mobilization briefs
January 20

Mobilization in Russia for Jan. 18-19, 2024 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

The Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation has established a registry of "fascist organizations" and their symbols. In particular, four Ukrainian organizations have been included in the list of organizations that either collaborated with those convicted by the Nuremberg Trials or deny the crimes of Nazism:

·         The Ukrainian People’s Revolutionary Army (UNRA)

·         The Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA)

·         The Ukrainian People’s Self-Defense (UNS)

·         The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN)

The list also includes the slogans associated with these organizations, the salute "Glory to Ukraine" [Slava Ukraini] and the response "Glory to the Heroes" [Heroiam Slava]. Additionally, the document references the symbols of these organizations, such as the Trident of Prince Volodymyr, which is featured on the modern coat of arms of Ukraine.

The Russian authorities are planning to compel its citizens residing abroad to register with consulates, according to a new migration policy framework adopted by the Federal Government. It is expected to be implemented by June 20, 2025. At present, consular registration is voluntary and involves providing one’s overseas residential and contact details.

Protests in Bashkortostan

In Bashkortostan [Russia's constituent republic], protests have persisted following the conviction of local activist Fail Alsynov (previous events were described here). On Jan. 19, residents of the regional capital, Ufa, gathered in the city center at Salawat Yulayev Square. Journalists estimated that between 1,500 and 2,000 people took part in the rally. To avoid detention, protesters did not gather in a single location but moved around and formed dance circles. As tensions escalated, clashes between police officers and demonstrators occurred, leading to multiple detentions. At one point, a crowd of protesters surrounded a bus with detainees, demanding their release. One protester even lay down on the road in front of the bus. Eventually, the police managed to disperse the protesters and cleared the square. Reports indicate that they detained around 10 people during the rally.

In the town of Baymak, Bashkortostan, nine more participants in the Jan. 17 protest have been arrested. All individuals found guilty of disobeying lawful orders from a police officer have been sentenced to detention ranging from 8 to 15 days. The total number of those arrested for the protest in support of Alsynov near the Baymak courthouse has now reached 17. It has also been revealed that law enforcement conducted a search at the residence of Altynai Valitov, a Bashkir singer who voiced support for Fail Alsynov and called on residents to join the protest.

Authorities have acknowledged restrictions on Telegram and WhatsApp in Bashkortostan. However, MinTsifry [the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media] of Bashkortostan stated that the "incident involving the limitation of messenger functionality" falls outside the jurisdiction of the regional authorities.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

On Jan. 17, law enforcement from various departments in the Sverdlovsk region and Yekaterinburg conducted a raid against migrants in the city. Reportedly, 12 individuals were detained, with four of them receiving draft notices at the military commissariat [enlistment office].

The Voyennye Advokaty [Military Lawyers] Telegram channel reminds that starting from Jan. 1, 2024, the age limit for men serving in the reserve holding military ranks of privates, seamen or non-commissioned officers has been raised to 51 years. Each subsequent year, the age limit will increase by one year until 2028, when it will reach 55. As a result, men who did not reach 50 by 2023 will be eligible to resign from the Russian Armed Forces only by 2028. The increase in the age limit will also be relevant when the next wave of mobilization is announced.

Mobilized Soldiers, Volunteer Fighters and Contract Soldiers

According to the ASTRA Telegram channel, Dmitry Semenikhin, a 34-year-old serviceman of the 88th Engineering and Sapper Regiment mobilized from the Lipetsk region, committed suicide at his duty station in the village of Banishchi in the Kursk region. He reportedly shot himself in the head, and the cause of this incident remains unknown.

Based on open sources, Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] and BBC News Russian, together with volunteers, have verified the names of 42,284 Russian fighters killed in Ukraine including 5,089 draftees. Over the past week, the list has been updated to include 753 servicemen, including 22 mobilized soldiers.

"Nobody denied anyone anything" and "there aren’t any problems in the region whatsoever," stated the head of Krasnoyarsk police and the Krasnoyarsk region governor as they commented on the topic of a disallowed rally that wives of mobilized soldiers tried to organize. In November, the city officials, citing COVID restrictions, denied draftees’ wives permission to hold a rally.

The head of Buryatia [Russia’s constituent republic] Alexey Tsydenov met with military service members’ relatives in the town of Kyakhta. The relatives asked Tsydenov to help find loved ones missing in action and assist with medical treatment of the wounded at civilian hospitals. There were also questions on the benefits and payouts that the children of killed soldiers were entitled to. Tsydenov promised to personally oversee that the issues brought up by each family in attendance be resolved.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

A court on the island of Sakhalin sentenced the service member Roman Shapovalov to six years in a penal colony for going AWOL during a mobilization campaign. In addition, he was stripped of his Junior Sergeant rank. According to the court, on March 19, 2023, Shapovalov abandoned his unit’s temporary base on the "DPR" territory. On Sept. 13, he voluntarily reported back to his unit in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.

