mobilization briefs
December 11, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Dec. 8-10, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

Governor of the Vladimir region Aleksandr Avdeyev signed a decree promising a 100,000 ruble [$1,100] sign-up bonus to soldiers mobilized from the region if they enlist and become contract soldiers. Meanwhile, the regional government announced the recruitment and dispatch of one more group of 16 volunteer fighters who had signed contracts with the Ministry of Defense.

Speaking at the inauguration of a monument to the fallen soldiers of the war against Ukraine, Oleg Nikolayev, Head of the Chuvash Republic [Russia’s constituent republic], announced that approximately 100 volunteer fighters had left Chuvashia for the front during the past week.

Perm Mayor Eduard Sosnin ordered an increase in the number of recruitment centers for contract service from six to ten. Furthermore, he instructed each center to showcase the equipment issued to contract soldiers, such as backpacks, uniforms and first aid kits, and to provide information on social support measures available to the families of military personnel.

In Murmansk, police officers conducted yet another raid on migrant "gathering places." As a result, they took more than 100 recently naturalized citizens who had failed to register for military service to draft offices. Officials then directed all men under the age of 27 to undergo a medical evaluation for subsequent conscription, while urging all the others to enlist as contract soldiers. In recent months, security services have conducted similar raids across the country. Just last week, raids were reported at Vladivostok airport, in Saint Petersburg, in the Krasnoyarsk region and Russia’s constituent Udmurt Republic.

Authorities and Relatives of Mobilized Soldiers

The Put Domoy [The Way Home] movement of mobilized soldiers’ wives held a rally on the Day of Heroes of the Fatherland. On Dec. 9, in memory of the soldiers killed during Putin’s "special military operation," activists laid flowers at the Eternal Flame near the Kremlin wall in Moscow and in other Russian regions. As Vazhnyye Istorii [IStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet] found out, only five women took part in the event in Moscow, while others were deterred from attending after having received intimidating police visits. Moreover, activists revealed that their mobilized husbands on the frontlines had been put under pressure too, being urged to force their wives into silence. As the Sota media outlet reports, the police seemed to be unsure whether and how to stop the activists, so the women were required to ask for an authorization from the commandant of the Kremlin. Eventually, the women were allowed to lay flowers.

In an attempt to raise more awareness of the unlimited mobilization among both government officials and the general public, the movement also launched a flash mob, posting photos of mobilized civilians and their family members with slogans like "VVP [Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin], when is DMB [demobilization]," "Putin, let the mobilized men come home alive," "Bring my dad back," "I want to have more children." In most photos, the faces of the activists are blurred. Earlier, reports emerged of wives of mobilized soldiers putting stickers on their cars that read "Vерните мужа! Я Zа#балась" ["Return my hubby, I'm sick of this sh*t."]

Mobilized soldiers, volunteer fighters and contract soldiers

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Nikolay Bokov, Vitaly Ilchenko, and Mikhail Temchenko from the Stavropol region, Shamil Karimov from the Belgorod region, Yegor Kachalov from the Yaroslavl region, Roman Vorobyov from the Moscow region, Ilya Linkov from the Vologda region, Rizat Kadyrbaev and Aleksandr Smyshlyaev from the Omsk region, Aleksandr Domnim from Russia's constituent republic of Sakha (Yakutia), Sergey Nikolaenko from the Irkutsk region, as well as Aleksandr Mayseenko and Andrey Grigoryev from the Kaliningrad region. Mobilized Aleksandr Pilitin from the Volgograd region died in the hospital from pneumonia.

A Russian contract soldier attempted to escape from the combat zone but was detained at the border with the "LPR" and sent to an illegal basement jail for refuseniks in the village of Zaitseve. The 25-year-old man signed a contract on Aug. 15, 2023, and was sent to the war just two days later. On Nov. 24, he was transferred to the Storm unit and, according to his wife, he and his fellow soldiers were sent on a mission without even being provided with assault rifles. The soldiers refused to carry out the order. The woman followed her husband to the "LPR," and on Dec. 8, they both tried to cross the border to return to Russia. However, at the Rovenki checkpoint, the man was detained and sent to the commandant's office. The soldier managed to communicate that he was being taken to a basement in Zaitseve. Since then, there has been no further communication. It is worth noting that earlier, former correspondent for First Channel Ilya Andreyev, who had signed a contract with the Ministry of Defense, was detained at the Rovenki checkpoint.

