mobilization briefs
August 16, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Aug. 14-15, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

In a draft detailing its development strategy for the communications industry, the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media calls for the introduction of a mechanism by 2030 to enable civilian mobile operators and state security services to share radio frequencies. Should a state of emergency be declared in Russia, control of all mobile communications would fall to the security services, who could, among other measures, turn off civilian networks.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

A Krasnoyarsk resident was served a draft notice summoning him to pick up a mobilization order. Citizens in possession of such orders are required to report to military collection points within a specified time of a general mobilization being declared. The local draft office confirmed the distribution of draft notices of this type. For his part, Daniil Chebykin was served a draft notice for military service register data check-up. He is a co-founder of the Omsk Civic Association, which was declared a foreign agent by Russian authorities. In other news, Chelyabinsk residents report receiving written invitations to the draft office for data check-ups. These letters threaten recipients with legal consequences, if they do not report in, which does not seem possible, since the documents are not, in fact, draft notices. Finally, draft notices for data check-ups are being served in Ulyanovsk. Once at the draft office, people report being offered a military service contract.

The Bashkortostan Volunteer Motorized Rifle Regiment has completed joint combat training exercises in the Samara region. Head of Bashkortostan [Russia's constituent republic] Radiy Khabirov announced the departure of several railway trains carrying soldiers departed to the combat zone. Khabirov estimated the Regiment’s strength at 2500 men. According to official reports, a total of eight national battalions have been established or are in the process of formation in Bashkortostan. Three of them were dispatched to the war in 2022. Moreover, Bashkortostan is a leader among the Volga River regions in terms of casualties in the war: according to Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] and BBC News Russian, 932 residents of the Republic of Bashkortostan have been killed in Ukraine.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Igor Kolenkov from the Perm region, Yury Pavlov and Vladimir Ponomarenko from the Vladimir region, Nikolay Oleynikov from the Volgograd region, Sergey Butorov and Anatoly Aseyev from Buryatia [Russia's constituent republic].

Pavel Kochanzhi, a municipal deputy from the United Russia party [Putin’s ruling party] in the Nevsky district of Saint Petersburg, was killed in the war in Ukraine. As reported by the Rotonda Telegram channel, he ended up in the combat zone after the mobilization was announced in the autumn of 2022. However, whether he was a mobilized or a contracted soldier is not specified.

Maksim Ufimtsev, a mobilized soldier from Chelyabinsk, spent nine months in the "special military operation" zone, with eight of those months receiving a salary several times lower than his fellow soldiers, totaling around 40,000 rubles. It turned out that he had been enlisted as a contract soldier and, according to documents, was assigned to Chechnya [Russia's constituent republic]. However, all this time he was stationed on the frontlines in Ukraine. In August, he received his first salary as a mobilized soldier, but the promised recalculated compensation for his entire service period never came through.

Families of the killed in the war with Ukraine volunteer fighters are unable to receive insurance payouts because, despite the amendments made to the relevant law in November of last year, the government has yet to pass the subsidiary regulations that determine the mechanisms for these insurance payments.

Wives of military personnel are being forced to travel to the combat activities zone in Ukraine to search for their husbands. For instance, two Chelyabinsk residents donned camouflage and spent two days walking through the occupied territory of the Luhansk region because the command center hadn't provided any information about their missing husbands and told the women to "go there themselves and figure it out." Eventually, they managed to find their husbands. Another woman from Surgut went to the frontline simply because she hadn't seen her husband in a long time. She also delivered essential household items to the military personnel.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

Previously convicted former mercenaries from the Wagner Group are increasingly becoming suspects in various crimes. For instance, Aleksey Khlebnikov has been put on the federal wanted list on suspicion of raping a 13-year-old girl in the Volgograd region. Previously, he was convicted of theft, robbery, carjacking, and the murder of the vehicle's owner. While law enforcement agencies have not officially disclosed the incident, they confirmed the crime and the local resident's pursuit. Meanwhile, in Novokuznetsk, Yevgeny N., a former Wagner Group mercenary with a previous criminal record, was apprehended. During a conflict that arose while consuming alcohol, he attempted to fatally stab his neighbor. He is charged with attempted murder.

The Investigative Committee declined to pursue charges against Junior Sergeant Vladimir D. for abandoning his duty station. According to the investigation, in August 2022, the man submitted a discharge request due to contractual non-compliance, and in October 2022, he left his unit and returned home without waiting for the commander's decision. A criminal case was initiated against him, but during the investigation, the serviceman expressed remorse and fully confessed to his guilt, leading to the discontinuation of criminal proceedings due to "active repentance."

