mobilization briefs
August 15, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Aug. 13-14, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

The Voyennye Advokaty [Military Lawyers] Telegram channel stresses that it is no longer necessary to personally visit a draft office to be added or removed from military rolls, following amendments introduced by the federal government to its decree on military registration. While the obligations remain, it is now possible to fulfill them remotely. Even though the digital register of Russians subject to military service is not operational yet, users of the Gosuslugi public services portal can already send messages to draft offices to request to be taken off the military rolls. The Voyennye Advokaty Telegram channel also advises that removal from military registration can be done through a power of attorney. 

Sergey Kolunov, Member of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia], called for the introduction of an award "for conscientious work during the special military operation." In addition to a medal, Kolunov suggests granting "certain benefits" to these labor heroes.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

The draft office in Saint Petersburg is sending "draft notices” via SMS. In the message, men are invited to the draft office of the Moscow district of the city and are informed that failure to appear "may result in the initiation of administrative proceedings." A screenshot of such a message was posted by Grigory Sverdlin, the head of the Idite Lesom! [Flee through the woods/Get lost you all] Telegram channel. An official from the Moscow district administration confirmed the SMS distribution. According to him, these messages are sent to individuals with vocational education "to update their information before the autumn regular conscription campaign." The official explained that these SMS messages are not electronic draft notices, and individuals should not be held accountable for non-appearance. The inclusion of a threat to initiate administrative proceedings in the distribution, in the official's view, was merely a form of expression used by the draft office.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Roman Dolgov from the Bryansk region, Danil Voloshin from the Novosibirsk region and Yury Baskakov from the Krasnodar region.

As highlighted by the Omsk Civil Association, the regional media have refrained from publishing information about the inhabitants of the Omsk region who were killed in the war for more than six months. At the same time, the association has tallied 459 Omsk residents who have fallen in the conflict.

The New York Times has interviewed former convicts who are currently fighting in Ukraine as part of the Storm-Z unit. These former convicts reveal that the command forces them to continue frontline service for another year after completing their initial six-month contracts. According to these ex-convicts (one of whom was killed by the time the article was published), officers treat them as criminals and send them to the slaughter—out of the 120 men that initially constituted the unit, only 40 are still alive. They are also ordered to abandon the bodies of the killed on the battlefield to avoid paying compensation to their families.

Relatives of mobilized soldiers have reported the absence of welfare aid promised by the authorities. A participant of the Sibriskiy Tyl [Siberian Rear] Telegram chat group, created to gather support for Russian soldiers and their families, complained about her problems with receiving benefits, free transportation, utility payment discounts and obtaining combat veteran status. Other chat participants expressed solidarity with these grievances. In their opinion, authorities provide housing and benefits not to them, but to refugees from occupied territories, whom they derogatorily refer to as "rats abandoning the ship" in the chat.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

In the Moscow metro, a mobilized soldier named Alexey S., who had been sought for three years in connection with a drug-related case, was apprehended. The man became a suspect in the case back in 2020, and since 2022, he had been placed on a federal wanted list. Interestingly, both the wanted announcement and his mobilization occurred on the same day. He was found accidentally when he was heading home on leave, entered the metro and was captured by surveillance cameras.

In Michurinsk, Tambov region, a shooting incident took place during a train stop involving servicemen. A Lieutenant Colonel, the train's commander, noticed soldiers consuming alcohol. He demanded they cease drinking and tried to confiscate the bottles. This led to a confrontation, during which several intoxicated soldiers attempted to disarm a military personnel, accompanying the Lieutenant Colonel. The officer had to fire shots into the air to calm the crowd.

Over the past weekend in Moscow, two arrests were made in cases involving so-called military refuseniks. The Meshchanskii District Court ordered the detention of Chernyshenko A.M. on charges of draft evasion. Meanwhile, the Troitsky District Court remanded Davlatzoda S.A. to a pre-trial detention center on charges of desertion.

In Uryupinsk, Volgograd region, a 25-year-old man is standing trial for evading statutory military service since November 2022. During the court proceedings, it was revealed that the "conscript" voluntarily appeared at the Uryupinsk interdistrict investigative department on July 14, confessed to the evasion, and on July 18, underwent a medical examination, where he was deemed fit for military service.