In Kamchatka, six servicemen have been sentenced to two years in a penal settlement for refusing to engage in combat with Ukraine, as reported by the Sibir.Realii online media outlet [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty]. The motives behind their refusals remain unknown, with one of the convicted citing poor health as the reason. Additionally, four other military personnel received probation sentences ranging from two and a half to five and a half years for leaving their military unit. During the court proceedings, they expressed a desire to be deployed to the frontline, with three submitting formal requests.

In Novocherkassk, a mobilized soldier named Roman Solovyov was fined 35,000 rubles [$390] for attempting to bribe his way out of deployment. Solovyov transferred 40,000 rubles [$450] to his former commander to avoid frontline duty.

The First Eastern District Military Court sentenced Ruslan Zinin, who shot a military commissioner in Ust-Ilimsk following the mobilization announcement, to 19 years in a maximum security penal colony. Zinin was found guilty of an act of terror, illegal possession, and manufacture of weapons. Zinin stated that his actions were an attempt to save his younger brother from mobilization and explained that he was deeply affected by the death of a friend in the war against Ukraine.

Igor Pokusin, a 61-year-old resident of Abakan, has been sentenced to eight years and one month in a maximum security penal colony for treason. According to prosecutors, the civilian pilot, who has prosthetic limbs replacing two of his joints and a heart stent, was allegedly intent on joining the Armed Forces of Ukraine to fight against Russia. Human rights activists claim that Pokusin did not hide his anti-war views, but had no intention of joining the AFU, and his confession admitting guilt was extracted under torture.

The Federal Security Service (FSB) reported the detention of a local resident in Khabarovsk who allegedly collected information about the radio frequencies of the Ministry of Defense and military personnel participating in the war. Additionally, he purportedly planned attacks against servicemen on the territory of the Khabarovsk region on behalf of a foreign intelligence service. The FSB did not disclose the suspect's name or details of his arrest. A criminal case on charges of treason has been initiated against the man. Including this incident, there have now been six cases of treason in the region since last year, making the Khabarovsk region one of the leaders in the number of cases related to treason and espionage.


The Sewing for Our Own local initiative group in Tara, Omsk region, announced a collection of fabric to make Friend or Foe armbands and underwear for the wounded. Additionally, an enterprise from Vladivostok reported the dispatch of a new batch of over 400 body armor vests to the marines of the Pacific Fleet.

Children and Educational System

Schools and colleges in 52 regions of Russia are planning to purchase drones for educational purposes. The combined value of these tenders is 1.2 billion rubles [$13.44 million].

Additionally, preparations are underway to teach students aged 11 to 17 drone operations in schools in Volgograd and the Volgograd region. Despite the ongoing ban on drone usage in the region, educational institutions have begun searching for instructors. In the Lipetsk region, children were told about ways to protect themselves from drones during a "lesson of courage."

The Vityaz military-patriotic center is set to organize militarized relay events for students aged 11–13 from schools in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Region–Yugra. These events will include tests of their marksmanship using pneumatic weapons.


In the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region, a museum featuring Ukrainian household items has been opened to "demonstrate their similarity to Russians." On display are items from the combat zone, newspapers and children's books in Ukrainian, car license plates, tape recorders, and identification documents.

The Presidential Grants Foundation has allocated 5 million rubles [$50,400] for sending "greetings" to war participants. These messages will be broadcast on "frontline radio Z FM," which transmits in the "new regions" and along the "frontline." The funds will go to the Saint Petersburg-based New Media Development Fund, led by Alexander Malkevich, a propagandist and advisor to the governor of Saint Petersburg. The project was approved under the grant category "Support of Family, Motherhood, Fatherhood, and Childhood."


According to Novaya Gazeta Europe [European edition of the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta], at least 2,500 academics have left Russia following the outbreak of the full-scale war.

Sibir.Realii continues its coverage of the pardoned war participants who were earlier convicted for murder along with the victims' families’ reactions to their release. The Perm 36.6 publication has also released a video on the same topic.

The Kavkaz.Realii [Caucasus.Realities] media outlet reported about the deteriorating situation of people being used by the authorities in the war against Ukraine.

Vazhnyye Istorii [IStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet], examined the testimonies of survivors and the stories of those missing in action after being mobilized. These individuals were dispatched to Svatove immediately after their call-up in the fall of 2022 to counter the AFU advance. Journalists compiled a documentary based on the gathered material.

For months, the relatives of servicemen have been struggling to have their family members recognized as prisoners of war and brought back to Russia. The Vyorstka media outlet conducted a thorough investigation into the functioning of the prisoner exchange system and explored why many relatives' efforts to secure their loved ones' return frequently prove futile.