mobilization briefs
February 21

Mobilization in Russia for Feb. 19-20, 2024 CIT Volunteer Summary

Alexei Navalny’s Death

The EU demanded that Russia conduct an international investigation into the death of Alexei Navalny and free all political prisoners. Earlier, Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, indicated the EU would rename its human rights sanctions regime in honor of Navalny.

Lyudmila Navalnaya, the mother of Alexei Navalny, recorded a video address, where she demanded that Putin immediately release her son’s body to her. Ivan Zhdanov, the director of Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation, published a written version of the address. He also noted that Navalnaya had filed a lawsuit with the Salekhard court against the Investigative Committee for not releasing Alexei’s body. Using data provided by its sources, Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] reconstructed how the body had been taken to Salekhard.

Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of Alexei Navalny, called on the EU to reject the results of the upcoming Russian elections, step up the fight against corruption to pressure Putin’s entourage, support Russians fleeing the dictatorship, and hold accountable the criminals withholding Navalny’s body from his mother.

In the meantime, Putin promoted Valery Boyarinev, Deputy Director of Russia's Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN), to the rank of colonel general. Vazhnyye Istorii [IStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet] noted that Boyarinev had been personally giving orders to curtail Alexei Navalny’s rights in prison. Putin also promoted three other directors of the Federal Penitentiary Service, according to a decree published exactly three days after Navalny’s death was announced.

The Altai branch of Yabloko [the Russian democratic party] has received permission to hold a memorial rally for the slain Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov on Feb. 25 in Barnaul. The approved time for the rally is 13:00. The rally is scheduled for 13:00. The city administration has confirmed that no other events will take place on Freedom Square that day. Meanwhile, authorities in Ulyanovsk have prohibited a rally in memory of Alexei Navalny on Feb. 24 in the local Hyde Park [a designated area for public speaking on any topic without legal repercussions] citing a pro-Putin rally in support of his "sovereignty course." Officials have suggested submitting an application for a picket near a building instead.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of North Ossetia–Alania [Russia's constituent republic] has threatened criminal cases and fines up to 300,000 rubles [$3250] for participation in rallies in memory of Navalny, stating that it will be considered a "threat to public order." The warning of responsibility appeared on the police website on Feb. 19. According to the Astra Telegram channel, the police in Vladikavkaz had "conversations" with 14 residents who were detained with flowers at the monument to victims of repression. In Krasnoyarsk, the police threatened participants in Navalny memorial events with extremism financing cases. In Tolyatti, the police attempted to collect passport data from those laying flowers at the monument to victims of repression. In Moscow, the day after Alexei Navalny's death announcement, the Ministry of Internal Affairs instructed police to identify all individuals bringing flowers to monuments. Law enforcement officers are on duty around the monuments 24/7. The Vladimir region Roskomnadzor [Russia's internet censorship agency] denied recent information from the VChK-OGPU Telegram channel about the letter to internet providers recommending restrictions on tags related to Navalny's death.

Residents of Kazan continue to lay flowers to impromptu memorials to Alexei Navalny. Although law enforcement officers have cordoned off the memorial to victims of political repression and blocked the access to the monument, flower tributes have been placed at other monuments in the city. Residents of Siberian cities, Vladimir, and Chuvashia [Russia’s constituent republic] also continue to bring flowers in memory of Navalny. A memorial to Navalny has appeared in Salekhard. Residents of Omsk leave reviews on Google Maps about the monument to victims of political repression.

Flowers were removed from the memorial to victims of political repression in Krasnoyarsk. In Krasnoturinsk, wreaths brought to the Navalny memorial were thrown into a pond.

Fontanka scrutinized court rulings in Saint Petersburg related to people detained for honoring Alexei Navalny. District courts received over 180 cases, with all detainees charged with organizing and participating in mass gatherings. Two volunteers, detained on Feb. 19 while on duty on Moskvoretsky Bridge in Moscow, were sentenced to 15 and 30 days, purportedly for their involvement in the rally.

Reverend Grigory Mikhnov-Vaytenko, who had intended to hold a memorial service for Alexei Navalny but was detained and hospitalized after suffering an ischemic stroke while in custody, has been discharged from hospital. On the same day, law enforcement officers came to his home.

