mobilization briefs
December 27, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Dec. 25-26, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

The Voyennye Advokaty [Military Lawyers] Telegram channel notes a loosening of the restrictions on who can represent conscripts’ interests. The new version of the Military Conscription and Military Service Act allows any legally capable person, whose authorization is confirmed by a power of attorney, to appeal draft board decisions through the Gosuslugi public services portal or Multifunctional Public Services Centers. This procedure is especially relevant now, as officials have been conscripting young men in a single day during this fall's regular conscription campaign, denying them an opportunity to file appeals on their own. Voyennye Advokaty recommend authorizing relatives to sign and file administrative lawsuits by preparing in advance a notarized power of attorney with delegation rights.

Authorities continue to carry out raids on recently naturalized migrants. RBC [Russian media group] reports that law enforcement officers detained six individuals in the vicinity of the Sadovod [Gardener] market in Moscow and forcibly took them to local draft offices. Allegedly, the detainees had acquired Russian citizenship but failed to register for military service. Similar raids have been reported across the country in previous mobilization summaries.

Authorities and Relatives of Mobilized Soldiers

Referring to data published on the government procurement contracts portal, the Sirena Telegram channel reports that authorities in the Khabarovsk region plan to spend 8.5 million rubles [$92,400] on sweets for children of Russian Armed Forces members. Authorities in other regions have seemingly similar plans: Khakassia [Russia’s constituent republic] ordered 2,210 candy boxes for 1.9 million rubles [$20,700], while Yakutsk ordered 2,300 candy boxes for 1.8 million rubles [$19,600]. The contracts do not specify whether these measures concern the children of mobilized, contract or other types of soldiers.

Mobilized Soldiers, Volunteer Fighters and Contract Soldiers

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Andrey Komarov from the Perm region and Marat Zharov from the Moscow region.

In June, mobilized soldier Oleg Rybkin suffered severe injuries to his internal organs and legs during the Ukrainian offensive near Robotyne. He underwent surgery on his abdomen and was deemed temporarily unfit for military service. At the same time, Rybkin was denied joint replacement surgery on his leg, and the command attempted to send him back to the frontline. According to Rybkin's wife, the command intentionally did this to avoid dismissing him and paying him 3 million rubles [$32,600] in compensation. Rybkin did not receive any assistance from the Ministry of Defense. However, in December, the authorities gave him two buckets of carrots and a bag of onions as a New Year's present.

In the Irkutsk region, the remains of Aleksey Kislichenko, a killed tank crew member, were buried. The remains had been in a morgue in Rostov-on-Don for a year and a half. The DNA test failed to confirm that the remains belonged to Kislichenko, so his parents turned to the court, which declared the man dead. Kislichenko signed a contract immediately after completing his statutory military service. In May 2022, he was burned alive in a tank during fighting near the village of Trypillia in the Donetsk region at the age of 20.

Soldiers of the 1st Motorized Rifle Brigade have complained of beatings and extortion by their commanders. According to the men, two weeks after signing contracts, they were sent to assault in the Avdiivka direction without proper training. Additionally, before tasks, most soldiers are allegedly beaten and confined in basements. According to the soldiers, Artyom Yakupov, one of their fellow soldiers, was diagnosed with a concussion after being beaten by commanders. Artyom’s girlfriend confirmed this information. On Oct. 12, he received a concussion, and on Oct. 20, he was sent to assault, from which he did not return. The soldiers also mentioned that the commanders collect "fees" of up to 50,000 rubles [$540] per month, supposedly for building materials, spare parts for vehicles, uniforms, ritual services and psychological assistance to the relatives of killed men. However, as the soldiers claim, the funds collected are spent on the "personal needs of the commanders." The soldiers also revealed that some pay commanders 100,000 rubles [$1,090] to avoid participating in assault operations.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

Military courts in Siberia have issued several sentences to service members. The Borzinsk Garrison Military Court sentenced Yury Plakhtiy to six and a half years in a penal colony for evading military service "by simulating illness or other means" (two counts), failing to follow orders and falsifying documents (two counts). Plakhtiy produced forged records of his wife’s hospitalization and asked to be relieved of service. Upon return to his unit, he refused to go on a "service-related trip." The same court sentenced the soldier Dmitry Botov to five and a half years in a penal colony for going AWOL. Botov failed to report back to serve in February 2023 and was detained by military police in September. Additionally, the Abakan Garrison Military Court sentenced the soldier Hachyn Khomushku to five years in a penal colony for going AWOL. He delayed his return to his unit by almost two months, citing the need to "take a break from his duties and spend time with relatives."

