mobilization briefs
December 5, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Dec. 3-4, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

The Ministry of Defense is calling for a change in the system of medical evaluation performed upon admission into the military. The Sota media outlet wrote about the draft resolution on Nov. 28, but the story only gained prominence only when RBC [Russian media group] reported on it. The exact wording of the resolution has yet to be published, so the nature of the changes remains uncertain. Presumably, the authorities aim to shorten the list of conditions which preclude military service.

On Nov. 3, two members of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] called for extending the length of statutory military service from one to two years. Andrey Gurulyov from the United Russia party [Putin’s ruling party] and Viktor Sobolev from the Communist Party both argued that conscripts needed more training, in order to ensure the quality of the mobilization base. "The question of extending the duration of statutory military service is long overdue," asserted Sobolev. For his part, Gurulyov contended that it would also solve the problem with the number of conscripts.

On Nov. 4, Andrey Kartapolov, Chairman of the Defense Committee of the State Duma, denied the need to extend the duration of statutory military service, adding that the proposals voiced earlier "were categorically personal opinions of individual lawmakers." The Voyennye Advokaty [Military Lawyers] Telegram channel noted that it is not worth speculating whether members of the State Duma really plan to extend the duration of statutory military service unless they formalize their discussion in a bill.

In the explanatory note to the draft law on social protection for disabled individuals, the Ministry of Labor revealed statistics on the demand for prosthetics in Russia. According to the department's estimates, the current demand for prosthetics is around 50,000-60,000 devices per year, expected to increase to 60,000-70,000 in the near future. The Ministry of Labor notes that the majority of these are leg prosthetics, accounting for 88% of the total, while the remaining 12% are prosthetics for arms. Earlier, Deputy Minister of Labor Aleksey Vovchenko mentioned that 54% of war participants recognized as disabled due to the conflict with Ukraine have undergone amputations, with 80% of them involving lower limbs.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

The fall regular conscription campaign of 2023 has been described as the most harsh in recent years, according to Sergey Kryvenko, head of the Grazhdanin. Armiya. Pravo [Citizen. Army. Law] human rights society, as reported by the Mozhem Ob'yasnit [We Can Explain] Telegram channel. The human rights activist notes that roundups began immediately with the start of conscription, rather than closer to its conclusion, as was the previous practice. Law enforcement, including the police and the Rosgvardia [Russian National Guard], is involved in forcibly bringing young men to the draft offices, even though they lack the legal authority to do so. Moreover, conscripts are increasingly being sent to the military within one day: rapid medical and draft board examinations are conducted, followed by transportation to the military collection point and then directly to their units. Legislation has also changed, with the current law not suspending the conscription during legal proceedings in court, and conscripts now have to await the resolution while already in their military units.

In our previous summary we had covered the story of 20-year-old German Ritter, the son of an opposition figure in the city of Tula, who was taken from his apartment by unknown masked individuals. He was forcibly brought to the draft office, then sent to his assigned unit, and has now been admitted to the hospital with a high fever. The young man's father had previously reported that the military unit to which his son was sent had experienced an outbreak of meningitis.

Authorities and Relatives of Mobilized Soldiers

The Put Domoy [Way Home] Telegram channel is trying to remove the "Fake" label that appeared as a result of a complaint from professional informer Ilya Remeslo. The women have published an appeal to the founder of the Telegram messenger, Pavel Durov, asking for the label to be removed. Additionally, they have called on subscribers to leave appeals on the Telegram page on Twitter and have published the story of the woman who administers the group.

Wives of mobilized soldiers, participants in regional chats of the Put Domoy movement, are submitting questions en masse for the "Direct Line with Putin," which will take place on Dec. 14. In particular, screenshots of such questions are published in Samara and Vladimir chats. The women demand that the men be returned home and complain about the absence of leaves and the complex procedure for payouts for injuries. They also continue publishing photos of cars with stickers as part of the campaign to bring back the mobilized men.

Meanwhile, the Agentstvo.Novosti [Agency News] Telegram channel noted that in video addresses to Putin for his "Direct Line" that appeared on the VKontakte and Odnoklassniki social networks, there are no complaints about the war or its consequences. In the 24 addresses studied, Russians ask for solutions to problems such as deforestation, poor roads and water supplies, as well as protection for defrauded homebuyers. At the president’s meeting with the Human Rights Council, the head of the Committee of Soldiers' Families, Yulia Belekhova, said that her organization, composed of patriotic women, "will not allow the boat to be rocked in the country." In response to this, Putin stated that the primary task is to think about the widows of servicemen killed in the war, including common-law wives.

Mobilized soldiers, volunteer fighters and contract soldiers

​The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Ivan Sudarikov from the Astrakhan region, and Aleksey Afanasyev and Sergey Botalov from the Perm region [Russia’s federal subject].

According to the Lyudi Baikala [People of Baikal] independent media outlet], at least 800 residents of the Irkutsk region have been killed in the war with Ukraine.