Novaya Gazeta [independent Russian newspaper] has compiled a list of individuals who should be released from custody, have their sentences reduced, and have the proceedings in their cases dropped.

Authorities and Legislation

The State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] has passed in its first reading a bill that would prevent employers from firing widows of deceased war participants within a year of the death of their spouses.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

In Ufa, the capital of Russia's constituent republic of Bashkortostan, employees of the Military Investigation Department and the Migration Department have visited areas where "foreigners typically gather." During the roundups, they distributed draft notices for the spring conscription campaign to 12 immigrants between the ages of 18 and 29 who had obtained Russian citizenship, and also promoted contract-based military service.

Authorities and Relatives of Mobilized Soldiers

Members of the Put Domoy [Way Home] movement reported that employees of the General Directorate for Countering Extremism of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, known as "Center E," are persecuting some female activists. Occasionally, law enforcement officers visit their homes and have "discussions" with them. One of the spouses of the military wrote on her channel that men in black masks were following her from Alexandrovsky Garden to her home.

Mobilized Soldiers, Volunteer Fighters and Contract Soldiers

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Raul Enandez and Vladislav Martinovsky from the Leningrad region, as well as Denis Shchegol from the Rostov region and Nikita Klyain from the Volgograd region.

Sergey Kirienko, the First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Russian Presidential Administration, and Yury Trutnev, the First Deputy Prime Minister and Presidential Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District, have created a military unit called "Union" for the war in Ukraine. This unit comprised masters of various sports and first-grade athletes. More details can be found in the article from Vazhnyye Istorii.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

According to Astra, a 41-year-old local resident, Andrey Tozarev, was detained in the town of Kakhovka. A criminal case was initiated against the man for participating in the activities of an extremist organization. The reason for this was his membership in the Right Sector in 2014 and his alleged training for participation in a potential war against Russia. He faces up to six years of imprisonment.

Over the past year, 22 acts of sabotage were committed on transport facilities in the Sverdlovsk region, as reported by the regional Ministry of Internal Affairs. The police detained suspects in 20 cases. Typically, the detainees are charged with sabotage and acts of terror. According to a Ministry of Internal Affairs official, the region has also seen an increase in cases of illegal arms trafficking by participants in the "special military operation."

The Bumaga [Paper] independent media outlet has discovered 53 reports of attempted arson attacks on draft offices and relay cabinets, as well as attacks on infrastructure and other forms of sabotage, which occurred in Saint Petersburg and the Leningrad region since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine

The Federal Security Service (FSB) reported the arrest of a woman with dual citizenship of the USA and Russia in Yekaterinburg on suspicion of espionage. According to law enforcement officers, she had been "initiatively collecting money since February 2022 for one of the Ukrainian organizations," funds that were allegedly directed to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. She also "repeatedly participated in public actions" in support of Ukraine. Mediazona identified the individual as Ksenia Karelina. The Pervy Otdel [First Department] human rights project reports that she is accused of transferring 51.8 US dollars to the account of the Razom for Ukraine fund on Feb. 24, 2022. Karelina was charged with treason and was sent to a pre-trial detention center by court.

Igor Kondratsky, a former advisor to the Russian Embassy in France, was sentenced to 18 years in prison on charges of high treason. Kondratsky was also stripped of his rank as a reserve colonel. According to investigators, he disclosed top-secret information to a representative of an unnamed foreign state.


Volunteers from the Zabaykalsky region [Russia's federal subject] sent vehicles to the frontline. Governor Aleksandr Osipov added that the regional government also provided 12 quadcopters and tactical headsets.


The United Russia party [Putin’s ruling party] expelled a Krasnoyarsk deputy who referred to contract soldiers as "alcoholics and homeless people." Vyacheslav Dyukov not only publicly apologized for his words but also announced his intention to go to war. He requested permission to resign from his position as chairman of the commission in the city council.

According to Alexander Beglov, Governor of Saint Petersburg, the city has established the medal "For Participation in the Special Military Operation from Grateful Saint Petersburg," commemorating the two-year anniversary of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.