mobilization briefs
August 29, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Aug. 27-28, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

Mikhail Matveyev, Member of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] from the Communist Party, introduced a bill that would punish naturalized citizens who dodge military service by revoking their citizenship, as promised. We elaborated on the bill in our summary yesterday. Sources in both houses of the Federal Assembly of Russia warned the Vyorstka media outlet, however, that the bill will not be approved. "Citizenship is a sacred cow, I would not want to touch it unnecessarily," said one of the sources. It is worth noting that none of the bills that Matveyev authored on his own ever made it to a second reading.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

Governor of the Belgorod region Vyacheslav Gladkov announced the formation of a second regiment of the regional Territorial Defense Force. In total, 3,000 people had reportedly joined the force by the beginning of August.

In Perm, law enforcement officers and government officials conducted a raid on shops and markets and, inter alia, served draft notices. According to Head of the Kirov district Mikhail Borisov, government officials were checking for Russian citizenship, sales permits, employment contracts and military registration. Offenders were issued summons to the draft and police offices to present and validate any missing documents, wrote Borisov. Similar raids took place in a number of regions across Russia, as mentioned in a previous summary.

The Vyorstka media outlet reported on the efforts to digitize draft offices. Despite statements to the contrary by the Ministry of Defense, most draft offices still work with paper documents and only one has joined the paperless workflow pilot. Experts note, however, that this will not prevent authorities from digitally serving draft notices to citizens.

In Russia's constituent Republic of Chuvashia, the Pension and Social Insurance Fund is sending out emails to organizations and enterprises containing a memo on the legal framework and the procedure to be followed should an employee become mobilized or enter into a contract with the Ministry of Defense. Organizations are being reminded that the employment agreement is suspended until the citizen returns to work. At the same time, in case of temporary disability, the employee is not eligible for benefits.

On Aug. 26, military equipment and armored vehicles of Rosgvardia [the National Guard of Russia] were brought to a square in the center of Yaroslavl for the Serving the Fatherland job fair. The fair was organized by law enforcement agencies and the military. Additionally, a contract military service recruitment facility was set up on the square.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Batraz Chekhov from Russia's constituent Republic of Karachay-Cherkessia, Yevgeny Kunitsyn from the Irkutsk region and Aleksey Vetoshkin from the Sverdlovsk region.

Yet another authority figure with a criminal record was sent to war from a penal colony. Aleksey Abramov, a former prosecutor from Russia's constituent Republic of Komi, was sentenced to 4.5 years of imprisonment for violating traffic rules and causing severe bodily harm. In 2020, he drove under the influence of alcohol and hit Stepan Sonin, a 17-year-old college student, at a crosswalk. As a result, Sonin suffered an open head injury that left him disabled. The convict was obligated to pay Sonin 830,000 rubles [$8,683] in compensation for medical treatment, but is now protected from enforcement proceedings. Funds for Sonin's treatment are now being raised by volunteers.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

In the Kherson region, a soldier under the influence of alcohol shot and killed two local residents in the village of Velyki Kopani. The bodies of two Ukrainian citizens were found, both succumbing to gunshot wounds. Three Russian soldiers have been apprehended, with one of them confessing that they were all drinking together when a conflict arose. Consequently, one of the soldiers started shooting with an assault rifle. The man has been handed over to the military police, and a criminal case for murder will be initiated against him.

In the Rostov region, a police dragnet was activated after a 21-year-old contract soldier named Aleksandr P. left a military unit on Aug. 25, carrying a Kalashnikov assault rifle and 120 rounds. After a while, the soldier was found among the visitors of a café. Apparently, he had left to have lunch.

In Saint Petersburg on Aug. 28, a former mercenary of the Wagner Group named Yuri Novikov, who had returned from the war, was detained after firing a Kalashnikov assault rifle in the Rzhevsky Forest Park. In 2018, Novikov was sentenced to 15 years in prison for murder, but after the war began, he joined the Wagner Group, from which he returned in the summer of 2022 under amnesty. No one was harmed in the shooting incident, and Novikov was charged with minor hooliganism. In his defense, he stated that he "couldn't bear personal emotions due to the death of Yevgeny Prigozhin [owner of the Wagner Group] and his actions were a gesture of respect towards him."

An ex-fighter from the Wagner Group, who was pardoned, got a job in the town administration and started distributing drugs using an official vehicle. 38-year-old Roman K. served a sentence in prison for a drug-related case, from where he was recruited into the war. For participating in the "special military operation," the man received a pardon, after which he found work as a driver in the administration of his hometown. Roman and his girlfriend were stopped by officers from the State Inspectorate for Road Traffic Safety in the official vehicle. The woman was found with 4.65 grams of methadone. The mercenary and his girlfriend could face criminal charges for drug trafficking.