Gennady Kiskorov, a mobilized individual from the Kemerovo region, who was ordered by commanders to be held tied to a tree at night to force him to go to the forward positions, agreed to carry out combat tasks after 24 hours in such conditions. He was also forced to withdraw accusations against the commanders. Following the public disclosure of the case, Gennady and Semen brothers were called for a conversation and compelled to delete the torture video and messages on the phone, as well as write explanations of the public disclosure, citing the "influence of Ukrainians and foreign agents." Meanwhile, the relatives of the soldiers managed to report the crime to the Military Prosecutor’s Office and other authorities. Despite the brothers’ request, the women do not plan to withdraw their statements; they believe that the requests were made under pressure from the commanders.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

Former Yeralash [Russian children’s comedy TV show and magazine] director Ilya Belostotskiy, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2020 for seducing a 13-year-old boy (later reduced to 6.5 years), has signed a contract with the Russian Ministry of Defense and gone to war. Belostotskiy announced this himself on VKontakte back on Nov. 5. The statement was corroborated by his sister and the press office of the Moscow Prosecutor’s Office. It is worth noting that the law passed this summer, allowing the Ministry of Defense to recruit convicts for war, specifies that it does not apply to individuals convicted of crimes against the sexual inviolability of minors. Since the article for which Belostotskiy was convicted falls into this category of crimes, it remains unclear on what basis he signed a contract with the Ministry of Defense.

The Astra Telegram channel reported that Russian sergeant Mikhail Khokhlov shot his commander. The incident occurred on Dec. 3 in the occupied village of Knyaze-Hryhorivka in the Kherson region. Khokhlov also wounded another fellow soldier, who was hospitalized with a gunshot wound to the neck. All three soldiers serve in the 1218th Motorized Rifle Regiment. According to the VChK-OGPU Telegram channel, the reason for the shooting was a conflict during drinking alcohol together—at some point, Khokhlov's surname became the subject of jokes.

A soldier who had returned from the war in Ukraine attacked two Kolomna residents with a knife. According to Astra, Maksim D., a soldier of the 252nd Motorized Rifle Regiment, argued with two men at the bus station and stabbed them in the chest and neck. He had previously been convicted of robbery, brigandage, murder threats, and causing grievous bodily harm. He is currently facing criminal charges for intentional causing of grievous bodily harm with a weapon.

A court in Irkutsk sentenced Staff Sergeant Mikhail Ilyin to two and a half years in a penal settlement for causing grievous bodily harm with a weapon. The Staff Sergeant stabbed the victim five times in the back with a knife in the Historical and Memorial Park because the victim was involved in a verbal conflict with Ilyin's ex-wife.

A contracted serviceman has fled from a military unit in the Voronezh region. On Nov. 19, Dmitry Kayshev left the unit premises, met with his girlfriend, and disappeared in an undisclosed direction. Authorities are actively searching for the man, who could face up to 10 years in prison for going AWOL.

The Federal Security Service (FSB) has apprehended a 22-year-old resident of Omsk on suspicion of publicly urging mobilized soldiers to join the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. A criminal case has been initiated against the detainee for public calls to activities contrary to state security.

On Nov. 13, a 32-year-old man was detained in Saint Petersburg for his suspected involvement in attempting to detonate the Nevsky district draft office on Sept. 5. According to the detainee, he orchestrated the explosion to "dissuade people from visiting the draft office.


Employees of the Barnaul Zoo "Forest Tale" have sent packages to invasion participants. Sergey Pisarev, the zoo's head, stated that "invitations will be sent to all participants, welcoming them to the zoo as our heroes."

Putin has awarded the Volunteer of the Year title to Natalya Amineva from Voronezh. The winner and her family knitted socks, weaved camouflage nets, and crafted trench candles for Russian soldiers.

The Krasnodar region budget allocated over 5 billion rubles [$54,600,000] to support war participants and their families, including additional New Year holiday payments of 20,000 rubles [$217] for children.

Children and Educational System

A 10-year-old schoolboy from Pyatigorsk is crafting trench mousetraps for those involved in the conflict with Ukraine. Video featuring him is actively circulating on pro-war social media channels.

As noted by the Bumaga [Paper] independent media outlet, the list of heroes in "Talking About Important Things" now includes Daria Dugina and soldiers accused of torturing prisoners. A "lesson of courage" took place in one of the schools in the Starobesheve district in the "DPR."  This event was organized by war veterans from the Combat Brotherhood [All-Russian public organization of veterans] from Buryatia [Russia’s constituent republic].

The Tomsk Municipal Construction College hosted the Peaceful Warrior of the Russian Federation festival. Mercenaries of the Wagner Group, Russian Guards, and Cossacks were invited. The event featured a weapons exhibition, as well as workshops on saber cutting and stripping and assembly of an assault rifle. Photos of Presidents Zelenskyy and Biden, as well as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, were used as targets in the shooting range.

Coats of arms and flags of Russia will be purchased for schools in the Zabaykalsky region for the Patriotic Education of Russian Citizens project, with the total cost of 18 million rubles [$196,600]. Earlier, 25.7 million rubles [$280,700] were already spent on similar purchases.


Journalists of the Sibir.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet visited Gorno-Altaysk, the capital town of Russia's constituent Altai Republic, to find out why so many graduates of the local college, which trains pastry chefs, fashion designers, construction workers, and specialists in other peaceful professions, ended up at war.