mobilization briefs
August 31, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Aug. 29-30, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

The Ministry of Internal Affairs drew up a list of reasons for invalidating Russian passports of all types, which can happen as a result of a check by a government agency, following a request from the passport holder, or by Federal Security Service (FSB) agents, when a citizen crosses the country’s borders. A mismatch in the personal information between the passport and other documents, including visas and even airline tickets, can lead to a passport’s invalidation, as can a mismatch between border crossing stamps and governmental records.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

Moscow authorities continue to recruit contract soldiers for the war with Ukraine from other regions. This time, flyers urging people to enlist in Moscow appeared in the city of Yelets in the Lipetsk region. Earlier, residents of a number of regions along the Volga River discovered in their mailboxes invitations to join volunteer fighter units being formed in the Nizhny Novgorod region.

People, presenting themselves as city administration employees, are going door to door in Tyumen to promote contracts with the Ministry of Defense. Meanwhile, an advertisement for contract-based military service has been posted on a kindergarten bulletin board in Nizhny Novgorod. And in the Irkutsk region, Cheremkhovo, Mayor Vadim Semyonov announced that five volunteer fighters left the town to fight in the war in Ukraine.

In anticipation of the upcoming fall regular conscription campaign, the Idite Lesom! [Flee through the woods/Get lost you all] Telegram channel has prepared a guide on how to correctly submit an application for alternative civilian service. This should be done in advance, before the commencement of the regular conscription campaign on Oct. 1.

In the past month, there have been at least a hundred job listings on employment websites seeking personnel for the production of unmanned aerial vehicles. Engineers, operators, designers for anti-UAV systems, and other specialists are needed. These job postings offer attractive salaries and list Moscow as the place of work. No specific education and skills are not required. The vacancies are only open to young men. When asked whether the work involves travel to the "special military operation" area, the organization representatives responded negatively. However, they did not provide an explanation for the purpose of such large-scale civilian UAV production in Moscow.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Konstantin Vorobyov from the Saratov region and Roman Kozlov from the Vladimir region.

Citing sources, the 7x7—Gorizontalnaya Rossiya [Horizontal Russia] news outlet reported the death of yet another conscript in the border area of the Belgorod region, which occurred on Aug. 24. The Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case regarding the death. According to the media outlet, at least 11 conscripts have been killed on the Belgorod region's border with Ukraine.

Daniil Bezsonov, a former deputy minister of information of the so-called Donetsk People's Republic, published the "CIPsO Manual" [CIPsO—Center for Information/Psychological Operations, an alleged unit within the Armed Forces of Ukraine that Russian propaganda tends to blame for any dissent in the media field]. In the "manual," Bezsonov used an appeal by a Russian soldier's mother as an example of the Ukrainian intelligence services activity. Previously, the mother sought the support of Dmitry Puchkov, a pro-Kremlin blogger who eagerly backs Russian aggression, in defining a time limit for the mobilized soldiers’ service. However, Puchkov responded by insulting and banning the woman.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

In the Kemerovo region, a former Wagner Group member was detained on suspicion of murdering his drinking companion. The 28-year-old man had previously been convicted of murder and robbery, and enlisted for the war as a member of the Wagner Group after the full-scale invasion began. A criminal case for murder was initiated against him.

In the Rostov region, a former Wagner Group mercenary has been detained under suspicion of raping a 13-year-old schoolgirl. The 37-year-old man was previously convicted of theft and intentionally inflicting severe bodily harm. Last fall, while serving time at a penal colony, he volunteered for the war and returned home as a free man after six months. Reportedly, the man claims innocence and his relatives are convinced that the girl framed him. The schoolgirl’s family reported the sexual assault to the police. If proven guilty, the man faces from 15 to 20 years behind bars.

Aleksey Khlebnikov, 35, a former Wagner Group mercenary, has been arrested in connection with a rape of a 13-year-old girl in Volgograd. As we reported in our Aug 14-15 summary, the man, previously convicted of theft, burglary, hijacking a car, and the murder of its owner, had been put on a wanted list. Khlebnikov volunteered to join the Wagner Group while serving time at a penal colony. In the summer of 2023, he returned home. According to the prosecution, he raped his niece at knife point.

