mobilization briefs
December 16, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Dec. 14-15, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

In the city of Arkhangelsk, the military and police conducted a raid on apartments inhabited by foreigners who had acquired Russian citizenship. Reportedly, over 40 addresses were checked during the raid, leading to the discovery of five citizens who were not registered with the military. As a result, these citizens were issued draft notices.

According to a study by the Russian Field project, 55% of Russian citizens do not support pardoning men convicted of serious crimes in exchange of fighting in Ukraine, while 32% of respondents endorse such a practice. The research indicates that the older the respondents, the more likely they are to support the pardon of offenders. Additionally, as the income and educational levels of respondents increase, the percentage of those opposing pardons tends to rise.

Authorities and Relatives of Mobilized Soldiers

Following Putin's Direct Line phone-in (more details in the previous summary), reactions from mobilized soldiers’ relatives seeking the return of their loved ones from the war continue to emerge. The Astra Telegram channel collected some statements from their chats. In a conversation with the Vyorstka media outlet, activists shared that they consider the Direct Line to be "detached from reality." After they "manage to put the emotions under control," they plan to assess their strength and continue the fight. Specifically, they intend to continue laying flowers at the Eternal Flame in Moscow and other regions. Military spouses from the Put Domoy [Way Home] Telegram channel have launched a new campaign: activists invite everyone to hang stylized Christmas tree decorations with calls for the return of mobilized soldiers on Christmas trees. An example of such an action, held near the building of the Penza region government, has been published in their Telegram channel.

Soldiers’ relatives from Zaschita Prav Mobilizovannyh [Defense of the Rights of Mobilized Soldiers], a Novosibirsk movement collaborating with the authorities, also complain that their calls demanding the return of their husbands, fathers and sons have been ignored during the Direct Line. The Telegram channel published screenshots of the messages sent to the president. It also featured a video address by a woman who, judging by her voice and language, might have been the host of the November meeting of mobilized soldiers’ relatives with the authorities. She called what happened "a spit in the faces of military mothers and wives."

As reported by the Mobilizatsiya [Mobilization] Telegram channel, mobilized soldiers’ relatives submitted an application to the administration of Obninsk to hold a rally for the return of their family members from the war. The scheduled date of the event is currently unknown.

Mobilized Soldiers, Volunteer Fighters and Contract Soldiers

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Yevgeny Siniy from the Bryansk region, Sergey Aksyonov and Geno Dzhondzhua from the Sverdlovsk region, Albert Bakirov and Rayan Isyanbaev from Bashkortostan [Russia's constituent republic], Dmitry Shachkov from the city of Cheboksary and Vasiliy Palachyov from the Vladimir region.

Based on open sources, Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] and BBC News Russian, together with volunteers, have verified the names of 39,424 Russian fighters, including 4,787 mobilized soldiers, killed in Ukraine. Over the past two weeks, the list has been supplemented by 1,163 military personnel, including 203 draftees.

The regional human rights ombudswoman reported that a total of 21 residents of the Samara region were returned from captivity through exchange in the years of 2022 and 2023. However, no official reports of prisoner-of-war exchanges have been made since Aug. 7, 2023.

Oleg Izmestyev, a participant in the war with Ukraine, staged a solo protest on the porch of the administration building of the Zabaykalsky region [Russia's federal subject]. The serviceman was dissatisfied with the lack of aid to soldiers from the authorities. Marat Mirkhaidarov, the head of the governor's administration, came to Izmestyev and invited him to enter the administration building, where he allegedly was going to discuss the aid being provided. The outcome of the conversation was not reported.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

According to the Vyorstka media outlet, since the beginning of the war, at least 922 Russian servicemen and their relatives have filed lawsuits against hospitals. The purpose of these lawsuits was to either obtain documents confirming the severity of their injuries or to prove that they are no longer fit to continue their participation in the war. Mass lawsuits began arriving in courts in August 2022 and increased in number after mobilization, peaking in the second half of 2023. Out of the 866 lawsuits filed against hospitals, only 35 were satisfied.

On Dec. 13 in the town of Yuryevets, Ivanovo region, a serviceman from the 27th Motorized Rifle Brigade, Roman Bachugin, stabbed a 17-year-old student of an agro-industrial college in the chest in the entrance of a residential building. The serviceman has been detained, and the reasons for his behavior are unknown at the moment.

The Garrison Military Court in the Zabaykalsky region sentenced Private Mikhail Molokov to five and a half years in a penal colony for going AWOL. On Feb. 12, the serviceman did not return to service, and on Sept. 19, seven months later, he was detained.

According to TASS [Russian state-owned news agency], the court in Chelyabinsk sentenced a mobilized soldier to six years in prison for going AWOL. The man left the unit thrice, but each time he was detained by the police and military commandant's office.

The court in Bashkortostan postponed the sentence of a recidivist drunk driver because he expressed a desire to go to war. The defendant was initially sentenced to eight months of correctional labor, but the court considered his desire to go to war an exceptional circumstance and delayed the execution of his sentence for up to six months.

In Omsk, a 14-year-old teenager was detained on suspicion of setting fire to a battery cabinet at the Omsk-Severny station on Dec. 11. Subsequently, he allegedly confessed, stating that he received an order through a Telegram channel. A criminal case has been initiated for deliberate destruction or damage to property committed from molester motives through arson.

According to Astra, in Nalchik, the Federal Security Service (FSB) detained Vitaliy Gayvoronskiy, a 42-year-old native of the Luhansk region. According to law enforcement, the man was against the war and planned an act of terror at the railway station in Nalchik. During a search, reagents that could be used for making a bomb were seized from the man. He faces charges related to preparing an act of terror, illegal production and acquisition of explosives.

In the Rostov region, the FSB detained a 40-year-old Ukrainian on suspicion of espionage in favor of Ukraine. According to law enforcement, he collected and provided information about army personnel and movements of Russian military units. Details of the case and the detainee's full name are not disclosed.

The court in the Chelyabinsk region revoked the acquired Russian citizenship of two young men for draft evasion. Brothers Akmal and Sevar Akramzhanov, aged 21 and 24, respectively, are said to be from the Central Asian region. The decision to terminate their citizenship was made by the police as part of the "Illegal Migrant" operation. They will have to leave Russia, and if they do not comply, they will be deported. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, "when applying for Russian citizenship, the young men deliberately provided false information to avoid military service." According to media reports, this is the first such case in Russia. The Voyennye Advokaty [Military Lawyers] Telegram channel suggests they most likely provided information about completing military service in their home country. The Telegram channel also notes that a misdemeanor is an insufficient reason to revoke Russian citizenship.

Children and Educational System

Portraits of killed Wagner Group mercenaries were placed on the "Wall of Heroes” in the educational center in the village of Karazey, Irkutsk region. This was done as part of the "Hour of Courage" event for high school students. Two of them, Andrey Ruban and Aleksey Moroz, were sentenced for robbery and the murder of a pensioner in 2020. Another mercenary, Grigory Stavrov, was also convicted of murder, but the details of his case are classified.

The Mozhem Ob'yasnit [We Can Explain] Telegram channel continues its investigation into school propaganda. Specifically, on Dec. 18, the lesson "Talking About Important Things" will focus on war heroes. Among them is Yuri Gagarin, a participant in the war in Ukraine, who allegedly saved 367 children from the city of Mariupol.


In a longread, Meduza [international Russian-language online media outlet] conducted a sociological study of the latest wave of emigration. The findings indicate that, currently, its potential has been exhausted. Only a significant decline in living conditions in Russia could trigger a fresh wave of departures. Those who have already left Russia now require adequate civil and political representation in their new countries of residence.