The Vladimir Garrison Military Court has sentenced Mikhail Alekseyev, a contract soldier, to three years in a penal colony for going AWOL. In 2022, Alekseyev signed a three-month contract with the military. After the initial three months, he requested to be discharged from the military and headed home. Six months later, he found out that military police were looking for him because, during mobilization, all contracts become open-ended and cannot be terminated. Alekseyev admitted his guilt and expressed readiness to return to the war.

In the Volgograd region, two local residents, aged 18 and 19, have been detained on suspicion of setting fire to battery and relay cabinets at the Kamyshin-2 railway station. No one was injured, and the incident did not disrupt train traffic. According to the SHOT Telegram channel, the detainees were found to have correspondence with a "Ukrainian handler" who promised them approximately 30,000 rubles [$330] in bitcoins for committing arson. A criminal case has been initiated for "intentional destruction or damage to property" by arson.

The Central District Military Court in Yekaterinburg has sentenced Mikhail Nikitin to six years in a penal colony for an act of terror. Nikitin was charged with attempting to set fire to the draft office in the Kirovsky district of Yekaterinburg and was detained in November 2022.

A Sakhalin resident has been sentenced to 15 years in a maximum-security penal colony on charges of preparing an act of sabotage at "a region’s fuel and energy complex facility." According to the FSB, they found explosive components along with a "large amount of terrorist and extremist content" in his house, as well as correspondence with the coordinator of "one of the terrorist organizations in Ukraine."

In Chuvashia, the FSB detained an individual, born in 1999 in the Moscow region, who allegedly donated around 30,000 rubles [$330] to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The detainee is also accused of providing information about the locations of Russian Defense Ministry facilities and defense companies in the Moscow and Kaluga regions to "one of the Ukrainian nationalist organizations." The arrested man faces charges of high treason.


A Russian Christmas festival is taking place in the town of Shuya, Ivanovo region, and all tickets to the festival "will be given to the families of participants in the special military operation." This has sparked dissatisfaction from other parents who view the actions of event organizers as discriminatory. In Ulan-Ude, a New Year's matinee was held for children whose fathers were killed in the war.

Children and Educational System

In the Voronezh region, students from School No. 166 wrote letters to soldiers and made origami as talismans for them. Meanwhile, members of the Nefteyugansky District society of Disabled People are organizing "events in support of the special military operation," where they teach children to make dry showers for servicemen.


According to customs declarations analyzed by Vazhnyye Istorii [IStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet], Russia imported 16 billion rubles [$174 million] worth of hunting scopes in 2022-2023, some of which are used by the Russian Army on the frontline. Officially, these optical scopes are designated "for installation on hunting weapons" and stated to be "not for military use." At the same time, numerous online videos show Russian servicemen demonstrate scopes from Western manufacturers.


The 7x7—Gorizontalnaya Rossiya [Horizontal Russia] news outlet has published an article on women who have joined the war in Ukraine. The exact number of women currently fighting on the Russian side remains unknown, with authorities mentioning around a thousand individuals.

Meanwhile, the Astra Telegram channel sheds light on the stories of men from Donetsk who evaded mobilization announced by the "DPR" on Feb. 19, 2022. These men either stayed indoors or attempted to leave the city to avoid being drafted.

Approximately 80% of Russian regions are grappling with a record shortage of labor despite an unprecedentedly low level of unemployment. In some areas, the labor shortage has surged by 70-90%, with the average demand for 2023 increasing by 8.5%. As of September this year, there were only 26 applicants for every 100 job vacancies. Improvement in the situation is not expected before 2026.