mobilization briefs
February 16

Mobilization in Russia for Feb. 13-15, 2024 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

Vladimir Putin has signed into law a bill that penalizes "crimes against the security of the Russian Federation" with asset seizures. The bill had previously been approved by the State Duma and Federation Council [lower and upper houses of the Federal Assembly of Russia, respectively]. For further details about the bill and its implications, you can refer to our previous summaries (1, 2, 3, 4) and the analysis written by legal experts from the Pervy Otdel [Department One] human rights project. Additionally, Meduza [international Russian-language online media outlet] has created cards to explain who and what is at risk now that the law has come into force.

A group of State Duma members, led by Chairman of the Defense Committee Andrey Kartapolov, has introduced a bill that proposes the write-off of loans taken by participants of the war with Ukraine who have acquired a second-degree disability. Previously, authorities had already exempted war veterans with a first-degree disability and families of service members killed in the invasion from debt repayment.

State Duma members from multiple parties, including presidential candidate Vladislav Davankov, have introduced a bill to establish July 1 as Veterans Day. The accompanying explanatory note mentions that there are more than 2 million combat veterans in Russia today.

Protests in Bashkortostan

The list of suspects in the "Baymak case" has expanded to include Ruslan Gizzatullin, Alfred Alibaev and Aybulat Nigamatov. Authorities did not specify whether the three have been indicted. The total number of persons of interest in the case has reached 67. Meanwhile, on April 10, a court in Ufa sent Ilmir Ryskulov to jail on charges of participating in mass unrest.

Another participant in the events in Baymak, Minniyar Bayguskarov, aged 65, has been reported dead by suicide, and his funeral took place on Feb. 13. The news of his suicide was shared on Feb. 15 in a chat created to assist the families of those detained after the events in Baymak. There is no information about Bayguskarov facing any misdemeanor or criminal charges. However, according to sources, law enforcement officers "pressured him, leading to his suicide." Earlier in Bashkortostan, Rifat Dautov was buriedhe died in a police van after being detained.

The Investigative Committee may use phone billing records to track participants in the protests in Baymak. The Port media outlet has discovered that the Basmanny District Court of Moscow granted five requests from the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation to obtain information about connections between subscribers and subscriber devices. Thanks to these billing records, investigators have the opportunity to prove the presence of protest participants near the Ufa court on Jan. 19 or identify those who managed to leave for other regions. Earlier, Insaf Islamov was arrested in the Murmansk region.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

The Krasnoyarsk City Council met to discuss the planned numbers of contract soldiers to be recruited. In 2024, the city aims to recruit 2,000 men for the war in Ukraine. The meeting was attended by Vyacheslav Dyukov, a Krasnoyarsk City Council member. Responding to a comment about a low number of young men, aged 18 to 27, signing up for contract service, Dyukov explained that, in the past year, the majority of newly recruited contract soldiers in Krasnoyarsk were alcoholics, homeless individuals, derelicts and convicts. Notably, 58 men sourced from pre-trial detention centers were not included into the total recruited headcount. This is why the authorities now prefer to source contract soldiers from local businesses or through bailiffs.

According to Viktor Valentsov, the head of a contract military service recruitment facility in Yekaterinburg, as many as 10,000 residents of the Sverdlovsk region signed a contract with the Ministry of Defense in 2023, which is ten times more than in 2022.

Governor of the Rostov region Vasily Golubev has increased the regional sign-up bonus for individuals joining the contract military service with the Ministry of Defense from 200,000 rubles [$2,180] to 500,000 rubles [$5,460]. Earlier, the governor of the Krasnodar region announced a similar increase of the military sign-up bonus to 500,000 rubles [$5,460].

Mobilized Soldiers, Volunteer Fighters and Contract Soldiers

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Oleg Pyshko from the Irkutsk region, Sergey Vorobyov from the Vladimir region, Roman Krasikov from the Volgograd region, Ilya Shcherbakov from the Samara region and Yevgeny Smirnov from the Nizhny Novgorod region.

