mobilization briefs
March 2

Mobilization in Russia for Feb. 29-March 1, 2024 CIT Volunteer Summary

Alexei Navalny’s Funeral

From early morning, law enforcement, including the police and Rosgvardia [the Russian National Guard], has cordoned off the entire Moscow district of Maryino, where a farewell event for Alexei Navalny was scheduled. The area around the Church of the Icon of the Mother of God "Assuage my Sorrows" was heavily patrolled by police officers, traffic policemen, police vans and prisoner transport vehicles. According to the Agentstvo.Novosti [Agency News] Telegram channel, unidentified individuals, presumably law enforcement officers, were spotted on the roofs of two adjacent buildings.

In the morning, people began to gather near the church. The queue (1, 2, 3, 4) leading to the church stretched for 2 kilometers. Notable figures such as politician Yevgeny Roizman from Yekaterinburg, along with anti-war politicians barred from participating in the upcoming presidential election, Boris Nadezhdin and Yekaterina Duntsova, as well as ambassadors from the US and EU, arrived to bid farewell to Alexei Navalny.

Those waiting for the hearse chanted slogans like "Navalny!" and "You were not afraid, and we are not afraid!" It is worth noting that the cell phone signal in the area was reported to be poor. Once the coffin with Navalny's body was brought into the church, a limited number of mourners were allowed inside in small groups of 2 to 4 people at a time. Those who could not enter the church sang the requiem for the deceased on their own. The requiem service in the church lasted for approximately 20 to 30 minutes, during which around 300 people had the opportunity to bid farewell to Navalny in person. According to the Vyorstka media outlet, people who were allowed inside the church began to surround the coffin, altar wardens tried to stop them, and after Navalny's mother said goodbye to her son, the coffin was immediately closed. As reported by Sergey Chapnin, a religious studies expert, the shortened requiem service was ordered by the patriarchate.

Following the requiem service, the coffin was carried out of the church, eliciting applause and chants of "We will not forget!" from the crowd. As the hearse with Navalny's coffin was leaving for the Borisovskoye Cemetery, mourners threw flowers at the vehicle. The people gathered near the church hugged and thanked Alexei Navalny's parents and sought forgiveness from them.

After that, a massive mourning procession moved from the church in Maryino to the cemetery in Borisovo. Police reinforcements arrived at the same location. Before the funeral cortege arrived, access to the cemetery was closed. After Alexei Navalny's parents bid farewell to their son at the cemetery, the coffin was lowered into the grave. An orchestra played Frank Sinatra's "My Way" and the soundtrack from the movie Terminator 2. Navalny's spokesperson Kira Yarmysh noted that Alexei considered Terminator 2 to be the best movie ever. Once the ceremony concluded, access to the cemetery was opened, allowing people to scatter a handful of soil into the grave and lay flowers. Law enforcement officers created a corridor, directing those leaving the cemetery toward the metro. After some time, access to the cemetery was closed again. The politician's grave was being filled in by dusk. People were allowed back into the cemetery, and a steady stream of mourners continued to bid farewell until late in the evening. At the entrance to the Borisovskoye Cemetery, those gathered turned on flashlights in memory of Navalny and chanted various slogans such as "Navalny," "Russia will be free," "We cannot be broken," "No to war," "Bring the soldiers home!" and "Ukrainians are good people." Additionally, those who came to pay their respects left flowers at makeshift memorials in Borisovo. However, by evening, municipal workers began dismantling these memorials.

Yulia Navalnaya bid farewell to her husband and shared her sentiments on Instagram. She expressed gratitude to Alexei for "26 years of absolute happiness" and promised to strive to make him proud. A post in memory of the politician was also made by his daughter Daria, who promised to live life according to the lessons her father taught her and to carry "the same bright smile on her face." Additionally, Navalny’s brother Oleg posted a message: "Rest in peace, brother, and don't worry about anything."

Arrests occurred during the funeral proceedings, with at least two incidents captured on video. The names of those detained are not currently known. According to an eye-witness quoted by the Avtozak Telegram channel, one man was apprehended at the cemetery after shouting, "Who killed Navalny?" Later in the afternoon, police provoked a man in the farewell queue into a verbal altercation and then detained him. Following the funeral, the deputy chairman of the Moscow branch of the Yabloko party Andrey Morev was briefly detained in the metro but later released. Also in the metro, co-chairman of the PARNAS party Mikhail Shneyder was detained. Journalist Vasily Polonsky was detained near the Borisovskoye cemetery, and he was released after his phone was inspected. Additionally, Moscow resident Danila Tsyplenkov was detained as he left his home to attend the funeral service.

People bidding farewell to Navalny reported about men in plain clothes who urged them to "take on the Kremlin." Following this, the men reportedly showed the V sign to the police, who then allowed them through the fencing towards the church. Two independent reports from readers of Mediazona, an independent Russian media outlet, corroborated this information. In a second case, a man shouted that if the crowd turned towards the Kremlin instead of heading to the cemetery, everything would be over. Additionally, there have been reports of unknown individuals photographing attendees and eavesdropping on journalists' conversations.

