mobilization briefs
December 8, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Dec. 6-7, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

The State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] approved a bill in the second reading which would allow Rosgvardia [the National Guard of Russia] to muster volunteer fighter units (read more). Ahead of the second reading, lawmakers introduced amendments to permit conscripts to serve within the ranks of the Federal Security Service (FSB). Individuals who are citizens or permanent residents of other countries, "foreign agents," and people taking recreational or psychotropic drugs without prescription would be ineligible to perform their compulsory military service in the FSB.

Members of the State Duma Viktor Vodolatsky and Alexey Yezubov jointly introduced a bill on the issuance of assault weapons to Cossacks. The bill would empower governors, with presidential approval, to incorporate Cossack formations into the territorial defense forces in times of war, martial law or mobilization.

During a direct line [live call-in TV program], Governor Gleb Nikitin indicated that the Nizhny Novgorod region had spent more than 4 billion rubles [$43.6 million] on the war against Ukraine. In particular, authorities have spent 1 billion rubles [$10.9 million] on the needs of military personnel and 1.7 billion rubles [$18.5 million] on support for their families. When asked about the return of mobilized soldiers from the war, Nikitin cited the presidential decree on "partial" mobilization, which does not specify a duration. Meanwhile, Governor of the Vladimir region Aleksandr Avdeyev also participated in a direct line program but avoided all questions regarding the war against Ukraine.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

As claimed by the Baza Telegram channel, over 350 men who recently received Russian passports were conscripted into the army following raids in the Moscow region in October and November. Confirming the accuracy of this information is challenging, but human rights advocates acknowledge an increase in the number of recent raids. Another such raid was conducted in the city of Izhevsk by the military police and the military Investigative Committee. According to law enforcement, detained men aged 18 to 27 will be drafted for regular biannual conscription, while those over 27 will be offered contracts with the Ministry of Defense. Similar raids took place earlier this week in Saint Petersburg and the Krasnoyarsk region.

Another official facing criminal prosecution has joined the military. Aleksey Polygayev, a 66-year-old former head of the repair department from the city of Nizhny Novgorod accused of bribery and abuse of power, has signed a contract with the Ministry of Defense. This information was revealed by his lawyer.

The Regional Bar Association of Tatarstan [Russia’s constituent republic] sent a draft notice to a lawyer demanding that he appear at the draft office to verify his details. The defense attorney deemed this method unlawful, as he is not an employee of the bar and therefore not subject to military registration through it. He sought clarification from the Federal Bar Association, but they advised him to contact the draft office.

The Head of Russia’s constituent Udmurt Republic Aleksandr Brechalov announced that the region has formed four new units for participation in the war with Ukraine. According to him, in the near future, the Yevgeny Dragunov Air Defense Battalion, the Cheptsa Air Defense Division, the Varmun Motorized Rifle Battalion, and the Anti-Tank Guided Missile Battery, which will join the Kama Airborne Assault Division, will be deployed to the combat zone.

Authorities and Relatives of Mobilized Soldiers

The relatives of mobilized soldiers from the Put Domoy [Way Home] Telegram channel recorded a video address to Putin, demanding the legislation of a maximum service term of one year from the moment of draft for their family members. The women also read a manifesto that they had published earlier.

Relatives of the mobilized from Novosibirsk, united in the Zaschita Prav Mobilizovannyh [Defense of the Rights of Mobilized Soldiers] Telegram channel, are urging people to submit questions for Putin's direct line regarding the return of the mobilized, the establishment of a maximum service term of no more than a year for them, rotations, leaves, as well as medical assistance in civilian clinics, and the expansion of the list of illnesses that would warrant mobilized soldiers’ return home.

Mobilized soldiers, volunteer fighters and contract soldiers

In Saratov, the Svobodnye Novosti [Free News] media outlet was forced to delete the list of the region's residents killed in the war with Ukraine at the request of the Military Prosecutor’s Office. The military department concluded that the list contained "information about personnel losses," the dissemination of which violated the law on state secrets.

