mobilization briefs
April 6

Mobilization in Russia for April 4-5, 2024 CIT Volunteer Summary

Crocus City Hall Terrorist Attack

The Investigative Committee of Russia has announced its specialists have retrieved the data from the mobile phones used by the Crocus City Hall terror suspects. According to the investigators, their handler had requested photos of the venue entrances and approaches. In response, one of the accomplices sent photos found on the internet on the morning of Feb. 24, 2024, on the anniversary of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Moreover, the investigators claim to have also found photos of people in camouflage with Ukrainian flags in front of destroyed buildings and images of a "famous Ukrainian postal stamp with an obscene gesture." "This attests to a potential link between the act of terror and the special military operation," states the agency’s press release. However, the Agentstvo [Agency] independent media outlet points out that the photo collage featured in the press release were first published over a year ago, while its constituent photos are widely available on the Internet.

In Moscow, the Basmanny District Court has ordered the pre-trial detention of Muhammad Zoir Sharipzoda, a Tajikistan native, until May 22, 2024. The authorities accuse him of being involved in the Crocus City Hall terrorist attack, but the specific charges have not been made public.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

Several more Russian federal subjects have disclosed their plans for the spring regular conscription campaign. Omsk regional authorities aim to call up 15,000 individuals. According to the military commissar for the region, a test of digital draft notices will be carried out, but for now, only signed-for paper draft notices will be considered served. Meanwhile, authorities plan to conscript approximately 1,700 and 5,000 young men in the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region–Yugra and Kaluga region, respectively. Against this backdrop, Vazhnyye Istorii [IStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet] reminds its readers of the conduct to adopt during a regular conscription campaign   and in the event of being served with a draft notice.

Roskomnadzor [Russia's internet censorship agency] has blocked access to the website of the Shkola Prizyvnika [Conscript School] human rights organization. The site has become inaccessible not only in Russia but also in Armenia, with Yandex also removing it from search results. The human rights defenders claim that Roskomnadzor did not inform them of the reasons for the block and they intend to contest the decision.

Authorities in Saint Petersburg have raised the one-time sign-up bonus for enlisting to participate in the war from an immediate 695,000 [$7,500] to 1.1 million rubles [$11,900]. The substantial increase is funded by the city's budgetary enterprises: before signing a contract with the Ministry of Defense, volunteer fighters are employed at these enterprises and receive an additional 405,000 rubles [$4,390]. Advertisements for the 1.1 million rubles [$11,900] payment began to surface at the end of March. However, according to a recruitment center employee, Saint Petersburg exceeded its recruitment target in March, with only four out of eighteen districts failing to meet their goals.

Since the beginning of the year, at least 11 regions have increased their contract sign-up bonuses, as calculated by the Mozhem Ob'yasnit [We Can Explain] Telegram channel based on regional authorities' reports. In most of these regions, the bonus amount has roughly doubled to 1 million rubles [$10,800], not including the federal payment of 195,000 rubles [$2,110]. Additionally, as reported by political prisoner Ilya Yashin, convicts are now being offered 450,000 rubles [$4,880] instead of the previous 400,000 rubles [$4,330].

In the city of Yekaterinburg, law enforcement officers conducted another raid on migrants at "organizations and commercial sites." As a result, military investigators, enlistment officers, and police officers identified 14 men who had evaded military registration and served them with draft notices. According to the Central Military District, a total of 670 draft dodgers among former migrants have been identified in Yekaterinburg since the beginning of the year. All of them have received draft notices.

Law enforcement officers conducted another raid in the city of Krasnoyarsk. They raided a café in the city and took 56 foreign citizens to the police station. Among them, 10 foreigners were found to have "violated migration legislation" and will be deported from Russia. In addition, five migrants were summoned to the draft office for military registration.

