mobilization briefs
August 19, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Aug. 17–18, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

The Ministry of Science and Higher Education issued a decree, authorizing state funding of university or college tuition fees, previously paid by veterans of the war in Ukraine or their children. To be eligible, students cannot have any academic or tuition payment arrears, nor can they be the object of two or more disciplinary actions. The decree will remain in force until Aug. 31, 2024.

The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs drafted a resolution, whereby combat veterans fighting in Ukraine would no longer need to apply to receive monthly benefit payments. The Russian Social Fund will be required to proactively obtain all the necessary information from other state agencies. Until now, it was necessary to first submit a request in person or on the Gosuslugi public services portal.

The Ministry of Enlightenment endorsed the initiative of Yana Lantratova, Deputy Chairman of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] Committee on Education, which would see propaganda videos about the war with Ukraine screened in schools. In June, Lantratova pressed for the creation of a series of “patriotic” videos titled “What are we fighting for?” Presumably, they would feature war participants talking to schoolchildren about the invasion goals and their reasons for joining.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

Billboards appeared in the Belgorod region, urging women to join the local territorial defense forces with the tagline: “Who is the weaker sex, now?”

In Tolyatti, recruitment efforts for contract-based military service are taking place directly at enterprises. During meetings with employees held by officials from the draft office and city administration, workers are informed about the high income potential for contract soldiers and the possibility to halt enforcement proceedings. Additionally, officials warn that if the recruitment target for contract soldiers is not met, a second wave of mobilization may be announced. During the meeting, Tolyatti's recruitment quota for contract service was revealed to be 2000 men, while only 250 have been recruited so far.

The raids to locate migrants who have recently acquired Russian citizenship and register them at draft offices, continue. Following actions in Saint Petersburg and Chuvashia [Russia’s constituent republic], it has been reported that a similar operation took place in the Belgorod region. During the raid, police identified nine migrants. They were then taken to draft offices for "appropriate decisions to be made."

The Voyennye Advokaty [Military Lawyers] Telegram channel has addressed questions regarding the provision of draft deferrals for students who were studying in foreign universities and now intend to continue their education in Russia.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

Based on open sources, Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] and BBC News Russian, together with volunteers, managed to verify the names of 30,502 Russian fighters killed in Ukraine, including 3,273 draftees. In the past week, the list has been updated with 499 names, including 106 draftees.

Recruitment for the war extended beyond Russia's borders. Military units of the self-proclaimed "LPR" and "DPR" have been actively recruiting inmates from local prisons and pre-trial detention centers since last year's fall. Among those recruited was Sergey Poletaev, who was awaiting trial for a candy kiosk robbery. Poletaev started his service on Nov. 3, 2022, and was sent to the frontlines ten days later. He spent a mere couple of hours in the war before coming under attack, resulting in the death of all his fellow soldiers and leaving him permanently disabled. Poletaev has now addressed Putin, complaining about local doctors who are not providing necessary care and the command of his unit, which is not providing him with the documents required to obtain medical treatment. Poletaev's story was previously covered by the Kooperativ media outlet.

The body of the draftee Aleksandr Tirskikh from Irkutsk has been sent for examination, according to his brother Sergey. This happened six months after his supposed suicide. Relatives of the deceased do not believe it was a suicide and suspect that he was killed (more here).

In response to the inquiry from State Duma member Maxim Ivanov, the Ministry of Defense has clarified the conditions of granting a 10-day leave to servicemen “for personal reasons.” A serviceman will be entitled to leave when an exceptional event has occurred in their family that requires their presence. However, the final decision whether to grant a leave will be made by the military unit commander. Ivanov has also reported that he received 19 addresses from the families of ex-convicts recruited to the war with Ukraine. The main reasons for complaints include: no compensation paid for injuries, lack of information on a duty station and the fate of a serviceman, and undervalued pay.

Sergey, a mobilized resident of Saint Petersburg, sustained concussion twice in the war with Ukraine. He was not provided with proper medical treatment in a hospital and was not given any documentary evidence. His wife now cannot prove to authorities that he was wounded at forward positions, making him ineligible for due benefits. More details are provided in the material by the Sever.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet.

Maksim Ufimtsev, a mobilized soldier from Chelyabinsk mentioned in one of our previous summaries, finally managed to claim his salary for eight months, which he had not been paid due to an error in the documents.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

The Barnaul Garrison Military Court [Altai region] sentenced Private Konstantin Skovpen to 5.5 years in prison for going AWOL. The serviceman left his military unit on Jan. 8, and showed up at a military investigative department when he was summoned on April 11.