A serviceman of the 394th Regiment on the Zaporizhzhia axis claims that the command forced him to burn the personal belongings of the wounded and killed fellow soldiers, including documents. The man admitted that he buried their belongings instead. He also claims to have witnessed a fellow soldier being punished for a misdemeanor by being "thrown into a pit."

Relatives of Wagner Group mercenaries have launched a petition on the website complaining that they are not eligible for the benefits granted to the families of combat veterans. According to them, the mercenaries "voluntarily" went to war with Ukraine, but now "the state does not see them as people."

The relatives of a mobilized soldier from the Sverdlovsk region have been trying to bring him back home for two months now, as he has reached the age limit for military service. A couple days before his 50th birthday, the mobilized man applied for dismissal, which was rejected by his command. He applied again after turning 50 years old. The document was signed by a sergeant, but the battalion commander refused, saying that the mobilized private would serve until the end of the war. It is worth noting that earlier, the authorities had introduced amendments that will gradually increase the age limit for military service from 2024 onwards.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

Andrey Filippov, a participant in the war in Ukraine from Khabarovsk, who was previously sentenced to one year and eight months’ probation for theft, has now been sentenced to actual imprisonment. He was not pardoned for his participation in the war.

In Novosibirsk, a criminal case related to an attempted act of terror was opened over the discovery of an explosive device near a draft office. There are currently no suspects and the investigation is ongoing.

The FSB regional office in the Tyumen region reported the detention of a local resident accused of treason for, according to investigators, transferring money to finance the Armed Forces of Ukraine. At the same time, the Volgograd FSB reported that it had issued warnings to residents of the region who were allegedly planning to join the ranks of the AFU and were sending them money.

The FSB reported the detention of a resident of the Kaliningrad region, born in 2002, suspected of organizing 15 arsons in different regions of Russia. According to law enforcement, the detainee carried out tasks for the Ukrainian intelligence services. He recruited ten executors from various regions who were later also detained. The FSB has opened a criminal case on charges of aiding sabotage activities and treason. According to a source from Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet], familiar with the investigation, a young man was arrested eight months ago, and his criminal case was allegedly a provocation by the FSB. He admitted guilt of aiding subversive activities, but denied the charges of treason.

A Moscow court has ordered the detention of five individuals involved in a group responsible for contract killings. Among them are two active Rosgvardia members and a mobilized commander of the motorized infantry platoon from the 1008th Motorized Infantry Regiment, Dmitry Kushakov. According to the investigation, the group committed over 30 contract killings, robberies, and kidnappings over 25 years.

The Orenburg District Court is considering a lawsuit filed by a local resident demanding the cessation of the war. The plaintiff argues that the war "substantially violates his constitutional rights, freedoms, and interests." He is seeking a court order compelling Putin to end the "special military operation."

Children and Educational System

Female volleyball players from the Olympic reserve sports school "CSKA-Khakassia" [Central Sports Club of the Army] participated in writing letters to soldiers as part of the "Writing to You, Soldier" campaign.

In the Yaroslavl region, tenth-grade students will be sent to five-day military training camps at the specially created "Avangard" center.

As noted by the Telegram channel NeNorma, at Gymnasium No. 5 in Bryansk, where an 8th-grade student opened fire and then took her own life on Nov. 7, workshops on assembling and disassembling assault rifles were conducted two months ago.


Journalists from the Idel.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet, spoke with a mobilized individual from Bashkortostan [Russia’a constituent republic] who decided not to return to the frontline after a leave of absence. He detailed the reasons for his decision, but later asked the journalist "not to publish anything for now" as he had "come into contact with the draft office." Soon after, the mobilized individual stopped communicating with both the editorial staff and his relatives.

Nastoyashсheye Vremya [Current Time, an editorially independent US-funded Russian language media outlet], released a piece on cases of individuals returning from the frontline, who physically abuse their wives, and revealed why the victims are afraid to speak out about their suffering at the hands of the "heroes of the special military operation."