5.


According to the Ministry of Health, every fourth participant in the war and relatives of deceased servicemen need the help of a psychotherapist or psychiatrist. The provided data refer to the period from June 2023 to January 2024.

Confiscated vehicles from the Perm region [Russia’s federal subject] and Bashkortostan [Russia's constituent republic] have been sent to the war with Ukraine. From the Perm region, a car belonging to a resident of Kungur, who was caught twice driving under the influence of alcohol, was transferred for military needs.

Children and Educational System

The governor of Chukotka, Vladislav Kuznetsov, stated that in the region, students are involved in assembling unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and sewing clothing for the military. Next year, the college plans to open a workshop for assembling UAVs, and in 2026, it will begin enrolling students in the "Operation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems" specialty. Meanwhile, schoolchildren in the town of Tara in the Omsk region are printing devices for rapid loading of assault rifle magazines on a 3D printer.

Students from the Kursk, Belgorod, and Bryansk regions will beallowed not to take the Unified State Exam [graduation examination in Russia’s schools] due to the shelling. They can take the exams optionally if they wish. The order of the Ministry of Education affects 435 schools in the Kursk region, 284 in the Belgorod region, and 40 in the Bryansk region. Meanwhile, the government of the Primorsky region will purchase school notebooks featuring the Alyosha tank with its crew members, which has become a symbol of Russian propaganda.


The Saint Petersburg authorities will impose a ban on sharing the consequences of drone attacks. A draft resolution by the governor was introduced on April 22. According to the document, showing the consequences of UAV attacks will be prohibited, this includes any information, such as photo and video materials. A similar ban was previously introduced in the Leningrad region.


The Idel.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet shared the story of Andrey Zhvakin, an activist killed during an attempted arrest and posthumously accused of planning a terrorist attack. Journalists spoke with Zhvakin's friends and relatives to try to determine whether the activist could have actually been preparing a terrorist attack.