Despite interference from local authorities, residents in various Russian regions took to the streets to honor Alexei Navalny. In Novosibirsk, the area around the cathedral, where the monument to the victims of political repression is located, was closed off and police were detaining those who came to the memorial. Among the 25 people detained was local representative Anton Kartavin. According to the Sibirmedia Telegram channel, all of them were later released. In Yekaterinburg, at least 10 people were detained for bringing flowers in memory of Navalny. According to reports from the It's My City media outlet, law enforcement officers and people in black clothing and masks were stationed near monuments throughout the city, preventing citizens from laying flowers. In Tver, police officers issued warnings against holding unauthorized rallies near the monument dedicated to the victims of political repression. In Omsk, police were present near the sports complex where Navalny had spoken and at the monument to the victims of political repression. They stated that laying flowers was considered vandalism. Approximately 15 people were detained in the city, all of them were issued warnings. In Kurgan, the police recorded the passport details of an underage student who came to lay flowers.

Two people from Voronezh were reported missing on their way to Navalny's funeral in Moscow. Pavel Sychov, the detained coordinator of the Boris Nadezhdin Voronezh headquarters, initially disappeared from the police department, with speculation that officers from the General Directorate for Countering Extremism of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, known as "Center E," took him to an undisclosed location. Later, the young men were found, and Sychov stated that he is okay in his personal Telegram channel. Eight more detainees in Voronezh on their way to Navalny's funeral were released by the police. In Yaroslavl, flowers were carried to the victims of political repression. In Saint Petersburg, unidentified individuals threw flowers away from Voskresenskaya Embankment, but people continued to bring more flowers to the location. In Kopeysk, Chelyabinsk region, unknown individuals also removed flowers brought in memory of the politician.

In Volgograd and Volzhsky, people laid flowers at memorials to the victims of political repression. Spontaneous memorials to Navalny also appeared in various other cities, as reported by Vazhnyye Istorii [IStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet], the Idel.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet, the Sirena Telegram channel, the Mozhem Ob'yasnit [We Can Explain] Telegram channel and Mediazona. In Izhevsk, the police prevented a local resident from flying to Navalny's funeral. An activist from the Rus’ Sidyashchaya [Russia Behind Bars] civil rights movement in Astrakhan, as well as at least three more people, were detained for laying flowers in memory of Navalny. According to the OVD-Info independent human rights project, there have been more than 128 known detentions as of March 1.

As noted by Agentstvo.Novosti, major Russian TV channels ignored Alexei Navalny’s funeral in their news broadcasts. According to Meduza [international Russian-language online media outlet], federal media outlets were either prohibited from reporting on Navalny's funeral or allowed to provide only brief news coverage.

The funeral of Alexei Navalny stirred up the top leadership of the country, according to The Moscow Times, which cites two high-ranking sources in the government.

Authorities and Legislation

Vladimir Putin has issued a decree regarding military training of citizens serving in the reserve in 2024. The authorities plan to call up reservists for military training in various branches, including the Armed Forces, the National Guard, rescue military units of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, state protection agencies and the Federal Security Service (FSB). The Voyennye Advokaty [Military Lawyers] Telegram channel has provided detailed information on who and how is being called up for military training, what are the legal risks for evading this obligation and who is exempt from it.

The Kremlin has announced the eligibility criteria for individuals interested in participating in the new Time of Heroes personnel program. To qualify, applicants must be veterans or participants in the war against Ukraine, hold Russian citizenship, possess a higher education degree, have experience in managing people, and maintain a clean criminal record. Eligible applicants will need to pass a competitive exam to enroll in courses at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. Upon completing the training, participants will be eligible to hold public office and manage regions.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

In February in Kamchatka, law enforcement officers conducted a number of raids on migrants, which led to the identification of more than 80 individuals who were eligible for military service but had not registered for it.

Rustyam Abushaev, mayor of Bolshoy Kamen, a town in the Primorsky region [Russia's federal subject], who had evaded criminal prosecution by joining the war, will now lead the Tigr Volunteer Unit. Its previous commander, Sergey Efremov, was recently appointed vice-governor of the Primorsky region.

Mobilized Soldiers, Volunteer Fighters and Contract Soldiers

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Mikhail Boklagov, Sergey Reshetovsky and Aleksandr Pshenichnykh from the Belgorod region, Yury Platonov, Aleksey Gromov and Vladimir Karpov from Russia's constituent republic of Buryatia, Pyotr Andreyev, Aleksandr Tomilov and Igor Adrashko from the Irkutsk region, Andrey Mengaliev, Andrey Permikin and Mikhail Belyaev from the Sverdlovsk region, Vladimir Sablin from the Volgograd region and Sergey Ivanov from the Zabaykalsky region [Russia's federal subject].