Additionally, it has been reported that Yury Akacheev, the former head of the Danilovsky district court in the Yaroslavl region, aged 63, was killed two weeks after voluntarily joining the war.

According to the Astra Telegram channel, on Feb. 13, a 20-year-old conscript soldier, Gaysa Safin from the 5th Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment, was wounded as a result of a drone attack near the village of Tyotkino in the Kursk region. Subsequently, he was hospitalized.

The deputy governor of the Tomsk region commented on the death of conscript soldier Maksim Chernyshov, who was killed on Jan. 18 in the Bryansk region during a raid by the Russian Volunteer Corps. According to the official, this is an isolated case. Additionally, he mentioned that he is uncertain about whether the family of the deceased conscript is entitled to any payments.

Conscript soldier Artyom Dvortsov is struggling to claim compensation from the Ministry of Defense. Conscripted in November 2023 and deployed to serve in Belgorod, Dvortsov suffered a leg injury and concussion during his service, leading to his demobilization. However, despite his appeals, the Ministry of Defense has ignored Dvortsov's requests for injury compensation and proper medical treatment, citing Putin's claim that "conscripts are not being sent to the special military operation zone."

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

Yet another murderer was released early after participating in the war, despite not serving the full sentence. In 2021, Samat Khazipov was sentenced to 13 years in a maximum security penal colony for the murder of a children’s hockey coach Aleksandr Chumarin. However, Khazipov was recently detained and fined 2,000 rubles [$22] on charges of public intoxication. It was discovered that Khazipov had joined the Wagner Group and received a pardon for fighting against Ukraine.

The Mobilizatsiya [Mobilization] Telegram channel reported an incident involving a drunken serviceman from the 17th Tank Regiment who shot dead two sentries. Subsequently, he entered a dugout and murdered several other soldiers and officers, including Colonel Stanislav Klyukin, the commander of the tank battalion of the 17th Tank Regiment, who was sleeping there. The Mobilizatsiya Telegram channel published a photo of the order issued by Colonel General Mikhail Teplinsky, the commander of the Group of Troops "Dnepr," detailing the incident. Teplinsky issued a severe reprimand to several officers and demanded intensified efforts to combat alcohol abuse among subordinates.

The VChK-OGPU Telegram channel, affiliated with law enforcement, has reported on the sentencing of mobilized soldier Yury Vologzhanin, who, while intoxicated, severely stabbed his commanding officer with a knife. Following an investigation and trial at the first instance, Vologzhanin's actions were classified as attempted murder and violence against a superior. He was initially sentenced to eight years in a maximum security penal colony. However, the appellate court found no intent to commit murder in Vologzhanin's actions. Consequently, he was convicted to five and a half years in a maximum security penal colony.

Nailya Tulekeshova, a resident of Krasny Oktyabr village in the Volgograd region, has appealed to Alexander Bastrykin, the head of the Investigative Committee of Russia, requesting an investigation of her son's death. Nineteen-year-old Zamir Tulekeshov, who served under contract, died under suspicious circumstances at the end of January. Although authorities claimed he committed suicide, injuries suggesting possible assault were discovered by his parents during funeral preparations. Tulekeshova believes her son may have been a victim of conflict with his commanding officer.

The Garrison Military Court in Saint Petersburg has sentenced contract soldier Mikhail L. to five years of probation for going AWOL. While undergoing treatment for injuries, Mikhail requested a transfer to another military unit. Although his request was eventually granted, the transfer process was delayed, and Mikhail decided to wait at home. After five months, military police detained him in the Leningrad region, having declared him wanted for his absence from duty.

In the Oryol region, two teenagers aged 15 and 16 have been detained for setting fire to a relay cabinet on the Oryol-Stalnoy Kon railway section. According to the pro-Kremlin SHOT Telegram channel, the incident occurred on the evening of Feb. 8, but it did not affect train traffic. A criminal case has been initiated against the youths for sabotage of transportation infrastructure, with a potential sentence of up to 20 years of imprisonment.