In the city of Rostov-on-Don, law enforcement officers conducted nine raids targeting migrants during the week. As a result, 193 people were summoned to the draft office for military registration. The authorities have initiated deportation proceedings against 65 out of 164 undocumented migrants.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty found out that Dmitry Karavaichik, who was sentenced to 17 years in prison for drug-related crimes, and received full pardon for fighting in Ukraine as part of the Wagner Group, has become a recruiter of convicts himself. "Go and have a blast. [...] War is a chance of a lifetime. Rob, kill, do whatever you want and get rich. Maybe you won't come back, but you'll have a blast to the fullest." According to a source, out of several dozen people, only one agreed to enlist.

A US citizen joined the Russian Army. The Agentstvo [Agency] independent media outlet noted a propaganda video circulated by pro-war Telegram channels, showing "former American veteran Will" signing a contract with the Ministry of Defense. Agenstvo found out that the man in the video is Wilmer Puello-Mota, the former member of the city council of Holyoke, Massachusetts. In September 2022, he was arrested for possession of child pornography and later released on bail of $20,000.

Andrey Pshenichnikov, the chief physician of a hospital in Yekaterinburg, is going to Ukraine for the third time to escape criminal proceedings for embezzlement. He volunteered twice before, in Mariupol and Kreminna, and this time he signed a contract to become a soldier.

Mobilized Soldiers, Volunteer Fighters and Contract Soldiers

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Vladimir Balandin, Maksim Izgagin and Oleg Khaidarov from the Sverdlovsk region, Vasily Babichev from the Volgograd region, Sergey Shakimov from the Leningrad region, Artyom Martsenkovsky from the Zabaykalsky region [Russia's federal subject], Marat Bizhigitov from the Omsk region and Vitaly Demyanenko from the Tver region.

Based on open sources, Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] and BBC News Russian, together with volunteers, have verified the names of 50,016 Russian fighters killed in Ukraine, including 6,039 mobilized soldiers. Since the last update on March 30, the list has been supplemented with 735 soldiers, 131 of whom were mobilized. The BBC notes that at least 43 per cent of those killed had no military affiliation at the start of the invasion of Ukraine. It is likely that the actual number of individuals who have left their civilian lives to join the ongoing war could account for up to 70 per cent of all combat losses.

Over the past year, since April 3, 2023, the Vladimir branch of the Defenders of the Fatherland Fund, founded by Putin, has received over 7,000 complaints from participants of the invasion of Ukraine. The majority of these complaints concern medical, domestic and legal issues.

The Supreme Court of Kalmykia [Russia's constituent republic] has refused to issue documents to the parents of a mercenary who was killed in Ukraine and was a member of the Wagner Group.  The court ruled that the organization does not fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defense and that the law does not assist the families of deceased participants of private military companies.

​Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

Journalists from Current Time [an editorially independent US-funded Russian-language media outlet], in collaboration with Ukrainian intelligence services, investigated murders of civilians by a Russian soldier, Batraz Slanov, in the occupied village of Novomykhailivka in the Zaporizhzhia region in the fall of 2022. He is alleged to have shot dead two unarmed civilians, 32-year-old Nikolay Khomnikov and 40-year-old Sergey Golubenko, and attempted to sexually assault their female relative.

In a recent ruling by a court in the Stavropol region, Artyom Samedov, a Wagner Group mercenary previously pardoned by Putin, was sentenced to six years in a maximum security penal colony on charges of attempted murder. The conviction stems from an incident where Samedov stabbed a woman at least five times after she refused to make his acquaintance. The court considered his military service, including state and the Wagner Group accolades, as mitigating factors in his sentencing. Samedov had been previously convicted in 2020 of robbery, assault, and inflicting minor injuries. He had also been convicted of rape and assault in 2013.

Ilya Bakharev, a Novosibirsk resident, who went to the war as a volunteer fighter, was beaten for 14 hours by his fellow soldiers and died from the injuries sustained. A criminal case was initiated only after the intervention of Bakharev's former fellow soldiers, but so far none of the killers have been detained. The Ministry of Defense informed Bakharev's family that they were not entitled to compensation for his death.