The court remitted the sentence for the purchase of drugs for a contract soldier Magomed Khambulatov from the Stavropol region. The man enlisted in the army in April 2022, and a year later during a traffic police checkpoint inspection, mephedrone was found in his possession. He faced a potential sentence of up to three years of imprisonment. The court recognized the defendant’s remorse and his war-related injury as mitigating factors and imposed the minimum fine.

The Sochi Garrison Military Court sentenced two soldiers to jail time for refusing to go to war in Ukraine. Both had previously been involved in combat activities, but refused to return to war. Other soldiers also refused to obey orders, but their number is undisclosed. Soldiers Yury Maltsevsky and Ivan Kashin were sentenced to terms in a penal settlement.

The Investigative Committee of Russia refused to open a criminal case against a draftee for going AWOL. The man served alongside his stepfather and witnessed his injury. While being on leave, he decided to wait for the end of his stepfather's rehabilitation, about which he warned the command. Nonetheless, he was declared a fugitive. The man voluntarily reported to the commandant's office. The investigator declined to pursue a criminal case, citing the soldier's absence from duty for a mere 19 days.

The Federal Security Service (FSB) has accused Robert Shonov, an ex-employee of the US Consulate in Vladivostok, of collecting data on mobilization and other "sensitive issues" and their impact on public protest activity in the lead-up to the presidential elections. Allegedly, Shonov acted under the instructions of the U.S. Consulate in Moscow and is charged with collaboration with a foreign state on a confidential basis. FSB has summoned American diplomats for questioning. In May, following Shonov's arrest, the United States Department of State asserted that he had not been engaged in espionage but had compiled news summaries based on publicly available sources.

Ivan Semyonov, who attempted to set fire to the contract military service recruitment facility in Saint Petersburg, has been sent to a pre-trial detention center for two months. He is charged with an attempted act of terror committed in a group or by prior conspiracy. Earlier, it has been reported that the man might have fallen victim to fraudsters.


The Legislative Assembly of Nizhny Novgorod proposed to exempt war veterans from parking fees. This privilege will apply to city residents who were engaged in combat activities: military personnel, Rosgvardia employees, employees of Federal Penitentiary Service, police, and the Investigative Committee staff.

Another batch of vehicles and equipment was delivered to the combat zone from Buryatia, [Russia's constituent republic.] A total of 2.748 billion rubles [$29 million] has been allocated from the regional budget for the procurement of military equipment. The total budget expenses for the republic in 2023 amounted to 115.5 billion rubles [$1.2 billion], with a deficit of 7.6 billion rubles [$80 million].


It is planned to build a regional center for military-patriotic education on the site of the former Orlyonok pioneer camp in the Perm region. The camp will have new educational, administrative and residential buildings, a training ground, a stadium, and an exhibition of military vehicles.

Saint Petersburg schools have launched a charity initiative with the aim to direct the proceeds to support the Russian Army. As part of the initiative, parents are offered to buy a bouquet of flowers for the class teacher, as well as to buy a badge with the school's emblem and the inscription "Flowers make their way to the special military operation." The participation in the event is said to be "purely voluntary."

Vladimir Ikonnikov, a member of the Russian Human Rights Council, delivered new history textbooks for high school students to the Kuril Island of Iturup by sea. We have repeatedly described the propaganda content of these textbooks in our summaries.

Libraries from several regions of Russia have begun to purchase the book "Sacred Military Operation: From Mariupol to Soledar," authored by Dmitry Steshin, a "journalist" from "Komsomolskaya Pravda." Steshin is an avid supporter of war and is associated with Nazi group BORN members, previously convicted of the murder of lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova.


On Aug. 26, prior to the unveiling of the monument commemorating the fallen fighters of the Wagner Group in Irkutsk, a rally took place by the Eternal Flame, where war participant and candidate for the Irkutsk Regional Duma [regional legislative assembly], Igor Zuev, gave a speech. In his address, he urged to "finish off this enemy in their lair and drive away the NATO forces who are fighting against us there." Zuev seasoned his speech generously with profanity.


The Sistema [System] investigative project published an investigation on how several anonymous Telegram channels actively influence cultural life in Russia. As a result of their activities, anti-war artists and other cultural figures are excluded from cultural life, while plays and performances are canceled.

According to Novaya Gazeta Europe [European edition of the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta], Russian nonprofit organizations collaborating with military personnel raised at least 113 billion rubles [$1.2 billion] in donations last year, which is a 28% increase compared to 2021. The surge in donations occurred at the beginning of mobilization. At the same time, 80% of NPOs not associated with the war scaled back their operations in 2022.

The Vazhnyye Istorii [IStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet] and CIT, together with volunteers, studied candidates whom the Kremlin is going to entrust power during the elections, which will be held Sept. 8-10 in the territories of Ukraine occupied by Russia. Among these candidates are individuals involved in the deportation of children from Ukraine, a mobilized serviceman, a corrupt official, as well as housewives and Leonid Slutsky, current leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia [right-wing populist and ultranationalist political party].