mobilization briefs
August 9, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Aug. 7-8, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

President Putin signed a decree that suspends tax treaties with 38 countries, including the USA, UK, Japan and 24 EU countries. These treaties enabled natural and legal persons, who are tax residents in one country but earn income in another, to only pay income tax once. Experts expect these measures to have little effect on foreign companies or the federal budget. Instead, they will increase the tax burden on some Russians who have left the country and hurt Russian businesses’ international operations.

Putin also drafted amendments to the legislation that regulates the introduction of martial law. Specifically, changes would be introduced to article 22 of the law on martial law and article 37 of the law on emergencies. The text of the amendments has not been published yet. It may, however, be related to Russia’s exit from the Council of Europe.

The Voyennye Advokaty [Military Lawyers] Telegram channel published guidance for those liable for military duty, in order to limit the impact of the four new laws on regular conscription enacted this summer. Men aged 27 to 30 should request to serve in the reserve, otherwise they may be called up during next year’s regular biannual conscription. Those who have reached the age of 50 should request a discharge, before the age limit for serving in the reserve is lifted progressively from 2024 onwards. Those of conscription age should submit documents to the draft office, on whose basis a draft deferral could be granted, or submit an application to the alternative civilian service.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

Residents of Chuvashia [Russia's constituent republic] receive mailed invitations to serve in specialized units of the Nizhny Novgorod region. Another promotional banner was spotted in the city of Blagoveshchensk, Amur region.

In the city of Novosibirsk, military training courses have been launched, promising army preparation in "just two weeks." Instructors from the Novosibirsk Higher Military Command School will oversee the training.

Chechen opposition figure Abubakar Yangulbaev claims that his relatives were forcibly sent to war. According to Yangulbaev, his 55-year-old uncle and two cousins were dispatched to the war in Ukraine without receiving official draft notices. Instead, they were registered as volunteer fighters and coerced into heading to the frontline through threats. Yangulbaev's family has faced repression in the past: in July, his mother was sentenced to five and a half years in a penal colony.

Information coming from various sources indicates the initiation of forced recruitment of Russian convicts for frontline service. This has been reported by the human rights project citing their sources in the Federal Penitentiary Service. At the order of the Ministry of Defense, the Service has allegedly been making lists of those fit for service (excluding HIV-positive people, pedophiles, terrorists, and organizers of illegal armed groups). One cannot refuse to be recruited to the frontline. The Mozhem Ob'yasnit [We can explain] Telegram channel has looked through online chats of convicts’ relatives. They are discussing this subject, indeed, but only as a rumor. Reportedly, preparations for deployment to the frontline are being made in prisons of the Novosibirsk, Saratov, Lipetsk, Voronezh, Rostov, Tomsk, and Nizhny Novgorod regions.

According to the Fontanka online media outlet, military service evaders have been reported to the police in Saint Petersburg. In one case, a girl called law enforcement and reported her ex-boyfriend who evaded conscription at his registered residence. In the other case, a man who had gone AWOL from the combat zone and was hiding in the city, caught his neighbors’ attention with drunken debauchery, so the neighbors reported him to competent authorities.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Anatoly Kuvshinov from the Samara region, Mikhail Trofimov and Andrey Derbenyov from the Sverdlovsk region, Nikolay Pozdnyakov from Buryatia [Russia's constituent republic], Aynur Azizov from Tatarstan [Russia’s constituent republic], Andrey Stashkov from the Chelyabinsk region, Dinis Gainitdinov from Bashkortostan [Russia's constituent republic], and Vasily Kharnutov from the Irkutsk region.

Andrey A., a mobilized soldier from Volgograd, took his own life as he did not want to return to the combat zone. The man was serving in a naval infantry unit. Andrey's fellow soldiers claim that he had been in deep depression lately and expressed his unwillingness to go back to the frontline. Several days ago, he went AWOL from his unit, and after some time, he was found dead.

Wives of the mobilized soldiers from Orenburg have reached out to the regional Commissioner for Human Rights seeking to rescue their husbands, many of whom are trapped and injured beneath the debris of a mine. The mine where the soldiers were located allegedly collapsed due to an attack by the AFU. The exact location and the number of people in need of assistance remain unknown. The Commissioner stated that the issue of evacuating the wounded will be addressed by a special commission along with representatives from the Military Prosecutor's Office.

Soldiers of the Air Defense Battalion of the 144th Brigade have recorded a video address to the head of Russia's constituent Republic of Karachay-Cherkessia, complaining that they have been cheated out of their pay. According to the servicemen, they were paid no more than 30,000 rubles [$313] and sometimes as little as 8,000-10,000 rubles [$83-104] instead of the promised 195,000 rubles [$2,037]. The soldiers said they were ready to return home and gather a protest.

Several dozen former convicts who returned from Ukrainian captivity have been held in a military unit near Moscow for two months. They had their phones taken away, and were also prohibited from going outside and receiving packages. This happened after Volodymyr Zolkin [Ukrainian YouTuber who records interviews with Russian prisoners of war] posted an interview with Pavel Guguev, a 42-year-old ex-convict who spent a month in Ukrainian captivity and is now in this unit. Guguev reported that he was not provided with the necessary HIV treatment and said he would kill himself if he was sent to the frontline again. Former convicts from this unit last logged into their social networking services on July 29, the day their phones were taken away.