Police have issued a wanted notice for 32-year-old Artyom Bukotin, who returned from the war in March 2023, on suspicion of double murder. In 2014, Bukotin was convicted of car theft.

The Supreme Court of Mordovia has sentenced Nadezhda Kharchenko, a female native of Ukraine, to 12 years in a penal colony for treason. According to the Federal Security Service (FSB), she allegedly collected information about military facilities and law enforcement officers to pass on to the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).

A court in Ivanovo has placed a local resident under arrest until June 1, 2024 on charges of high treason. According to investigators, he transferred money to a bank account "intended for collecting funds for the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU)."

A 46-year-old resident of Omsk, who intended to move to Germany, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for high treason. According to investigators, the man was collecting classified military data with the intention of passing the materials to German officials in exchange for assistance in relocating to Germany. The trial was held behind closed doors.

In the Krasnodar region, law enforcement officers detained an Israeli citizen, Yuval Lanzman, who allegedly intended to join the AFU. The FSB stated that the man had been deported from Russia and banned from re-entering the country.

According to the OVD-Info independent human rights project, Rail Galin, a previously unknown participant in the "Baymak case," is being held in the Ufa pre-trial detention center. He is accused of participating in mass unrest and violence against a government official.

The 2nd Western Military District Military Court will hear a criminal case against Moscow region residents Kirill Gorkov and Yevgeny Zaichkin who had been allegedly recruiting adolescents to set fire to relay cabinets. This is the first criminal case on forming a sabotage conspiracy society to be tried in Russia. Earlier, policemen had detained several teenagers as they were setting fire to relay cabinets. The youths told their interrogators that Gorkov had promised them several thousand rubles for the deed. During the investigation, Gorkov stated that he was exchanging Telegram messages with a Voronezh resident who urged Gorkov to organize arson attacks on a railroad and promised 100,000 rubles [$1,080] per each relay cabinet burned.

The Pervy Otdel [First Department] human rights project has published the decision by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation on banning the Freedom of Russia Legion from operating. The court also banned the unit’s white-blue flag and its coat of arms. The letter L is also banned since it appears on the unit’s logo.


Members of the Bashkortostan [Russia’s constituent republic] government relieved those fighting in the war with Ukraine and their families from paying the transport tax in 2024 causing a 100 million ruble [$1.08 million] hit to the region’s budget. At the same time, the republic is planning to spend 4.6 billion rubles [$49.85 million] towards military purposes even though the budget has been approved with a 10 billion ruble [$108 million] deficit.

Authorities in the Vladimir region have announced that in addition to World War II veterans, prisoners of concentration camps, and survivors of the siege of Leningrad, widows and parents of participants of the invasion of Ukraine killed in action will receive 5,000 rubles [$54] in honor of May 9 [World War II Victory Day holiday].


In Bashkortostan, as part of the drone cluster, they are speeding up the production of anti-drone protection and electronic warfare tools. Meanwhile, officials in the Perm region [Russia’s federal subject] have suggested using private security companies, Cossacks, and local militias for the protection of mass events.

In Voronezh, car owners and entrepreneurs are trying to get compensation from the authorities for damage caused by drones. It has been almost two and a half months since the attack, and the average compensation—about 180,000 rubles [$1,950] per car—has not been received by the car owners. Owners and tenants of commercial pavilions have faced similar problems.

In the occupied Zaporizhia and Luhansk regions, Russian-appointed "authorities" want to pass a law on the nationalization of abandoned homes.


The Govorit NeMoskva [NonMoscow Is Speaking] Telegram channel has collected stories from Russia's constituent republic of Sakha (Yakutia) on how war veterans recruited from colonies are returning to the region and establishing their own rules.

Vazhnyye Istorii spoke with human rights activists and demographers about how long the repression of migrants can continue after the terrorist attack on Crocus City Hall, whether these measures will help fight terrorism, and whether the Russian economy is threatened by the mass exodus of foreign citizens.