In Azov (Rostov region), Yevgeny Ivanov, a 20-year-old native of the Lipetsk region, was detained on suspicion of attempting to set fire to the administration building of the Azov district. The man purportedly admitted having intended to set the building on fire, but his motive has not been disclosed. One of the versions put forth by law enforcement is that the arson was planned on the orders of Ukrainian intelligence services for monetary gain. Currently, an administrative offense report for minor hooliganism has been issued against Ivanov, while the decision to initiate a criminal case is pending.

Mikhail Babintsev, a resident of Buryatia, has had his arrest extended for six months in connection to the arson attack on a draft office in the village of Mukhorshibir, which occurred on Oct. 17, 2022. Since the spring, Babintsev has been held in solitary confinement. He has been charged with terrorism, which carries a potential sentence of up to 15 years in prison.

The Federal Security Service (FSB) has reported the detention of a local resident suspected of collecting information about the transportation of military cargo through Crimea's territory. The intelligence agency claims that the apprehended individual "confirmed cooperation with the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and provided coordinates to a stash where a ready-to-use improvised explosive device was discovered." The detainee is now facing charges related to the illegal possession or trafficking of explosives and explosive devices.

Two residents of the Novosibirsk region were suspected of treason by the FSB, allegedly for preparing to take part in the war on the side of Ukraine. One of them had unregistered firearms at his home. Interestingly, the FSB released both suspects with an official warning that such actions were "unacceptable" and threatened them with criminal prosecution in the event of a repeat offense. One of the suspects was sentenced to one year of freedom restriction on the weapon charge.

Citing data from the OVD-Info independent human rights project, the Vyorstka media outlet counted at least 46 Russian citizens over the age of 60 who have been prosecuted for their anti-war stance. At least 15 of them are either in pre-trial detention centers, or undergoing compulsory psychiatric treatment, or have ended up in a penal colony. At least 165 more people up to 84 years old have been arrested for participating in anti-war protests. Because of their opposition to the war, some of these elderly people have lost their friends, freedom, jobs and time that could have been spent with their grandchildren. Journalists found out why, despite the hefty fines and harsh sentences, these people are not giving up their anti-war beliefs.


Governor of the Penza region Oleg Melnichenko reported dispatching boats and trailers to the combat zone to haul water transport.


An 11-year-old from the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region–Yugra [Russia's federal subject], spent all the money he had saved to buy things for the army. Earlier, the boy's uncle was killed in the war.

Insider [independent Russian investigative media outlet] and Fontanka [independent online newspaper based in Saint Petersburg] have studied a new high school history textbook in detail, which has already been made available to the public.


In Tambov, the members of the regional duma [regional legislative body] are going to publish a collection of poems and stories about the war with Ukraine at their own expense.

Residents of the village of Novaya Tavolzhanka, Belgorod region, recorded a video address to President Putin. They complain that despite the constant strikes, the state of emergency has not been introduced in the area, which allows the authorities not to pay compensation to residents for destroyed housing and not to relocate them from the frontline zone.

Vyacheslav Samoilov, sentenced to nine years in a maximum security penal colony for the murder of his girlfriend in March 2021, has already been released. He left the colony for the war, fought for three months and, having been wounded, returned home. The relatives of the killed young woman, who had an underage son, now wish the death penalty had not been abolished in Russia, while the murderer's mother believes that he has atoned for his guilt and "he is now clean before God."

A call center for the military-patriotic education of citizens will open in the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region. It is planned to allocate 7 million rubles [$71.000] for its operation. Employees of the center will have to call people from the lists provided by the regional government.


Avtozak LIVE [human rights media project] shares the story of the Zona Solidarnosti [Solidarity zone], the only group of activists and lawyers in Russia providing legal assistance to individuals accused of arson at draft offices. Other human rights organizations do not take up such cases.

Meduza [international Russian-language online media outlet] publishes an article by the Bereg [Waterfront] independent journalist cooperative about the housing challenges faced by Ukraine war veterans. They are forced to seek help from non-profit organizations specializing in supporting the homeless. Additionally, the Idel.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet reveals the lives of soldiers who have become disabled as a result of Russia’s previous wars.

The Insider has published an investigation detailing a series of poisonings targeting Russian female journalists and activists in Europe. Journalist Elena Kostyuchenko has also shared her personal account of being poisoned.

A reporter from Vazhnyye Istorii [IStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet] interviewed three military officers who fled from the war. While some are signing contracts and heading to the frontlines, others are willing to go to any lengths to avoid getting deployed, even at the risk of capture and imprisonment.