A man was detained in the town of Polevskoy, Sverdlovsk region, for trying to set fire to the military commissariat [enlistment office]. On the evening of Aug. 13, he hurled a bottle of flammable liquid at the door of the military commissariat. The fire was quickly extinguished by the watchman, and the man was detained shortly after. With prior criminal records, he is now facing a criminal case for an act of terror. According to the man, he set fire to the military commissariat to "disrupt the authorities’ operations."

On the railway near the Chelyabinsk International Airport, an unknown person set fire to a relay cabinet. The equipment in the cabinet burned out completely. However, as reported, the arson did not affect the traffic, as only freight trains run along this route no more than once a day. The police are looking for the arsonist.

Sergey Podsytnik, the editor of the Protocol.Samara media outlet, has been arrested in absentia for two months in connection with the case involving false information about the Russian Army. According to the media outlet, the case is connected to the investigation into the deaths of mobilized soldiers from the Samara region during a strike on a vocational school building in Makiivka. Recently this media outlet also published an investigation about the Alabuga college, which makes students assemble Geran-2 (Shahed-136) loitering munitions. The journalist left Russia in late 2021.

Human rights activists have successfully fundraised for a lawyer to represent Ruslan Zinin who shot at the military commissar of Ust-Ilimsk on Sept. 26, 2022. Last week, a significant donation was received, totaling to 400,000 rubles [$4060], effectively closing the campaign. Zinin is charged with terrorism and illegal production and storage of a weapon. He is facing up to 30 years in prison.

Vazhnyye Istorii [IStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet] is telling a story of a 22-year-old resident of Melitopol, Ukraine, suffering from a mental disorder, who was held in a cell for several months, tortured almost to death, then released only to be taken into custody again shortly afterwards. The young man is charged with espionage. Leonid’s mother has told how Russian servicemen maltreated her schizophrenic son and tortured other captured civilians in the basements of Melitopol.


The "Family Member of a Special Military Operation Veteran" certificates will soon be issued to relatives of servicemen in Russia's constituent Republic of Buryatia, granting benefits to the holders, including free meals for schoolchildren, social services, priority admission to kindergartens and schools, as well as access to psychological assistance.

The Bumaga [Paper] independent media outlet collected reactions from Saint Petersburg residents, regarding the opening of an aid collection center for Mariupol in the city. The initiative did not sit well with the residents of Saint Petersburg, as they suggested that the authorities should prioritize assisting their own city first.

At Udmurt State University and Izhevsk State Technical University, only 2% and 1.45% of state-funded places are currently occupied by participants of the war with Ukraine and their family members, respectively, while an admission quota for this category of students is 10%. University staff attribute this situation to a lack of awareness and excessive bureaucracy.

A participant of the war in Ukraine who was wounded in November 2022 did not receive the entitled injury compensation until August 2023. The money owed was paid only following intervention from Maxim Ivanov, member of the State Duma from the Sverdlovsk region.

In Chelyabinsk region, the first adaptive sports festival took place. Veterans of the war with Ukraine, who returned with various injuries, were introduced to over 20 disciplines. For instance, individuals who use wheelchairs were offered curling. At the same time, those who had lost their arms were introduced to para-taekwondo.


In Russia's constituent Republic of Tatarstan, the Fortress: The Era of New Heroes military-patriotic tent camp has been officially opened. The camp emphasizes the patriotic education of the children, as highlighted by the camp director, "This way, we ensure that we remember who the master of our country is."


The International Military-Technical Forum "ARMY-2023" has commenced in Patriot Park near Moscow. Among other displays, an experimental model of a mobile military field chapel was showcased. Orthodox priest Boris Grishin shared that the vehicle has a refrigerator, shower, sink, bio-toilet, and two sleeping berths.

The Vyorstka media outlet and the Without Prejudice professional psychological assistance project prepared a material on how people who stay in Russia holding an anti-war stance can maintain mental health.


Sibir.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet interviewed an activist from Khabarovsk whose one friend was killed in the war and the other was maimed. He now participates in solitary pickets with a sign that reads "Net voine"[No to dried fish], a play on words to avoid using the word "war." Each time he is detained, but then released.