mobilization briefs
April 12

Mobilization in Russia for April 9-11, 2024 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

The consent of Federal Penitentiary Service employees may no longer be required for them to be engaged in the war. A new bill, introduced into the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] by a group of lawmakers, including senator Andrey Turchak and member Maria Butina, would allow authorities to impose on the service’s employees a number of conditions and limitations during wartime or following the declaration of martial law, a counter-terrorism operation or a special military operation. These would include secondments to other locations, assignments of additional responsibilities and transfers to other units while maintaining the nature of the service. If passed, the Federal Penitentiary Service would also begin offering short-term contracts to "carry out special tasks or tasks under exceptional circumstances" and scrap the service’s upper age limit.

Authorities and Relatives of Mobilized Soldiers

The wives and mothers of mobilized soldiers from the Put Domoy [Way Home] movement have announced another "Empty Pots March" [a form of protest when people make noise by banging pots and pans from their balconies, also known as a cacerolada] on April 13 at 5:00 p.m. local time.

In Yekaterinburg, authorities imposed a fine of 15,000 rubles [$160] on 19-year-old Ivan Bukin. Bukin was detained on Feb.10 during a Put Domoy flower-laying ceremony, with law enforcement officers interpreting his actions as participation in an unauthorized protest. Although Bukin was released after informing authorities that his father was a mobilized soldier, charges were later filed against him.

Families of soldiers mobilized from the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region–Yugra [Russia's federal subject] and assigned to the 1454th Regiment have posted a video appeal to Russian authorities. In the video, they say that the regiment was placed under the command of the 144th Motorized Rifle Brigade [RuAF], known as a "meat brigade" for its ruthless style of command and for throwing the troops into "meat grinder assaults." In April, commanding officers sent 100 men on an assault mission near Avdiivka. According to the relatives, blocking units deployed behind mobilized forces are executing any soldiers attempting to stop fighting or to retreat from the battlefield. Due to the lack of combat training and support, the unit sustained severe losses, however, the command did not allow to evacuate the dead and wounded, forcing another unit into an assault attack instead. Relatives claim that over the course of five days, the 1454th Regiment has been destroyed almost entirely, pleading authorities to take an immediate action to save their loved ones.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

In Krasnoyarsk, a raid targeting migrant workers was conducted by police. In a video posted by law enforcement, a police officer explains to the detainees that every foreigner can easily obtain Russian citizenship by signing a contract with the Ministry of Defense. In 2024, police identified 165 Krasnoyarsk residents who acquired Russian citizenship but failed to register for military service. Over ten of them reportedly signed contracts with the Ministry of Defense. Another raid was undertaken in the city of Tyumen, where 14 men were brought to the draft office for military registration. The authorities report that since the beginning of the year, 169 men have completed their military registration and 25 foreign citizens have been recruited as contract soldiers. In Yekaterinburg, law enforcement agents raided a market during the Eid al-Fitr festivities, detaining an undisclosed number of foreigners. In Moscow, police swept over 10,000 locations across the city in a massive raid, allegedly revealing over 6,000 violations of immigration law. Among the undocumented immigrants, 22 individuals were found to be on a wanted list. As a result of the raid, a total of 836 foreign citizens will be expelled from the Russian Federation.

In the Khabarovsk region, notices for military training have been distributed among a large number of men since last week. Regional military commissariats [enlistment offices] have sent lists of reservists to villages, which include almost all male residents except for the elderly and minors. The military commissariats are summoning individuals who have not completed their statutory military service, are deemed unfit for it, have undergone the alternative civilian service, possess a draft deferral certificate, or even some who are deceased. Many are concerned that they may be sent to war from military training.

The Voyennye Advokaty [Military Lawyers] Telegram channel has posted a memo outlining the conditions that IT professionals must meet to be eligible for deferments from statutory military service. Additionally, they have provided legal advice on the appropriate course of action if a draft notice is received despite meeting all deferment requirements.

Mobilized Soldiers, Volunteer Fighters and Contract Soldiers

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Yevgeny Kuznetsov from the Perm region [Russia's federal subject], Yevgeny Kapranov from the Vladimir region, Sergey Khlestov from the Sverdlovsk region and Ilya Pepelyaev from the Arkhangelsk region.

An ex-convict who joined the Storm-Z unit has appealed to Putin, demanding that promises made to him earlier be fulfilled. The individual contends that despite assurances, a full presidential pardon was not granted, and only half of the promised salary was paid to soldiers within his company. Additionally, the ex-convicts were not issued combat veteran certificates, nor were they adequately compensated for injuries sustained during service.

A mobilized man from the Krasnoyarsk region, despite having a concussion and acute pancreatitis, was sent back to the frontline. The man had previously been wounded and underwent treatment in various hospitals. During his hospital stays, the certificate confirming his injury was lost. After this bureaucratic mishap, military authorities decided to return him to the forward positions. The man has not been in contact with his family for over a month.

In the city of Nalchik, serviceman Aleksey Tsurikov has been denied a compensation payment of 3 million rubles [$32,100] for an injury sustained in the war with Ukraine. The reason for this denial is that he was wounded by his own comrades.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation has confirmed the legality of denying discharge from military service upon reaching the maximum age limit for active duty status. The court concluded that, when addressing such issues during a mobilization period, it is essential to determine whether a service member has reached the maximum age limit for reserve status.

Mediazona [an independent Russian media outlet] has reported on the first criminal case against a soldier for voluntarily surrendering to the enemy. The soldier is also accused of desertion during the mobilization period. Under the first charge, he could face up to 10 years in a penal colony and up to 15 years for the second charge. The soldier's name has not been disclosed.

