mobilization briefs
September 2, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Aug. 31-Sept. 1, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

Eduard Sharafiev, member of the State Council of Russia's constituent Republic of Tatarstan, called for the strength of the Russian Armed Forces fighting in Ukraine to reach 1 million people. According to him, various estimates indicate that 300,000 to 500,000 troops are currently deployed there. "To go on the offensive, we need not only ensure personnel rotation, but also increase the headcount to at least a million," wrote Sharafiev.

Legal experts, consulted by the Agentstvo.Novosti [Agency News] Telegram channel, believe that the list of reasons for invalidating passports, which the Ministry of Internal Affairs drew up recently, will lead to abuses by police and border officials. "They might use this instrument in cases, where they do not want to let a specific person out of the country," commented Valeria Vetoshkina, a lawyer for the human rights project Perviy Otdel.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

The police conducted new raids targeting both illegal migrants and those, who failed to register for military service, after acquiring Russian citizenship. Interior Ministry officials detained 147 people in Krasnoyarsk, among whom 21 were citizens missing from military rolls. Of these, eighteen were served draft notices and three were charged with evading registration for military service. Meanwhile, nearly 50 people were registered for military service as a result of a law enforcement raid in the Nizhny Novgorod region, where a number of raids took place between Aug. 21 and 31. Earlier, the 7x7—Gorizontalnaya Rossiya [Horizontal Russia] news outlet reported on similar police raids in six more regions (details).

Governor of the Pskov region Mikhail Vedernikov stated that its territorial defense forces were already 800 people strong. He claimed that 200 volunteer fighters joined the forces as a result of the large-scale drone attack that took place on Aug. 30. Regional authorities plan to recruit a total of 1000 people into its territorial defense forces this year.

The authorities of Tatarstan continue to actively recruit volunteer fighters for the war in Ukraine, including residents from other regions. As journalists from the Novaya Vkladka [New Tab] media outlet have discovered, additional payments to contract soldiers are promised in various districts of Tatarstan, but the amounts vary. For instance, in the Mendeleyevsky district, those who signed a contract before Aug. 18 were promised a payment of 500,000 rubles [$5,190], in Almetyevsk 300,000 rubles [$3,114], and in the Laishevsky district only 200,000 rubles [$2,076]. The Department of Labor in the Tyumen region is also involved in recruiting individuals willing to sign contracts, offering an average salary of 215,000 rubles [$2,232], without disclosing any information about possible involvement in combat activities.

Residents of Saratov have started receiving "invitations" to visit the military commissariat [enlistment office] to update their military service register data. These notifications are attached to utility bills, and their legal status remains unclear.

In response to the mass distribution of draft notices for military service register data check-up, the Omsk Civil Association has published a guide on how to avoid conscription into the army and subsequently being sent to the war in Ukraine.

The Prosecutor General’s Office has declared the refusal to remove individuals from military registration through the Gosuslugi public services portal as unlawful. Previously, a man living abroad had received such a refusal when he applied to the military commissariat through Gosuslugi to be removed from the military rolls. However, the military commissariat demanded the citizen’s personal presence. The man applied to the prosecutor’s office, which deemed the military commissariat’s refusal as unlawful.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Maksim Falyakhov and Sergey Trepov from the Novosibirsk region, Andrey Kashapov from the Perm region, Nazmi Arzhan from the Belgorod region, Konstantin Fomin from the Kursk region, Vyacheslav Novosyolov and Ivan Dolgalov from the Sverdlovsk region, Artyom Obruchnikov from the Yaroslavl region, as well as Sergey Gorubnov, Ilnur Arslanbekov, and Ilkhom Makhmatov from the Volgograd region.

Mediazona and BBC News Russian, in collaboration with volunteers and based on open sources, have confirmed the death of 31,313 people, including 3,468 mobilized soldiers, in the war with Ukraine. The past week has added 615 people, including 117 mobilized soldiers. As noted by the BBC, over the past 12 months of the war, mercenaries from the Wagner Group accounted for a third of all confirmed Russian losses in Ukraine—journalists were able to identify the names of 8,338 mercenaries.

Aleksey Abramov, a mobilized resident of Krasnodar with spinal injuries, is facing an attempt to send him back to the war despite his health issues. The man with serious health problems was mobilized in September 2022. However, in January 2023, his wife Ksenia managed to get him hospitalized. Abramov spent a month in the hospital, was then sent to a military unit. At the end of July, he was confirmed to be in service fitness category "B", and on August 10, his dismissal was officially accepted. Nevertheless, according to his wife, at the end of August, he was issued a certificate indicating that he would be sent to the frontline on Sept. 2.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

The Leninsky Court of Penza has ordered the arrest of a participant in the war with Ukraine, who is accused of two robberies. According to the court's decision, the man had previously been pardoned by a presidential decree. The suspect had already been convicted of a serious crime, for which the conviction has neither been removed nor extinguished.

In Khakassia [Russia's constituent republic], servicemen Adygzhy Oorzhak and Valery Bazhutov have been sentenced to five and three years in a penal colony, respectively, for going AWOL. Oorzhak was absent from service from Dec. 7, 2022, to April 3, 2023, while Bazhutov was absent during March 1-29, 2023. According to the Sibir.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet, over the past year, the Abakan Garrison Military Court has issued no fewer than 18 guilty verdicts for going AWOL. The sentences have ranged from two to five and a half years of probation, or three to five years in a penal colony.

In Saint Petersburg, a conscript soldier was fined 250,000 [$2,600] rubles for placing a dummy explosive device in the wall of the communication hub building of his unit. At 10 a.m., the conscript reported the discovery of the bomb, leading to an evacuation.

