mobilization briefs
February 28

Mobilization in Russia for Feb. 26-27, 2024 CIT Volunteer Summary

Alexei Navalny’s Death

Alexei Navalny's associates have reported that funeral homes are refusing to organize a farewell ceremony for the politician. Kira Yarmysh, Navalny's spokesperson, mentioned that the team reached out to a majority of private and state funeral homes, commercial venues and funeral halls but faced refusals across the board.

Ivan Zhdanov, the director of Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation, has reported that investigator Roman Vidyukov, who handled several cases against Alexei Navalny, has been promoted to the position of deputy head of the Main Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee. Zhdanov shared a photograph of a document bearing Vidyukov's signature and indicating his new position. In 2020, Vidyukov initiated a criminal case of fraud against Navalny and later headed the investigative group.

Vasily Dubkov, the lawyer who accompanied Lyudmila Navalnaya, the mother of Alexei Navalny, during her trip to the Yamalo-Nenets autonomous region [Russia's federal subject] and assisted in securing the release of Navalny's body, has been detained. According to Novaya Gazeta Europe [European edition of the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta], the lawyer has been charged with violating public order. Shortly thereafter, Dubkov reported his release. He declined to comment on the reasons and circumstances of his detention, stating only that he considers it an obstruction to his legal work.

The Chita city administration has granted permission to hold a rally in memory of Russian opposition politicians Boris Nemstov and Alexei Navalny. The application had been submitted by Aleksandr Zhdanov, legal expert and co-chairman of the Civic Solidarity movement. The rally is scheduled to take place on March 2 in the local Hyde Park [a designated area for public speaking on any topic without legal repercussions].

Authorities and Legislation

The State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] has passed a bill, which requires all kindergartens, schools and higher education institutions to fly the flag of the Russian Federation on their buildings or grounds starting from Sept. 1, 2024. At present, only schools are subject to this requirement.

On Feb. 26, the federal government endorsed a draft bill seeking to exempt participants of the "special military operation" from interest payments on consumer loans. Service members would only need to repay the principal, while financial institutions would share the remaining burden with the state on an equal basis. Authorities estimate that this measure will cost the treasury 5.7 billion rubles [$61.66 million]. The Ministry of Finance now plans to introduce the bill into the State Duma.

Detentions at Various Events

On Feb. 17, law enforcement officers detained three members of one family for laying flowers at the monument to victims of political repression in Saint Petersburg. They were held in police custody for almost a day and were sentenced the following morning for participating in the mass gathering of citizens in public places, resulting in a breach of public order. A representative of the independent human rights project OVD-Info was not allowed to see them. The head of the family received a 13-day arrest, while his wife and daughter received 10 days each.

In Moscow, the police have begun visiting participants in memorial events for Navalny and subsequently detaining them. Artyom Guselnikov and Mikhail Gradov reported this to OVD-Info on Feb. 27. Guselnikov, who laid flowers on Feb. 17, was detained as he left his home and taken to the police station. Gradov, also detained at home, was sentenced to 15 days in jail for laying flowers at the Wall of Grief monument. According to Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet], the police also visited the Libertarian Party member Vladislav Mazur.

A married couple from Krasnodar has been accused of spreading extremist symbolism for distributing leaflets with Navalny's portrait and name. The judge found Sergey Albov guilty of promoting or displaying symbols of extremist organizations and sentenced him to two days of arrest. The case against his wife Alina was terminated due to a lack of evidence of a criminal offense.

An 18-year-old resident of Saint Petersburg, Darya Kozyreva, has been sent to a pre-trial detention center until April 25. She is facing criminal charges for repeatedly discrediting the Russian Armed Forces due to a note with a poem by Taras Shevchenko that she affixed to the monument of the poet on Feb. 24. The court session was held behind closed doors to prevent the "possible disclosure of information that constitutes state secrets."

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

Since the fall of 2023, military investigators and police have been conducting regular roundups in search for immigrants who recently obtained Russian citizenship. During this period, 900 of them were forced to undergo military reserve registration, with 50 individuals signing contracts with the Ministry of Defense, as reported by the military investigative department of the Investigative Committee for the Central Military District.

Mobilized Soldiers, Volunteer Fighters and Contract Soldiers

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Aleksandr Zaitsev, Pavel Zherebtsov and Yury Dyachenko from the Belgorod region, Aleksey Dontsov, Dmitry Kharin, Nikolay Koynov, Aleksey Maslyukov and Sergey Laptev from the Sverdlovsk region, Aleksandr Dzyuba from the Krasnodar region, Aleksandr Sokolov from Russia’s constituent Republic of Chuvashia, Sergey Malkov, Yevgeny Kandaurov and Aleksandr Yakovlev from the Irkutsk region, as well as Anatoly Rezun, Vladimir Yegorov and Vladislav Kaygorodov from Russia’s constituent Republic of Buryatia.