Novaya Gazeta Europe [European edition of the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta] has found that more than 2,500 military personnel who returned from the war have been convicted on various criminal charges. Among these are violent crimes, illegal trafficking of weapons and explosives and evasion of military service. Since the beginning of the invasion, at least 1,130 veterans have been accused of "civilian" crimes ranging from traffic violations to murder, and at least 192 war participants have faced charges relating to violent crimes. Moreover, the most prevalent charge has been going AWOL, with courts issuing 1,392 sentences for this offense since the onset of the conflict. In most cases, involvement in the "special military operation" has led courts to mitigate penalties. While participation in the war is not formally recognized as a mitigating factor, it serves as a significant signal for judges.

In Surgut, an ex-convict who was released as a result of his participation in the war as part of the Wagner Group has been detained for the murder of a local businessman. 44-year-old Arsen Daudov was shot dead on the evening of April 4 in the yard of his own house, in the presence of family members. According to 86.RU [Yugra regional online media outlet], it was a contract murder. The court has ordered the two-month detention of the suspected perpetrator, Abdul Zakavov, and the alleged instigator, Taranov. As the Govorit NeMoskva [NonMoscow Is Speaking] Telegram channel found out, in 2019, Zakavov was convicted of brigandage for nine and a half years of imprisonment before being recruited into the Wagner Group as a mercenary. Following the crime, Zakavov reportedly intended to return to the war zone.

A court in Chita has found soldier Vitaly Bezugly guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm with a weapon. While intoxicated, Bezugly stabbed his drinking companion at least nine times with a knife.

A court in the Zabaykalsky region [Russia's federal subject] has sentenced two former Wagner Group mercenaries, Viktor Kuzmin and Nikolay Kuznetsov, who had previous criminal records, to three years of probation for theft. According to the court, in the summer of 2023, the men returned from the war and broke into a locomotive depot warehouse with a crowbar, stealing materials worth nearly 700,000 rubles [$7,500] to sell at a scrap metal collection point. However, they were apprehended by the police on their way. The Siberian Express Telegram channel uncovered the identities of the convicts. Notably, Nikolay Kuznetsov shares a name with an individual previously convicted multiple times for theft and carjacking.

The Krasnoyarsk Garrison Military Court has sentenced serviceman Aleksey Dyagilev to 13 years of imprisonment under three articles of Russia’s Criminal Code. According to investigators, in 2023, Dyagilev left his military unit and went home. In May 2023, he was found guilty of drug possession, and in June, he was convicted for going AWOL. Subsequently, Dyagilev returned to his unit but soon left again. During his absence without leave, he engaged in a confrontation with an acquaintance, stabbing him twice with a knife.

Lawyers have successfully arranged a meeting with 26-year-old Anatoly Shchetinin, who is wanted for refusing to fight and was detained by Russian military police in Gyumri, Armenia. During the confidential meeting, Shchetinin told lawyer Narek Akopyan that he "realized everything," did not require legal assistance and wanted to return to Russia. Lacking means of support in Armenia, Shchetinin expressed his intention, as reported by a source from Mediazona, to return to Russia and turn himself in. According to human rights defenders, a Russian investigator assured Shchetinin that the criminal case against him would be closed upon his return to Russia. However, as of now, the case remains open.

The Stavropol Regional Court has denied Gozel Osmanova's claim against the Ministry of Defense for 5 million rubles [$53,500] in compensation for the death of her mobilized husband. She accused the ministry of her spouse's death, asserting that she had spent a month and a half seeking information about him from the command of the unit in the "LPR." According to the lawsuit, the 46-year-old mobilized father of many children died from blood loss after multiple shrapnel wounds. Osmanova also contended that her husband's right to deferment from mobilization as a father of many children was disregarded by the draft office. Furthermore, the widow is still seeking social benefits and payments.

Nineteen-year-old student Vsevolod Kulikov from the Lipetsk region has been sentenced to nine years in prison on charges of treason, attempted arson of a military airfield's runway, and attempting to join the "Freedom of Russia Legion." The Astra Telegram channel published Kulikov's letter, in which he stated that after enduring torture, he "was forced to take responsibility for everything he did not commit."

Additionally, Vyacheslav Kuznetsov, a 36-year-old man from Tatarstan [Russia's constituent Republic of Tatarstan], has been sentenced to nine years in prison for allegedly attempting to join the "Freedom of Russia Legion." He was found guilty of attempting treason and participating in the activities of a terrorist organization.

The district court of Yugra has sentenced Magomed Magomedov, a resident of Nizhnevartovsk, to nine years in a penal colony for attempted treason. According to investigators, he planned to travel to Ukraine and participate in combat on the side of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Anastasia Sushchevskaya, a 35-year-old laboratory assistant from Kola Medical College in the Murmansk region, has been arrested on suspicion of setting fire to a museum dedicated to the "history of the special military operation" in Saratov. A criminal case for a terrorist attack has been opened against her.

The Kemerovo regional court has sentenced a 16-year-old teenager from Kemerovo to five and a half years in a correctional colony for setting fire to a relay cabinet. According to the court’s findings, the teenager communicated with an unidentified individual on a messaging platform who encouraged him to set fire to the relay cabinet in exchange for a reward.

In the Rostov region, authorities have detained a student on suspicion of treason. The Federal Security Service (FSB) alleges that he was collecting information for the AFU. The detained individual, originally from the occupied city of Makiivka in the Donetsk region, was enrolled as a student at a university in Moscow.

In the Republic of North Ossetia–Alania [Russia's constituent republic], authorities have detained a resident of the Altai region for attempting to join the AFU. A criminal case has been filed against the young man on charges of treason.