The First Western District Military Court has sentenced 67-year-old woman Zhumangul Kurbanova to 10 years in a penal colony for an act of terror that caused significant property damage. The prosecutor had initially requested a 12-year sentence for the woman.

In the Belgorod region, the number of serious crimes has increased by almost 30% over the year, marking the second consecutive year of increasing crime rates. The total number of registered crimes for the past year has increased by 10%. Additionally, the region has witnessed an influx of illegal weapons, with crimes committed using firearms increasing by more than 17 times in the first nine months of the previous year. The proximity to the war and the prevalence of death have also contributed to a surge in domestic violence among the region's residents.


Soldiers from Russia's constituent republic of Tatarstan recorded a video in which they accused officials of sending "rusty UAZ vehicles." According to them, these vehicles could be used only as "decoys" because they were not suitable for any other purpose. The officials had to apologize and promised to "take action."

Children and Educational System

Putin has instructed the organization of a patriotic mentoring contest called "To Be, Not to Seem!" with a deadline for execution set on July 1, 2024. Vazhnyye Istorii [IStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet]notes that the phrase "to be, not to seem!" (mehr sein als scheinen) was the slogan of political schools in Nazi Germany, which trained the leadership cadres for the National Socialist German Workers' Party and the SS.

Schoolchildren in occupied Ukrainian cities are being forced to draw "elections in the Russian Federation" and promote Putin. The official page of school No. 90 in Donetsk indicates that the event is being held "as part of the election campaign for the Russian presidential election in the DPR." According to reports, 5th and 6th-graders drew polling stations, ballots, slogans for Putin and maps of Russia at the request of teachers.

In Kaluga, at school No. 45, an immersive exposition on the "special military operation" will be opened, also featuring items from the time of World War II.

In the Tyumen region, one of the schools has posted a plan of events for a "patriotic education month". The school aims to organize 16 events in 11 school days. Meanwhile, students from Gymnasium No. 7 in Podolsk participated in a charcoal drawing masterclass using charcoal brought from the Donbas.


After suffering significant losses in the first year of the war, the 252nd Motorized Rifle Regiment has actively begun replenishing its ranks with volunteer fighters. In addition to the Black Mamba unit, which consists of former convicts, the regiment has now formed a unit called Cannibals.

In January 2024, Russians submitted over 2,000 complaints to the president regarding issues related to medical assistance to soldiers and their families, medical certification procedures, military medical examination and the process of disability determination. This number is two and a half times higher than in January 2023, as reported by Vazhnyye Istorii. Since the beginning of the war, Russians have filed over 17,000 such complaints. The surge in appeals began sharply in October 2023. Meanwhile, in Tatarstan, the human rights ombudsman Sariya Saburskaya reported receiving 2,818 complaints from military personnel and their relatives in 2023.


Vazhnyye Istorii published an article about how "Kadyrovtsy" [nominally National Guard and Police units loyal to Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov] threaten residents of Chechnya [Russia's constituent republic] with imprisonment and forcibly pressure them to go and fight against Ukraine. The authorities of the republic regularly report being "above the plan" enlisting volunteer fighters for the war.

Meduza conducted interviews with contract soldiers who deserted from the frontline near Bakhmut. During the interviews, they shared photos and videos as evidence of the heavy losses suffered by their unit and the entire 3rd Army Corps.

The Lyudi Baikala [People of Baikal] independent media outlet shared the story of Lyudmila Tokareva, a pensioner from Ulan-Ude, Buryatia [Russia's constituent republic]. In the summer of 2023, influenced by scammers, she attempted to set fire to a non-functioning draft office.

Nastoyashсheye Vremya [Current Time], an editorially independent US-funded Russian language media outlet, reported on life in Buryatia, one of the regions most affected by mobilization, and highlighted the efforts of the Buryats in reviving their national identity.