In the Vladimir region, the mother of a killed in action Wagner Group mercenary was given a veteran identification card. The man was recruited for the war from a penal colony where he was serving a sentence for drug trafficking, and had previously been repeatedly convicted of theft and murder threats. It is worth noting that relatives of the Wagnerites complain about officials refusing to provide their family members with veterans’ benefits.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

The parents of conscript soldier Andrey Lazhiev from Karelia [Russia’s constituent republic], who died under unclear circumstances in Crimea in early November, are trying to get his body exhumed for an independent examination. The official cause of death is cerebral edema, but the parents suspect that their son was beaten to death. Before the funeral, the parents were not allowed to open the casket. A criminal probe has not yet been opened regarding the soldier's death. The father fears that the investigation being conducted by military prosecutors in several regions may be stalled. Despite multiple threats, he intends to uncover the truth and punish those responsible for his son's death.

In Armenia, the Russian military police detained Russian citizen Dmitry Setrakov. He is under arrest on the territory of the 102nd Russian military base in Gyumri. Russian military investigators have opened a criminal case against Setrakov on the charge of desertion. Human rights activists have deemed the actions of the Russian military police as illegal, as they had no authority to detain anyone in Armenia. They have appealed to the country’s government, the Prosecutor General’s Office, and other law enforcement agencies to prevent the possible extradition of the detainee to Russia. This is the first time that Russian security forces have detained a fugitive serviceman on the territory of another country. Previously, Russians accused of desertion or evading military service in Armenia were detained by local police, but they were released within a few hours. Later, it was revealed that Setrakov had been mobilized from the Rostov region, managed to desert the military unit earlier, and left the country on Nov. 30. Journalists from the Agentstvo.Novosti [Agency News] Telegram channel discovered that the phone number used to call Setrakov’s wife on the day of his arrest belongs to Vadim Shevchenko, a graduate of the Federal Security Service (FSB) Institute and the commander of a detachment in the 381st Artillery Regiment in 2020–2021.

The authors of the Oblava [Roundup] anonymous anti-war Telegram channel claimed responsibility for a fire at a substation in Izhevsk on the night of Dec. 9, causing disruptions in the power supply to the Izhevsk Electromechanical Plant. They also published threats against employees of enterprises involved in assembling drones for the military.

In the Moscow region, unidentified individuals set fire to a railway transformer substation located near Zhukovsky airport. The SHOT Telegram channel claims that the arson did not affect train traffic as the substation was reportedly not yet in operation, and the fire had been extinguished by the time it was discovered. Authorities are currently searching for the arsonists.

Criminal charges for incitement to anti-state activities have been filed against Tomsk journalist Andrey Serafimov. Serafimov speculated that the reason for the charges was his social media posts advising people not to go to the draft offices during mobilization, which he published on his Telegram channel called Ulitsa Barkhatnaya [Velvet Street]. On Dec. 5, authorities visited Serafimov's relatives, and a few days later, they were summoned for questioning by an investigator. Serafimov has already left Russia.


Participants of the "special military operation" in the Krasnodar region are being allocated land plots for the construction of houses or homesteading. The first land plots are allocated to military personnel who have been awarded the title of Hero of the Russian Federation or decorated with orders.

A resident of one of the settlements in Buryatia [Russia's constituent republic] knitted a batch of toys for Russian soldiers. Meanwhile, residents of the Amur region prepared gingerbread cookies for the participants of the invasion.

Children and Educational System

A school administration in Belgorod opened a "Hero's Desk" in honor of police Lieutenant Colonel Nikolay Sapelkin, who was killed in the war with Ukraine. They made three grammatical errors. It was previously reported that only the best students and activists could sit at such desks.


The authorities of the Arkhangelsk region have decided to spend 10 million rubles [$110,000], intended to support foster families, on one-time sign-up bonuses for mobilized and contract soldiers.

Visitors to the Russia exhibition at VDNKh [permanent general purpose trade show and amusement park in Moscow] are offered to play a simulator of the Pantsir-S1 surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery system. The simulator is a replica of the training equipment used to train Russian soldiers.