mobilization briefs
December 12, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Dec. 10-11, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

On Dec. 11, a law came into effect requiring Russian citizens to surrender their international passports should they be barred from leaving the country (read more). According to the government’s implementing resolution, citizens must surrender the document to the issuing authority within five working days of receiving the travel restriction notification. This applies, among others, to individuals subject to compulsory military or alternative service. Although international passports that are not surrendered without a legitimate reason could be declared invalid, the Voyennye Advokaty [Military Lawyers] Telegram channel emphasizes that the invalidation provision does not apply to conscripts or other persons liable for military service. Furthermore, the law does not provide a legal basis for prosecution for failure to surrender an international passport.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

Law enforcement officers continue to conduct raids on naturalized migrants who fail to register for military service. One such raid took place in annexed Sevastopol, resulting in 12 individuals receiving draft notices. In Yekaterinburg, police officers and members of the Russian Community movement rounded up migrants in the Greenwich shopping mall. They detained around 16 people and, reportedly, took DNA samples and served draft notices. A regional media outlet noted that roundups also took place at several construction sites. In Saratov, roundups were reported in cafes, night clubs and districts inhabited by foreigners. In one bar, law enforcement officers photographed patrons’ IDs. Police representatives later indicated that four draft notices had been served during the operation.

Security forces conducted another roundup of migrants in the Vladimir region. The number of draft notices issued is not disclosed, but, according to the Investigative Committee, some foreigners with Russian citizenship reportedly expressed their desire to sign a contract with the Ministry of Defense. There are also reports of a raid in Ryazan, where draft notices were issued to seven migrants. We have previously written about roundups in Russian regions. Today, Meduza [an international Russian-language online media outlet], in collaboration with lawyers from the Prizyv k Sovesti [Call to Conscience] coalition, published instructions on how to protect oneself from such roundups.

According to Tamila Tasheva, the representative of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, dozens of thousands of people from the annexed peninsula have been drafted into the Russian army since 2022.

Authorities and Relatives of Mobilized Soldiers

Administrators of the Put Domoy [Way Home] Telegram channel, which unites the wives of the mobilized, published a backup post with further instructions in case something happens to them. Earlier, the channel was attacked by propagandists and its administrators were threatened.

Mobilized Soldiers, Volunteer Fighters and Contract Soldiers

The Astra Telegram channel reports the death of 39-year-old mobilized soldier Aleksey Zakharov. He was installing mine barriers near the village of Elizavetovka in the Kursk region and died after one of the mines he was installing exploded.

In the Belgorod region, the head of the Shebekino urban district, Vladimir Zhdanov, has announced plans to establish a memorial to Russian soldiers who were killed during the Russian Volunteer Corps’ attack on the village of Novaya Tavolzhanka in late 2023. Zhdanov did not specify the number of Russian soldiers killed in the fighting.

The Mozhem Ob’yasnit [We Can Explain] Telegram channel reported instances of recertification of volunteer fighters who joined the war. Those who agreed to sign contracts as cooks are being sent to work as drivers, while those who initially agreed to work as drivers or medics are being reassigned to positions as EOD operators or members of assault squads. Volunteer fighters complain about the impossibility of terminating breached contracts.

Yevgeniya Borovikova, a member of the Legislative Assembly of the Altai region [Russia’s federal subject], proposed considering the issue of undergoing military medical examinations in civilian clinics or establishing military medical boards in each region. Borovikova stated that "hospitals are overcrowded, and as a result, participants in the special military operation cannot undergo military medical examinations or have to wait for conclusions for up to a year." Earlier, pro-Russian propagandist Anastasia Kashevarova wrote about the problem of a shortage of military hospital beds.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

Members of the Storm unit of the 810th Naval Infantry Brigade, recruited from the ranks of convicts, set up a drug supply for their fellow soldiers in the Russian-occupied Melitopol. Authorities seized more than 2 kilograms of substances when the men were detained, leading to a criminal case against them for attempted drug trafficking in large quantities. Before going to the war, these men were serving time together in a penal colony in the Samara region on drug-related charges. Earlier, the Vyorstka media outlet published an investigation into drug use in the combat zone.

A former Wagner Group mercenary was detained on suspicion of attempted murder of a district police officer, which occurred in May 2023 in the town of Maloyaroslavets, Kaluga region. According to the investigation, 35-year-old Nikolay L., who had returned from the war, attempted to kill the police officer with a hand grenade due to personal animosity. The police officer discovered the grenade with the safety pin removed and the lever pressed down by a piece of slate. A criminal case was opened against the former mercenary on charges of attempted murder.