The Rostov Garrison Military Court has sentenced Lieutenant General Viktor Voronov to five years in a maximum security penal colony. The former Deputy Commander of the Southern Military District was convicted of renovating his house at the expense of the Ministry of Defense.

In the Belgorod region, there was an arson attack on the railway. Authorities are searching for the arsonist.

A case of state treason has been filed in a military court against a 27-year-old native of Bashkortostan [Russia's constituent republic], Elnar Kamalov. The man has been in custody since June 2022, and the details of his case are classified.

The Second Western District Military Court sentenced Ramazan Murtuzov, 45, to 15 years in a penal colony for allegedly planning an act of terror in Kursk. According to the court, the man was recruited by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). During his trial, Murtuzov confessed.

A grenade exploded in a Moscow apartment building. The munition detonated inside the apartment of a 19-year-old resident from Pokrovskoye-Streshnevo district, resulting in the severing of his limb. Later came the news that the victim died from his wounds.


During a meeting of a pro-government Families of the Fatherland’s Fighters Committee, an invited sericeman complained of certain unscrupulous volunteers, who, in his opinion, turned their mission in a way to enrich themselves. He called for oversight over volunteer activities.

The Stolby nature preserve in the Krasnoyarsk region is sending an UAZ Hunter all-terrain vehicle to the front. Meanwhile, in the town of Buinsk in Tatarstan, pre-schoolers are being engaged to prepare herb tea bags for soldiers.

Children. Sept. 1: First Day of School across Russia—Knowledge Day

Vasily Piskaryov, the chairman of the State Duma Committee for Investigating Interference in Russian Internal Affairs by Foreign States, stated that the Committee asked the Prosecutor General’s Office to take measures with respect to "foreign agents" who developed talking points "aimed at discrediting the Talking About Important Things project."

Head of the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs Ksenia Razuvaeva announced the introduction of "patriotic education" for preschool children. According to her, even large companies are participating in providing such "education" to young people. Additionally, Razuvaeva stated that relevant departments have been established in 60 regions of Russia.

On Sept. 1, schoolchildren across Russia attended an event marking the beginning of the new academic year. At School No. 86 in Krasnoyarsk, children sang the song Vstanem [Let's Stand Up] by SHAMAN [a stage name of Russian pro-war singer Yaroslav Dronov]. Similarly, at School No. 49 in Cheboksary, the capital of Russia's constituent Republic of Chuvashia, another one of his songs, Ya russkiy [I'm Russian], was performed at least three times. In a Nizhny Novgorod school, children were given camouflage and weapons for the line-up, despite opposition from their parents. At a college in Kaliningrad, a war participant attended the event. At a school in Chelyabinsk, children were addressed by a Federal Security Service (FSB) employee, a prosecutor, a deputy and a bank representative.

A pneumatic weapons shooting competition was held among the students of a correctional boarding school in the Zabaykalsky region. In Krasnoyarsk, children were forced to hold a huge Russian flag standing on their knees with the national anthem playing in the background. The Astra and Sirena Telegram channels and the NeNorma project posted highlights of how Knowledge Day was celebrated in different parts of Russia.

The Russian Ministry of Defense made a post congratulating students on behalf of those participating in the war. A student who fought in Ukraine made a speech at an event at the Moscow Financial University.

Several Governors took the children of war veterans to school on Sept. 1. For example, the governor of the Kurgan region brought a girl to school, whose father was killed on the frontline. The head of Bashkortostan also personally saw off a soldier's daughter as she entered  first grade.

In the border villages of the Bryansk region, school assemblies on the first day of school in Russia, were held remotely. Officials are now considering the format in which students in the border towns of the Bryansk region, which are regularly being attacked, will study. Vazhnyye Istorii [IStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet] talks about how the school year started in the Belgorod region, the most shelled region of Russia.

Several media outlets have published texts about propaganda in Russian schools and universities. Mediazona briefly recalls the upcoming changes for students and schoolchildren in the new academic year. Meduza [international Russian-language online media outlet] talks about the introduction  of a new mandatory patriotic course titled "Fundamentals of Russian Statehood," which students will now be required to study.

The Vazhnyye Istorii media outlet spoke with Dmitry Zitzer, founder of the Institute of Informal Education, about the infiltration of war propaganda to schools, and offered guidance for parents on how to protect their children. Meduza prepared instructions for parents on protecting their kids from school propaganda. Dovod [independent Russian media outlet] recalls how, after the start of the war with Ukraine, schools ceased to be a place for discussion. Using the Vladimir region as an example, the outlet talks about the impact of combat activities, censorship, repressions and state propaganda on Russian education.

Meduza interviewed teachers, who keep working in Russia, about how their schools had gone through the first academic year against the backdrop of the war and what they expected from the second. Meanwhile, a former class teacher at a Saint Petersburg gymnasium told Mediazona how she had sabotaged "Talking About Important Things" lessons.


At least 28 military commissariats were set on fire in various Russian cities from July 31 to Aug. 2. According to law enforcement agencies, phone scammers made people throw Molotov cocktails at the buildings. The Takiye Dela [So It Goes] media outlet studies what schemes of financial fraud exist, how scammers manage to make people not only transfer all their money to unknown accounts, but also commit crimes.

The Novosibirsk-based media outlet published an investigative article about the circumstances of a mass brawl in a village of the Zabaykalsky region, in which a disabled veteran of the war in Ukraine was assaulted. We reported about this brawl, which led to the initiation of a criminal case on discrediting the RuAF, in our previous summaries (1, 2).