mobilization briefs
February 12

Mobilization in Russia for Feb. 9-11, 2024 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

The Ministry of Defense has deleted the published draft of a bill that sought to raise the upper age limit for contract and mobilized soldiers to 65 years without providing an explanation.

The Ministry of Labor is proposing to extend alternative civilian service to more professions, now encompassing disinfection technicians, stable workers, bulldozer operators, lumberjacks, and museum guards, among others. The draft resolution aims to expand the list to 224 roles in 1,305 organizations, compared to the current 149 roles in 960 organizations. Service in these roles will be possible starting from the regular conscription campaign this fall.

Authorities and Relatives of Mobilized Soldiers

On Feb. 10, wives and relatives of mobilized soldiers held flower-laying ceremonies coordinated by the Put Domoy [Way Home] Telegram channel in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and other cities across the country.

In the Alexander Garden in Moscow, the sentry, under whose escort participants laid flowers, did not allow them to observe a minute of silence at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and made them step away from the Eternal Flame. Also present at the event was Aleksandr Pelevin, who is believed to be an informant for the Federal Security Service (FSB) or "Center E" [General Directorate for Countering Extremism of the Ministry of Internal Affairs].

At the rally, SotaVision journalist Yekaterina Anikievich was detained and later released, along with another journalist whose name was not specified; he was taken to the Kitay-Gorod police department and subsequently released as well. Following the event, Moscow activists visited the headquarters of Russian presidential candidate Vladislav Davankov. Maria Andreeva mentioned that since late January, he has not found time to meet with military spouses. Nevertheless, she remains hopeful that the meeting will take place.

In Saint Petersburg, the rally of mobilized soldiers' wives began at 2 p.m., with women laying flowers at Mars Field. About 20 people attended the event, with a police van and a couple of officers nearby, while the happenings were recorded by civilians, presumably associates of "Center E" or "volunteers" linked to law enforcement. The rally proceeded without any detentions.

Events took a different turn at the rally in Yekaterinburg. The Ministry of Public Safety of the Sverdlovsk region considered the laying of flowers at the monument to be a "protest action." Five individuals, including two activists from the youth group of Yabloko [Russia’s social-liberal political party], were detained at the Black Tulip monument honoring those who were killed in Afghanistan and Chechnya [Russia's constituent republic]. They were accused of violating the rules for holding a public event. Three of the detained women were later released after protocols were drawn up, while Albert Yakupov was charged with organizing an unauthorized rally. A protocol was drawn up against him for participating in a public event, and he was kept overnight at the police station. On Feb. 11, Yakupov was arrested for eight days on charges of organizing the rally, as reported by his lawyer. The last detainee, Ivan Bukin, whose father, according to his statement, was mobilized, was released without a protocol on the same day.

A subscriber to the "DPR" Mobilization Live Telegram channel reported that female activists from the Donetsk region again joined the weekly protest against open-ended mobilization. The women entered a church and lit candles for peace and the return home of mobilized soldiers.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

Yevgeny Yudakov, a recently freed ex-convict from penal colony No. 4 in the Vladimir region, alleges that the colony management sabotages recruitment of the convicts serving time there by sending those willing to go to war in Ukraine to work as laborers in the industrial zone instead. They then offer HIV-positive convicts or those suffering from other illnesses to the Ministry of Defense, knowing full well that these inmates will not be recruited. One of the reasons for such a situation could be a labor shortage. At the moment, only 200 convicts remain at the colony whose full capacity is 1,317 people.

At least four military-industrial complex enterprises in Volgograd are offering employment and 1.2 million ruble [$13,100] sign-up bonuses to those willing to sign contracts with the Ministry of Defense. Ads for the campaign have been posted on the official VKontakte social network page of the administration of Volgograd’s Krasnoarmeysky district. Officials have confirmed the authenticity of the ads.

In the Moscow region, officials are advertising contract-based military service at an elite regiment. About a hundred ads calling to join the regiment have appeared since the beginning of the year. A 1 million ruble [$10,900] sign up bonus, "top gear, special possibilities to communicate with the loved ones, suspension of legal proceedings and deferment of loan payments" are being offered to those willing to sign.

On the night of Feb. 10, law enforcement officers apprehended 19 foreign citizens during a roundup at two cafes in Krasnoyarsk. They were taken to a police station for collecting their DNA samples and fingerprints. Additionally, two immigrants who had acquired Russian citizenship were served summonses for military registration.

Mobilized Soldiers, Volunteer Fighters and Contract Soldiers

The Krym.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet has identified the names of 600 residents of Russian-annexed Crimea who joined the Russian Army and were killed in the ongoing full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Meanwhile, Dovod [independent Russian media outlet], citing open sources, has counted at least 421 residents of the Vladimir region who were killed in the war.