Returning from the zone of combat activities in Ukraine, Dmitry, a resident of Chelyabinsk and a father of many children, is struggling to obtain the status of a combat veteran and the entitled benefits. After receiving treatment at a military hospital, he was discharged and demobilized. However, upon returning home, he discovered that he was no longer listed as part of the military unit.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings, and Incidents

The second suspect in the assault on participants of the war in Ukraine in the Zabaykalsky region has been apprehended. The individual identified is Vladislav Aleksandrov, a 19-year-old student from the Priangarsky College. The previously detained 27-year-old Sergey Piskaryov has been remanded in custody by the court. The third suspect, 43-year-old Ivan Zyryanov, is currently wanted by the authorities, allegedly leaving his home with a rifle amidst the scandal. The possibility of his having committed suicide is not ruled out. Meanwhile, a criminal case has been initiated against the three attackers for discrediting the Armed Forces. Previously, they were also accused of property damage and inflicting minor injuries. Following intervention by the Prosecutor General's Office, the cases were merged and transferred to the Investigative Committee. Additionally, the Prosecutor General's Office demanded that the Ministry of Internal Affairs personnel, who initially filed the case solely based on the charge of property damage, be held accountable.

A resident of the Belgorod region has been sentenced to three years of restricted freedom under the charge of illegal weapon possession. In September 2022, the man found 120 rounds of ammunition and took them home. The police confiscated the ammunition and initiated a criminal case against him. Another resident of the region received a two-year suspended sentence and an 80,000 ruble [$835] fine under the same charge. This individual found two grenades in the forest, one of which he later detonated in his yard. Alerted by neighbors, the police arrested him.

The Ministry of the Interior and the Prosecutor General's Office of Russia have released statements regarding the arson incidents targeting military commissariats [enlistment offices]. The Ministry of the Interior has asserted that attacks on military or strategically important facilities "constitute sabotage or a terrorist act," while the Prosecutor General's Office has linked these incidents to the successes of Russian forces on the frontline. The Office claims that all the arson incidents were committed according to "instructions" received by phone from the territory of Ukraine.

A resident of the Nizhny Novgorod region has been issued a warning pertaining to actions falling under the article on terrorism. The man allegedly was going to set fire to a military commissariat, but changed his mind. Two bottles of "Molotov cocktail" were seized from him.

A court in Ulan-Ude has arrested a 46-year-old man who was detained on suspicion of vandalizing a Hero of the Soviet Union bust. In addition to the "rehabilitation of Nazism," the man is accused of "preparation for sabotage." After his arrest, correspondence was allegedly found on his phone about "a planned sabotage on the railway."

Apart from the misconduct charges, criminal investigation for battery and murder threats was launched against the men who attacked a girl in Kamensk-Uralsky because of the blue color of her hair.

A surgeon from the Moscow region, accused of issuing forged vaccination certificates, joined the Wagner Group and left for the war before the trial. Consequently, he couldn’t get a pardon and remains subject to ongoing investigation. He is now wanted by the police, but investigators are uncertain about his whereabouts.


One hundred billboards will be installed in Kazan in order to "raise the efficiency of volunteer projects." They will call for supporting the mentee towns of Lysychansk and Rubizhne, as well as the mobilized from Kazan and their families.

In the Irkutsk region, the regional headquarters of the United Russia party [Putin’s ruling party] organized the Equip children for school campaign. Within its frame, school supplies are collected and presented to the children of mobilized soldiers.

In Togliatti, the employees of Samara customs office sent 3393 pairs of confiscated sneakers to the soldiers. Meanwhile, customs offices in Buryatia and in Khabarovsk sent confiscated merchandise totaling 19 million rubles [$195,500] to the frontlines.

A convoy of about 20 UAZ and Niva cross-country vehicles were sent from Bashkortostan to the combat zone.


In the Krasnodar region, an ataman of a Cossack society has established a military-patriotic club. He has purchased mock-ups of a machine gun and assault rifles using funds from a presidential grant and trains children for potential military service. According to him, 12 cadets of the club have already been deployed to participate in the war in Ukraine.


Olga Gavrina, a resident of Krasnodar, stood up for local children who were forbidden to play on the playground as camouflage nets were woven there for Russian servicemen. After that, supporters of the war began to persecute the woman and her daughter. The pro-Russian Crimean SMERSH movement Telegram channel of pro-war blogger Talipov published personal data of the women and a call to "denazify them" which resulted in dozens of threats and insults on their personal pages on the VKontakte social network. Aleksey Avanesyan, lawyer for Olga Gavrina, commented on the situation with threats to the Sota media outlet. He also provided a recording of a threatening call.

In the Irkutsk region, the plate on the monument with the names of those killed in Afghanistan and Chechnya was replaced with a new one — in memory of those killed in local wars and the "special military operation."