In the Russian-occupied part of the Luhansk region of Ukraine, a 40-year-old serviceman of the 57th Motorized Rifle Brigade was detained on suspicion of murdering a 29-year-old local resident and a 30-year-old resident of the Rostov region. The soldier shot both men from his Kalashnikov assault rifle; however, his motive remains unclear. In addition, the death of Viktor P., a 71-year-old resident of the Russian-occupied part of the Kherson region of Ukraine, was reported on Dec. 11. The man disappeared without a trace on Nov. 6, and on Dec. 8, his body with a gunshot wound, abrasions and bruises was found in a field, ten meters from the road. Ukrainian media suggested that Russian soldiers could have shot the man to take his vehicle.

According to the VChK-OGPU Telegram channel, contract soldier Muslim Rasulov from Russia’s constituent Republic of Dagestan has been sentenced to seven years in a maximum security penal colony for the murder of a fellow soldier. Rasulov took the phrase "We old farts will not be hired by the Wagner Group" personally and stabbed the man who said it at least 30 times with a knife. The murder occurred in the military barracks in April 2023.

The officers of the regional Federal Security Service (FSB) office in Mari El [Russia's constituent republic] issued a warning to a Volzhsk resident for his intention to surrender to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. According to law enforcement, the man, holding the rank of a reserve captain, fearing mobilization, contacted the Ukrainian side and provided his biographical information.

The FSB reported the detention of 18 persons in annexed Crimea suspected of organizing assassination attempts. According to law enforcement, the targets of the "deeply undercover branched agent network of the Ukrainian intelligence services" were supposed to be the "head of the region" Sergey Aksyonov, former Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada [parliament] deputy Oleg Tsaryov (recently an attempt on his life was reported, but the circumstances of the incident are doubtful), as well as local informer Aleksandr Talipov (the creator of the pro-Russian Crimean SMERSH movement Telegram channel, an explosion occurred in the yard of his house in the summer), "mayor" of Yalta Yanina Pavlenko, and "speaker of the Crimean parliament" Vladimir Konstantinov. The FSB also reported preventing 14 acts of terror on infrastructure objects in the peninsula.

In late November, the First Appellate Court of General Jurisdiction overturned the guilty verdict of entrepreneur Rovshan Namazov from the Yaroslavl region on charges of state treason and smuggling for selling engines and parts for military vehicles on the largest Russian classified advertisements website Avito. The court sent the case back for reconsideration on the grounds that the verdict had been annulled due to a "significant violation of criminal procedure." In September, the businessman was sentenced to 13 years in a maximum security penal colony.

In Moscow, a man named Verianov has been arrested on suspicion of high treason. The court has refused to disclose details of the case, as well as the full name of the detainee.


Governor Vladislav Shapsha of the Kaluga region announced that the region had provided nearly one billion rubles [$1.1 million] in aid to Russian soldiers participating in the invasion. The official did not specify the time period under consideration, whether it is related to the entire duration of the war or just the year 2023. For context, the budget of the regional center, Kaluga, is 15.8 billion rubles [$173 million].

Children and Educational System

Omsk State University held a roundtable discussion titled "Time Has Chosen Us.” The students met with the Wagner Group mercenaries who participated in the war in Ukraine. The roundtable focused on "issues of war, family values, and patriotism." The Sibirskiy Ekspress [Siberian Express] Telegram channel found out that the namesakes of two of the mercenaries present had previously been convicted on charges of kidnapping, robbery, and illegal drug trafficking.

Photographs of the Wagner Group mercenaries who had been killed in the war were displayed in a children's library in the Irkutsk region. Govorit NeMoskva [independent media outlet] notes that some of them had been convicted of car theft, murder and robbery in 2018 and 2020.

In Gorodets, Nizhny Novgorod region, schoolchildren were involved in the funeral of Sergey Vinogradov, who was killed in the war in Ukraine. Children in the Young Army [pro-Kremlin youth organization] uniform were put on "honor guard" duty instead of attending classes.

Military Training Center will start working in Perm National Research Polytechnic University from Sept. 1, 2024, so that students will be able to receive both civilian military specialties there, for example, a UAV operator, a ground surveillance radar operator and a commander of a communications post of the Russian Aerospace Forces.


Workers who built defensive fortifications in the Kursk region complain that they have not received their promised salaries. The prosecutor's office established that the client of the work, the Regional Capital Construction Department, underpaid the Kursk region Development Corporation, which was involved in the construction, by 317.3 million rubles [$3.5 million].


The Veter [Wind] project interviewed the wives and mothers of mobilized soldiers who told how their families live now and how women are trying to bring their mobilized relatives home.

The Govorit NeMoskva media outlet analyzed the information on the presidential grants website and found out how much non-profit organizations associated with the war have earned. There are at least 116 projects that have received government support in the amount of 245 million rubles [$2,7 million]. 60% of the projects analyzed by the journalists are directly related to the Russian state, and another 17% are related to it indirectly.

The 7x7—Gorizontalnaya Rossiya [Horizontal Russia] news outlet has published an article on how conscripts have been trying to get into alternative civilian service in recent years and what obstacles they face.