The Novocherkassk Garrison Military Court handed the draftee Ruslan N. five and a half years suspended sentence for going AWOL. In January 2022, the man left his military unit deployed in the combat zone due to "difficulties serving." Three months later, he was detained. During his absence from his unit the man, in his words, met several of his fellow soldiers who also went AWOL. One of them was later detained and returned to the unit only to be killed shortly after.

A contract soldier from Moscow received a counterfeit copy of his contract with the Russian Ministry of Defense from the Military Prosecutor’s Office. In April, his contract was supposed to expire, but he was not allowed to go home. He complained to the Military Prosecutor’s Office and only received a response in mid-August. The received letter was accompanied by a copy of his supposed contract, in which the length of service was changed from three to six months and a different military unit was written in by someone else. The signature on the document was also someone else’s. Since the soldier had the original contract, he reported the incident to the police.

A 39-year-old volunteer fighter, Ildar B., committed suicide in the pre-trial detention center in Russia’s constituent republic of Bashkortostan. Ildar had gone AWOL from his military unit and later threatened to detonate a grenade near a gas station while being transported for a forensic psychiatric evaluation related to his case of leaving his duty station (more details here). According to Ildar’s mother, the soldier had cancer but intentionally refused disability status to go to war and thus "secure the family’s future."

Another attempt to sabotage the railway infrastructure occurred in Ufa. Unidentified individuals set fire to a relay cabinet around 1:00 a.m. between the Chernikovka and Shaksha stations. The relay cabinet was completely destroyed by the fire. As a result of the sabotage, freight trains in Ufa were delayed for two hours. After the consequences were addressed, the traffic resumed. Authorities are searching for the arsonists.

A resident of the Tula region is now facing legal proceedings for alleged incitement to extremist activities, stemming from his statements encouraging the arson of draft offices and administrative buildings. Law enforcement authorities claim that these incitement messages were published on Telegram.

Aleksandr Bobrovitsky, a Ukrainian citizen, has been sentenced to a 12-year prison term on charges of purportedly preparing for an act of terror in the Bryansk region. At 56 years old, Bobrovitsky, born in the Donetsk region, was found guilty on four criminal counts, including organizing a terrorist community, committing a terrorist act, illegal possession of explosive substances, and unlawful assembly of explosive devices. Authorities allege that Bobrovitsky was recruited by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).


According to a statement of Moscow State University's rector, Viktor Sadovnichy, the university admitted 115 war veterans and children of war participants this year. Additionally, several hundred more wish to transfer to the university from other universities.

In Mordovia [Russia’s constituent republic], in a social rehabilitation center for minors, children of different ages were told about the reasons for starting the war in Ukraine. They were also shown a presentation about servicemen who "performed a feat and received the title of Hero of Russia."

Pupils of School No. 172 in the Nizhny Novgorod region were asked to come on the first day of school in camouflage instead of a formal school uniform. Camouflage was given to both boys and girls. Parents refused to hold the first school day celebrations in this format and returned the camouflage clothes to the teacher. The school management justified it by saying that military uniforms were needed for the extracurricular activities of cadet classes. The woman, who photographed her child in an army uniform sent from school, reportedly received threats from teachers.

An elementary school teacher from Surgut has asked her students to forego traditional gifts on Sept. 1, the first day of school in Russia, and instead contribute to war efforts. The teacher herself serves as the chairperson of an organization dedicated to assisting Russian soldiers, and her husband has volunteered to join the ranks of volunteer fighters on the frontlines.

Residents of Obninsk left indignant comments on the news about firing teachers. In the city of Obninsk, educators have sparked controversy by organizing a firing range exercise within one of the new school's classrooms. This development comes as the Russian education system introduces mandatory basic military training for high school students across the country in the new academic year. Residents of Obninsk have expressed their concerns and indignation regarding this unorthodox approach to education.


The Novaya Vkladka [New Tab] media outlet reports on the Fashion Territory festival. For the second year in a row, it is held in Samara instead of the Volga Seasons—a fashion event, which was organized by fashion historian Alexander Vasiliev for 20 years. Now, the catwalk features Russian soldiers' wives as models, and the festival stands showcase gear for participants of the "special military operation."

The 63.RU media outlet shares the stories of two volunteer fighters from the Samara region. The soldiers were wounded in the war, and, upon returning home, they found that they could not receive the payments and benefits they had been promised by the state, despite having all the necessary documents.