mobilization briefs
December 14, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Dec. 12-13, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

The State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] has passed a bill in its third reading on the termination of the obligations of surety contracts for the killed and disabled veterans of the "special military operation." Additionally, State Duma members have extended the deadline for servicemen and their family members to file for payment holiday until the end of 2024.

Channel One [Russian state-owned TV channel] showed preparations for Putin's press conference, scheduled for Dec. 14. As noted by Vazhnyye Istorii [IStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet], questions about demobilization and the end of the war were displayed on the screen. It is worth noting that relatives of mobilized soldiers launched a campaign urging everyone to submit questions about demobilization for Putin’s call-in show.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

The Vot Tak [Like This] media outlet reports about the ongoing fall conscription campaign. According to human rights activists, the conscription campaign is witnessing a record level of lawlessness. Authorities are conducting roundups on young men, even those deemed unfit for service or possessing proof of draft exemption. Additionally, conscription processes are expedited to finalize decisions within a day, preventing young individuals from effectively challenging the decisions. These situations are particularly prevalent in Moscow, where authorities strive to meet their conscription targets.

The SOTA media outlet interviewed lawyers who advocate for citizens' rights in their dealings with military commissariats [enlistment offices], delving into the transformations in their work over the past year. They explored ways to protect individuals’ rights during visits to enlistment offices, proper procedures for appealing conscription decisions, and the feasibility of deregistering from military service without physically visiting the enlistment office.

The authorities of Russia’s constituent republic of Chuvashia have introduced a one-time sign-up bonus of 150,000 rubles [$1,660] for foreigners entering contracts with the Russian Ministry of Defense to participate in the war with Ukraine. This incentive is applicable to all foreigners signing contracts through enlistment offices in Chuvashia or the contract military service recruitment facility in the city of Cheboksary starting from Sep. 1, 2023. As reported by the Serditaya Chuvashia [Angry Chuvashia] Telegram channel, foreigners participating in the war may face criminal charges of mercenary activity in their home countries.

Mobilized soldiers, volunteer fighters and contract soldiers

The Vazhnyye Istorii media outlet recounted the story of a contract soldier who, after being placed in a torturous basement for refuseniks in Zaitseve, "LPR," was returned home in a sealed casket. The death notice cites multiple rib fractures, internal organ contusions, and traumatic shock as the causes of death. The soldier’s former wife learned about his time in the basement from a fellow soldier who was with him there. Military personnel were present at the funeral, ensuring that no relatives attempted to open the coffin. They also threatened that any attempts to uncover the truth about the soldier’s death would result in the family losing state-mandated compensations. It is worth noting that the man ended up in the war against his will, pressured by his parents.

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Ruslan Tarasov, Aleksandr Krasikov and Denis Gadzhula from Buryatia [Russia’s constituent republic], Denis Yashkin from the Omsk region, and Mingazhidin Mirzehkanov from Dagestan [Russia’s constituent Republic of Dagestan].

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

The court was unable to consider the lawsuit filed by the mother of a mobilized soldier, Victor Petrov, who was found hanged in May within a military unit territory in Ukraine. The woman suspects that the man died as a result of being beaten by the military police. Although human rights advocates successfully instigated a criminal case for incitement to suicide, representatives of the military unit did not respond to court summonses and did not attend the court session.

A court in Ulan-Ude sentenced a volunteer fighter from Buryatia, who fought in Ukraine, to three years on probation for going AWOL. The man had initially signed a six-month contract in September 2022. In April 2023, he unsuccessfully attempted to resign from service upon the expiration of his contract term. However, his superiors denied the resignation, citing "partial" mobilization. Nevertheless, the man flew home to Buryatia, and a month later, he voluntarily appeared at the military commissariat, which subsequently led to criminal charges for going AWOL.

​The Krasnoyarsk Garrison Military Court has found corporal Andrey Aliev guilty of attempting to illegally cross the border as he tried to fly to Thailand using his twin brother's passport but was subsequently detained. The court has imposed a fine of 125,000 rubles [$1,380] on Aliev.

In Novosibirsk, Yevgeny Ryapolov, a 27-year-old barber from Berdsk, was detained on suspicion of attempting to cause an explosion at a draft office. According to law enforcement, a robot vacuum cleaner with traces of explosives, components for producing improvised explosive devices, anti-war badges and items with Nazi symbols were found at the man's home. During the interrogation, Ryapolov allegedly confessed to attempting to explode the draft office for ideological reasons. Ryapolov is a former activist of the radical right-wing Restruct movement. In 2017, he received a four-year prison sentence for storage of explosives; at that time, he did not admit guilt.

In the Republic of North Ossetia–Alania [Russia's constituent republic], a Ukrainian citizen has been detained on allegations of providing information to the Armed Forces of Ukraine regarding the positions and movements of Russian military vehicles. A criminal case on espionage charges has been initiated.

The Second Western District Military Court found Yevgeny Zabolotny from Komi, a constituent republic of Russia, guilty of an act of terror for attempting to set fire to the Federal Security Service (FSB) building on May 11. He has been sentenced to 12 years in a penal colony. The fire affected an area of 1.5 square meters. Although Zabolotny admitted to setting the fire, he disagreed with the qualification of his action. According to Zabolotny, his intention was merely to "draw society's attention to the problem."

Children and Educational System

According to the Mozhem Ob'yasnit [We Can Explain] Telegram channel, the Ministry of Education has issued guidelines instructing schools on the organization of sections dedicated to participants in the "special military operation" within military museums being established nationwide. Specifically, the Ministry has mandated the display of life-size replicas of assault rifles and ammunition for students. This marks a shift in official stance, as prior recommendations discouraged the use of realistic weapon replicas in education due to concerns about potentially provoking aggression in children.

At Vladimir State University, students and schoolchildren were taken to the premiere of a propagandistic film called "Za Nami Zavtra" (Tomorrow is With Us), which was initiated by a public organization representing families of killed soldiers.

As part of the Dialogues with Heroes event, Maksim Tanachev, a former Wagner Group mercenary who was previously sentenced to eight years and two months in a penal colony for large-scale drug trafficking, spoke to schoolchildren from the Center for Civic and Patriotic Education in the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region-Yugra [Russia's federal subject].

In the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region, the Spetsnaz [Special Forces] Children military field camp for schoolchildren was declared the product of the year. Yevgenia Agmazova launched the project for children aged 9 to 17 in the summer of 2023 and received 2.3 million rubles [$25,500] from the government for it. During the shifts, instructors taught the children skills such as shooting, marching, and providing medical care to the wounded.

In Omsk, following a video address from soldiers, the mayor of the city instructed the head of the local administration to assist in preparing for the placement of a memorial plaque in honor of a graduate killed in the war on the building of school No. 87. Previously, the school principal had declined to accommodate the memorial plaque.


The Vyorstka media outlet, citing sources in municipal services and social protection agencies in Moscow, has reported the creation of observation centers for drones in dozens of residential buildings in the city. Military personnel equipped with MANPADS and sniping weapons are on duty at these points. Combat patrols are conducted by teams of several individuals at these locations. According to sources interviewed by the outlet, these centers were set up at least a month ago.


Vyorstka also details the operation of Orthodox religious services for Russian soldiers during the war. Dozens of priests from the Russian Orthodox Church have been performing ceremonies on the frontline for almost two years. They baptize and hear confessions of soldiers at forward positions, bless weapons and occasionally go down into trenches for educational discussions on patriotism, discipline and victory.