Olga Troshina, the mother of Lieutenant Igor Troshin, who went missing in action in May 2022, made the leadership of the cadet corps in the Vladimir region remove her son's name from the monument to the graduates who were killed in the war. However, in May 2022, Ukrainian sources published a photo of Troshin's body and his military ID as evidence of his likely demise.

Russian servicemen have published photos of themselves posing with assault rifles among scattered belongings and broken furniture in an apartment in the occupied Avdiivka. The Astra Telegram channel has confirmed the authenticity of the photos and identified one of the servicemen.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

A mobilized soldier from Chechnya [Russia's constituent republic], Ali Shebediev, has been sentenced to probation for refusing to go to the war with Ukraine. In court, he denied the charges, explaining that he refused to execute the order because he was being transferred to serve in the military commandant's office.

In February 2024, the Vladimir Garrison Military Court received 15 criminal cases of going AWOL. Furthermore, for the entire 2023, the court received 78 such cases, marking an all-time historical record. For comparison, in 2022, only six sentences were issued under this charge in the region.

A resident of the Chelyabinsk region has been sentenced to 13 years on charges of treason. According to TASS [Russian state-owned news agency], the man, acting on the instructions of Ukrainian intelligence services, provided information about mobilization and promoted voluntary surrender among Russians.

The Southern District Military Court has sentenced Aleksandr Zhuravlyov, a resident of Saint Petersburg, to four and a half years in a maximum security penal colony for preparing an act of terror. The alleged target was supposed to be the building of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Stavropol.

In Crimea, the FSB has detained two individuals on suspicion of "preparing acts of terror." According to the agency, a resident of Simferopol is accused of preparing an act of sabotage at a transportation facility and assisting "Ukrainian saboteurs" in blowing up railway tracks in May 2023. Another detainee is suspected of planning an act of terror against a Russian Black Sea Fleet serviceman.

In Russia’s constituent Republic of Tatarstan, a new criminal case for "state treason" has been opened against Vladimir Ovchinnikov, a local resident who was previously under investigation for an act of terror. Ovchinnikov was arrested in October 2023 for allegedly joining the "Freedom of Russia Legion" remotely and carrying out tasks assigned by handlers.

The case of general laborer Petr Opalnik, charged with "confidential cooperation" with another state, has appeared at the Novgorod Regional Court. According to the intelligence services, Opalnik worked for Ukrainian espionage and persuaded mobilized men to commit high treason and to surrender voluntarily. As revealed by the case file, Opalnik is now separately charged with "attempting to organize voluntary surrender." This charge was introduced in September 2022, following the "partial" mobilization. According to Mediazona, Opalnik's case is the first to be brought to court under this article of the Criminal Code.

Alexander Bastrykin, the head of the Investigative Committee of Russia, has called for charges against the crew of an airplane for removing a participant in the "special military operation" who was accused of smoking in the lavatory. The individual in question has insisted that he did not smoke.


The legislative assembly of Saint Petersburg has passed a law providing free legal assistance to military personnel and volunteer fighters. In the Primorsky region, participants of the "volunteer units of Rosgvardia and the Ministry of Defense" will receive payments for the gasification of homes, with the maximum amount being 10 billion rubles [$4,160]. Additionally, in the Primorsky region, widows of deceased members of "volunteer units" have been exempted from paying the vehicle tax.

Sergey Salmin, the head of the city of Orenburg, has announced that in 2024, orphans who participated in the war with Ukraine would be given priority in receiving housing from the state, even though they are legally entitled to it anyway.

The Sever.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet has reported on the Defenders of the Fatherland Fund, formed in April 2023 to assist participants in the war with Ukraine. In its first year, the fund received more than 10 billion rubles [$109 million] from the federal budget, and an additional 18 billion [$196.2 million] was allocated this February. However, there are reports of hundreds of people being unable to obtain either financial or social aid from the fund.

Children and Educational System

A master class in tactical medicine during combat operations was held for students at school No.8 in Khimki, Moscow region.

A military-political center is set to be opened at Nizhny Novgorod State University, with plans to offer courses on tactical medicine, drone management and basic to specialized military training. Additionally, at Novosibirsk Pedagogical University, a drone lab is being established where students will be taught to create drones. The university has already received a subsidy of five million rubles [$54,500]. Meanwhile, a school in Megion, Khanty-Mansi autonomous region—Yugra [Russia’s federal subject], plans to open a class on teaching children to pilot drones.

The Ne Norma [Not a Norm] Telegram channel has compiled photos from "patriotic" events that took place on Feb. 23 in educational institutions across Russia.

The recruitment train of the Ministry of Defense has brought brochures called "What’s the difference?" to Ryazan’s school students, showing differences between Russia and Ukraine in a propaganda spirit.

A meeting with participants of the invasion of Ukraine, called "Heroes must be known by face," took place in Northern (Arctic) Federal University, Arkhangelsk. However, the servicemen attending the event were wearing masks.

The Bumaga [Paper] independent media outlet has analyzed how the access to higher education in Saint Petersburg’s universities was changing due to the war.


A military training class for people with disabilities was held in Yugorsk, Khanty-Mansi autonomous region.