According to Gennady Krasnikov, the President of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 98 percent of wounded Russian soldiers return to the battlefield. He also claims that 80 percent of military amputees return to the war and allegedly get to choose where to resume their duties.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

In Rostov, an appellate court has upheld the sentences of two Russian servicemen convicted of murder. Mobilized soldier Aleksandr Korikhin, in January 2023, during a conflict with another serviceman, shot him with an assault rifle. According to the defendant and witnesses, the deceased was behaving aggressively and threatening to kill them. Supposedly, that is why they tied him up and took him to the unit commander. On the way, Korikhin pulled his comrade out of the car and shot him. The court took into account the defendant's participation in the war and his desire to return to the frontline, sentencing him to seven and a half years in a maximum security penal colony. Contract soldier Yuly Bukhner, in February 2023, in the occupied territory of the Donetsk region, hit an acquaintance on the head with a stool and then slit his throat with a knife. As a result of blood loss, the victim died. Bukhner had previously been convicted of assault. The court considered the defendant's participation in the war, awards received and his war veteran’s status, sentencing him to nine years and nine months in a penal colony.

Former mercenary of the Wagner Group, 37-year-old Sergey Yushkov, while intoxicated, attempted to break into an apartment in the village of Yemelyanovo in the Krasnodar region. During the arrest attempt, he broke the nose of a police officer. Eventually, Yushkov was detained. According to the Astra Telegram channel, he had previously been convicted of theft and robbery, enlisted for war, was pardoned and returned home.

Another police officer was injured by a war veteran in the Voronezh region. According to Astra, Yanis Duda, a 35-year-old contract soldier from the 361st Regiment, being intoxicated, caused a nuisance at an Ozon [e-commerce company] pickup point in the village of Novaya Usman and assaulted the police officer who arrived on call but was eventually detained. The soldier had been convicted multiple times before.

The Novosibirsk Garrison Military Court has sentenced Warrant Officer Victor Pokusin to six years in a maximum security penal colony for desertion during mobilization. On Sept. 26, 2022, he failed to report for duty and was apprehended just four days later. Pokusin was charged for going AWOL and sentenced to one year on probation. In June 2023, he fled to the Altai region [Russia’s federal subject], changing phones and SIM cards, living in hotels and rented apartments. He was apprehended in Novoaltaysk.

In 2023, garrison military courts in the Southern Military District considered 2,306 criminal cases involving 2,413 individuals, twice as many as the previous year. Verdicts were reached in 2,117 cases, accounting for 91% of those considered. Only three defendants were fully acquitted, 11 cases were returned to the prosecutor's office and one was returned to investigators. Proceedings were terminated in 125 criminal cases, including those resulting in fines. There was a significant increase in cases involving felony and major crimes, including repeat offenses.

Near a storage facility at the Vsevolozhsk Aluminum Alloys Plant in Saint Petersburg, an improvised explosive device with over 1.7 kilograms of explosives was discovered and later rendered safe. The Ministry of Internal Affairs initiated a criminal case for the illegal possession of firearms; suspects have not yet been identified.

Early on Feb. 10, a relay cabinet near the Strelna station in the Leningrad region caught fire. The blaze was swiftly extinguished, with no disruption to train services reported.

71-year-old Ukrainian Viktor Demchenko, accused of espionage, involvement in a terrorist organization and illegal possession of firearms, died in a Russian pre-trial detention center. According to TASS, Russian state-owned news agency, citing law enforcement agencies, Demchenko succumbed to a stroke on Dec. 31, 2023, in a prison hospital in Rostov.

Law enforcement officers detained two more individuals involved in protests in Baymak, Bashkortostan. Valliam Mutallapov, a father of four, stands accused of participating in mass unrest, with his court hearing set for Feb. 12. Meanwhile, Insaf Islamov, another protester, was apprehended in Apatity, Murmansk region, and has been sent to a local pre-trial detention center for two months, facing charges under the same article related to participation in mass unrest.


In Belgorod, Russia's first rehabilitation center for war-affected children is expected to open soon.

Educational institutions in Ryazan received an order from the city government demanding to hold a "charity marathon to collect humanitarian aid for participants in the special military operation." In turn, kindergartens demanded parents to collect money and purchase goods for the needs of soldiers at the front.

Participants in the war in Ukraine from the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region–Yugra [Russia's federal subject] received the first so-called humanitarian aid from the regional government this year. Meanwhile, in Tula, local pro-military activists are collecting cotton fabric to make underwear for soldiers.

Children and Educational System

In the town of Mozhaysk, Moscow region, the Department of Education is acquiring drones. Around 200,000 rubles [$2,180] have been allocated for seven amateur drones. In February, a representative of the Ministry of Education stated that, starting from Sept. 1, a module on flying UAVs would be included in the Design and Technology lessons at school.