According to the Lyudi Baikala [People of Baikal] independent media outlet, at least 1,000 residents of the Irkutsk region and 1,304 residents of Buryatia have been killed in the war with Ukraine.

Vladimir Frolov, an illegally mobilized man with a third degree disability, was forcibly held in a military unit in the "DPR" and coerced through threats to return to the frontline. Despite sustaining injuries, he was denied a medical evaluation. On Feb. 27, he was dispatched to a training range, with subsequent plans to deploy him into combat.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

According to the Astra Telegram channel, Nikolay Nechaev, a 38-year-old ex-convict who was pardoned by Putin for his participation in the war with Ukraine, has been arrested in Perm under suspicion of sexual violence against a 14-year-old schoolgirl. Nechaev had left the colony to go to the front in May 2023 and returned to Perm in November 2023.

In the Saratov region, on Feb. 24, Anton Goroshko, a participant in the war with Ukraine who was sentenced to 12 years for murder in 2020, assaulted two teenagers on the day of his wedding to a policewoman. The assault was reported by local residents on the social network page of the district head. Now, their comments have been deleted, and the ability to comment has been disabled. On Feb. 27, Goroshko returned to the front to "atone for his sins."

In Rostov, a military court has upheld the acquittal of Aleksey Bozhko, a contract soldier from Stavropol, who assaulted a local female resident in the entrance of an apartment building.

In Russia’s constituent Republic of Tatarstan, the majority of criminal cases against veterans of the war in Ukraine are being suspended based on their involvement in combat.

A contract soldier from Crimea named Yury has been trying to obtain discharge from service for a year and a half after being injured. Despite receiving treatment at a hospital in Sevastopol, his condition only worsened, prompting his relatives to send him for further treatment in Moscow. Simultaneously, military investigators initiated efforts to locate him for going AWOL. According to the latest information, Yury is in a pre-trial detention center, and his court hearing is scheduled for Feb. 28.

Transparency International reports that the number of convictions for corruption in the Russian Army has sharply increased since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. In the "relatively calm" pre-pandemic year of 2019, 293 contract soldiers were convicted of such offenses, compared to 434 in 2022, marking a 48% increase. Furthermore, the overall number of convictions for corruption among government employees in the armed forces and military departments nearly doubled, rising from 351 in 2019 to 678 in 2022.


The Diocese of Vladimir of the Russian Orthodox Church has concluded an agreement with the state-owned Defenders of the Fatherland Fund to assist participants of the invasion of Ukraine. Specifically, it is planned to organize church-based meetings with war veterans and educational activities for children "in the spirit of patriotism and traditional family values."

Children and Educational System

The Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation plans to exclude social studies from the school curriculum for grades 6 to 8. Instead, officials aim to increase the number of history lessons from 340 to 476 hours. Russian teachers are preparing a petition against reducing the number of social studies lessons.

Alexander Beglov, the Governor of Saint Petersburg, has announced plans to involve war participants in youth education. According to him, this initiative aims to provide children with the opportunity to grow "with real examples of heroism and courage."

According to the Ministry of Education and Science statistics, more than 18,000 Russian students participated in the war with Ukraine. Approximately 1,000 of them received full state-funded scholarships, another 2,000 students received tuition discounts and 5,000 took an academic leave. Additionally, over 400 universities participated in the "Universities For The Frontline" campaign, during which educational institutions sent medical supplies, food, clothing, as well as quadcopters and automobiles to Russian soldiers.

Maksim Balchenko, a resident of the Vladimir region who had been previously convicted for drunk driving, taught a "Talking About Important Things" lesson for the 8th graders at one of the schools in the town of Yuryev-Polsky upon his return from the war.

Employees of the OPLOT patriotic public organization in the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region Yugra [Russia’s federal subject] organized military-themed exhibitions in kindergartens. Children as young as five were shown military uniforms, assault rifles and grenades. Meanwhile, in Chuvashia, students from a school for children with disabilities were engaged in weaving camouflage nets.


The Lyudi Baikala media outlet interviewed residents of Buryatia to explore the impact of the war on their lives and assess their awareness of the number of casualties in the war.

The Vyorstka media outlet calculated that over the course of two years of war, approximately 400 settlements in Russia have been subjected to shelling and attacks. As a result of combat operations, at least 150 civilians have been killed.

Vazhnyye Istorii [IStories, Independent Russian investigative media outlet] studied the program for preparing parents who take in "children from the combat zone" (in fact, Ukrainian children evacuated from the occupied territories to Russia). According to social workers, the biggest problem is addressing PTSD in children, a struggle that many foster parents find difficult to manage.

Meduza [international Russia-language online media outlet] explained how the Russian Red Cross operates. According to Ukrainian sources, confirmed by journalists from Meduza and Vyorstka, employees of the Russian Red Cross actively assist Russian soldiers, their families and residents of occupied territories, while openly displaying contempt and disdain towards Ukrainian refugees and captured servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.