mobilization briefs
January 24

Mobilization in Russia for Jan. 22-23, 2024 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

RBC [Russian media group] reports that federal authorities are planning to amend the Labor Code to include previous military service and disability among the attributes employers cannot use as a basis for discrimination in hiring decisions. The amendment, prepared by the Presidential Administration, would make it illegal to refuse employment to former members of the Armed Forces or volunteer fighter units within one year of their discharge, provided they meet the job requirements. Employers would also be prohibited from denying applications on the grounds of an individual’s combat-related disabilities, provided there are no medical contraindications for the role. Furthermore, the amendments would grant the government the right to specify which employees and organizations are eligible for draft deferral certificates during mobilization periods. The Ministry of Labor has already "partially endorsed" the proposal.

Patriarch Kirill called on lawmakers to prohibit the peacetime mobilization of fathers of three or more children. Nina Ostanina, a member of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia], addressed a similar proposal to Andrey Kartapolov, Chairman of the Defense Committee. She urges the State Duma to consider a bill seeking to exempt men with three or more minor dependents from mobilization. She had drafted the bill in fall 2022, but the Defense Committee failed to review the bill despite the fact that the deadline for comments expired in February 2023. The current legislation allows men with four or more minor dependents to request draft exemption. According to government data, there are 2.3 million families with three or more children in Russia.

Protests in Bashkortostan

According to Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet], following the mass arrests of eco-activist Fail Alsynov’s supporters in Bashkortostan [Russia's constituent republic], 111 administrative protocols for "disobedience to police" were processed. Most of the known protest cases were prosecuted under this charge. Each individual faced sentences of either fines or detention. It has been revealed that Dim Davletkildin, a resident of the republic accused of participating in mass riots, has been sent to a pre-trial detention center until March 17.

Mobilized Soldiers, Volunteer Fighters and Contract Soldiers

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Aleksey Spiridonov from the Irkutsk region, Maksim Belov from the Volgograd region, Andrey Filyonkin from the Krasnodar region, Denis Seldushev from Kalmykia [Russia’s constituent republic], Tembot Keramshev from Kabardino-Balkaria [Russia’s constituent republic], Pavel Kuptashkin from Chuvashia [Russia’s constituent republic], and Vladislav Sklyarov from the Sverdlovsk region.

According to the Astra Telegram channel, on Jan. 20, Anton Zh., a 24-year-old draftee from the Bryansk region, shot himself in the head with an assault rifle in the area of the Kalinov farmstead in the Kursk region. The soldier was hospitalized with penetrating bone and skull base injuries. Initial investigations suggest the incident was a result of careless weapon handling.

A serviceman who lost phalanges on three fingers due to a grenade fuse explosion has been declared fit for service. This prevents him from terminating his contract and resigning from duty. Facing financial hardships and unable to secure dismissal or compensation, he volunteered for frontline duty. Initially assigned to operate ATGMs in the combat zone, he was later transferred to an evacuation group before being returned to the forward positions in the Storm unit. Despite his requests for discharge or medical treatment, the contract soldier continues to be denied.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

A resident of the Primorsky region, Georgy Povilayko, sentenced to 24 years in prison for the rape and murder of a mother of two children, has returned home after three months of participating in the war. In late October 2023, while still in custody, Povilayko signed a contract with the Ministry of Defense, and recently, neighbors spotted him at his home. He served just over a year of the court-imposed sentence. The circumstances of his release, just three months after signing the military contract, remain unclear. The victim's husband has appealed to the Prosecutor General's Office and the Ministry of Defense demanding Povilayko's return to prison, but the response from the Federal Penitentiary Service stated that the criminal was released on probation on Oct. 27, 2023, due to signing a contract with the Ministry of Defense.

In 2023, the military court in the city of Grozny, the capital of Russia’s constituent Republic of Chechnya, processed 78 criminal cases, including 47 related to going AWOL and desertion. This is the highest number in the past several years. Many of these cases brought to court last year were initiated due to crimes committed in the first year of the full-scale invasion.

The Omsk court has sentenced soldier Andrey Kritenko to six years in a penal colony for three episodes of going AWOL during the mobilization.

Military investigators have concluded a criminal case against Aleksandr M., who was accused of going AWOL despite the fact that he had never signed a contract. In the summer of 2022, Aleksandr sought to sign a three-month contract. After receiving approval at a recruitment facility, he joined a military unit. However, the contract was never formalized, and he was not added to the military personnel list. Upon leaving the unit, Aleksandr discovered in September 2023 that he was the subject of a criminal case. The case was subsequently closed after investigators verified the absence of a signed contract, citing no basis for the charges.

The Volgograd court has concluded the public hearing of an arson case involving the city's draft office. Yuliya Yashchenko, a former Justice Committee employee in the Volgograd region, is accused in this matter.

Crimean Kirill Barannik, who is currently in a pre-trial detention center on charges of railway sabotage, faces heightened accusations potentially leading to life imprisonment. On May 30, 2023, the Federal Security Service (FSB) detained Barannik in the city of Simferopol. During interrogation, he confessed to committing sabotage in the village of Poshtove on Feb. 23. Barannik claims that his confession was coerced through torture and threats to his mother's life. Initially charged with railway sabotage, he now faces more severe charges of treason and involvement in the activities of a terrorist organization.

The FSB has charged Grigory Skvortsov, a photographer from Perm, with treason. He was arrested in November 2023 and is currently detained in the Lefortovo pre-trial detention center. The court has imposed detention as a preventive measure, and the details of his case remain confidential.

The Central District Military Court sentenced 17-year-old student Herman Kuzovkin from the Chelyabinsk region to five years in a penal colony.  This sentencing is related to his attempt toset fire to the draft office in the city of Asha on June 4, 2023. Kuzovkin, arrested by the FSB in June 2023, stated during interrogation that his actions were a protest against the war in Ukraine.

The Moscow court has extended the arrest of Ruslan Sidiki, a 35-year-old resident of Ryazan. He is accused of derailing a freight train in the Ryazan region through an explosion on the railway tracks on Nov. 11, and of orchestrating a drone attack on the Dyagilevo air base on the night of July 20. The cases against Sidiki include charges related to acts of terror committed in a group and attempted illicit manufacturing of weapons.


Residents of the occupied Amvrosiivka discovered a dump of bulldozer-crushed packs of aid to Russian soldiers. They found improvised stretchers, jackets, medicines, and children's letters. According to locals, half of the items "have already been looted."


Following the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, dozens of Russian museums held exhibitions commemorating deceased Russian soldiers. As found by Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet], some of these exhibitions were organized according to federal guidelines aimed at standardizing the museum presentation of the "special military operation."