A Military Court sentenced Dmitry Ognienko to 2.5 years in a penal settlement as the serviceman refused to take part in the war against Ukraine in February 2023.

A resident of the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region-Yugra [Russia's federal subject] avoided a criminal case for theft by going to war. In May 2023, Gariy G. and an accomplice stole property worth 45,000 rubles [$480] from a summer cottage. However, when the police managed to track down the burglars, it turned out that the suspect had enlisted under a contract and had gone to war. As a result, no investigative actions can be taken against him.

A court in the Leningrad region has dropped the criminal case against Vasily Sokur, who was accused of driving under the influence. The reason for closing the case was the fact that the accused had been conscripted, participated in the war, and was discharged from service due to reaching the maximum age limit.

In Kirov, a 41-year-old local resident named Vladislav was detained for setting fire to a recruitment tent of the Ministry of Defense. The motives of the arsonist are unknown.

The identities of the USSR Citizens community detained on suspicion of sabotaging cell base towers to disrupt draft notices distribution (details here) have been revealed. They turned out to be a 73-year-old resident of Zelenogorsk and a 61-year-old resident of Kansk. A criminal case was initiated against them for illegal acquisition of explosive substances and an attempted act of terror. The detainees, who deny the charges, have been sent to a pre-trial detention center.

The Investigative Committee has concluded its investigation and sent the case of a 16-year-old resident of the city of Kemerovo to court. He is accused of committing sabotage. According to investigators, in March 2023, he set fire to a relay cabinet near the Ishanovo station, allegedly on the orders of an unknown person on Telegram.

The police have refused to punish Aleksey Didenko, a member of the State Duma, for his words about the destruction of Ukraine and the Ukrainian language. In May, he stated that there should be "no Ukraine or its language," and that Ukrainians should speak Russian. Didenko's colleagues requested that a criminal case be initiated against him for inciting hatred, but the Ministry of Internal Affairs declined to do so due to the absence of a criminal offense.

The children of Arkhangelsk resident Lidiya Prudovskaya, 9-year-old Alisa and 10-year-old Zhenya, were called upon as witnesses in the criminal case against their mother for anti-war posts. They were interrogated by Federal Security Service (FSB) agents, with the presence of a pedagogical psychologist and a representative of the guardianship authorities. However, no lawyer was present during the questioning. Their mother was not able to attend the interrogation due to being under investigation on charges of discrediting the Armed Forces.


Faiz Berdiev, the head of the village of Osyopnoy Bugor in the Astrakhan region, has purchased a car using funds collected from relatives and fellow villagers for the funeral of his son, Azamat Berdiev, who was killed in the war in Ukraine. He intends to give the car to his killed son's fellow soldiers.


The principal of School No. 12 in the city of Perm had to resign after refusing to host "Talking About Important Things" lessons at the school. Previously, activists associated with the Prikamskie Vityazi [Prikamsky Knights] pro-war Telegram channel, came to the school demanding to let them conduct patriotic extracurricular classes, but their request was denied. Activists accused the school of a "lack of patriotism" and initiated persecution against the staff. As a result, the principal and several teachers left the school. The parents of the students are supporting those who resigned, and around a hundred of them are preparing an appeal to the prosecutor's office.

New guidelines for the "Talking About Important Things" series of extracurricular classes have been published. There is an emphasis on "gratitude" and "heroism" topics, and it is also explained what "traditional values" should be brought up in schoolchildren.

Fighters of the Monomakh special forces unit of the Federal Penitentiary Service for the Vladimir region demonstrated their skills in front of the pupils of the Avangard youth patriotic center.


The Vyorstka media outlet managed to talk with mercenaries from the Wagner Group, who were receiving medical treatment in the town of Anapa—in hotels specially rented for these "wounded heroes." The pardoned convicts told of transitioning from the trenches to hotel interiors, dealing with the aftermath of unsuccessful surgeries, trying to reach their curators who no longer pick up the phone, and the fate of those who didn't receive assistance.

By the summer of 2025, Russia plans to produce 6,000 Shahed-136 (Geran-2) loitering munitions within the Alabuga special economic zone in Russia’s constituent Republic of Tatarstan, according to the Washington Post. It is worth noting that students from Alabuga college are involved in the drone production efforts.

Approximately 200 medications could vanish from Russian pharmacies and hospitals, warns Holod, an independent Russian media outlet, after analyzing a letter sent by the Ministry of Health to doctors. Medications for treating HIV, cancer, Alzheimer's and dementia are among those at risk of disappearing. The full list of medications is available on the outlet's website.