mobilization briefs
July 18, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Jul. 16-17, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

The Ministry of Defense has drafted a decree to provide military commissariats [enlistment offices] with additional financing. Regional budgets and extrabudgetary sources (e.g. businesses, non-profit organizations, even individuals) would be used to "finance additional incentives" for the employees of the military commissariats, beyond those funded from the federal budget today. The ministry has also drafted a bill to grant itself use of any tracts of the federal forest reserve for "defense needs," regardless of forms of ownership or right holders.

The State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] is considering a bill, which would purportedly enable Rosgvardia [the National Guard of Russia] to be armed with heavy military equipment. The bill would amend the Federal Law "On National Guard Troops." As noted by the Sota media outlet, it would only replace one term for another: "combat equipment" would be substituted with "military equipment"—the latter concept being formally broader. Thus, it remains to be seen whether Rosgvardia will indeed acquire any new types of equipment.

On July 17, the State Duma was to consider a bill raising the age limit for reservists in its third reading. According to the Voyennye Advokaty [Military Lawyers] Telegram channel, if passed, the amendments would come into effect on Jan. 1, 2024, and the age limits would gradually be raised in 2024-2028. The adoption of the amendments would extend the service period for mobilized soldiers over the age of 50, and raise age limits for draftees in the event of a new mobilization wave.

Governor of the Leningrad region Aleksandr Drozdenko promised to deal with issues related to servicemen's rotation and leaves. A more precise explanation of this issue will be published by Aug. 1, according to the governor.

Belarus's Alyaksandr Lukashenka signed an agreement with Russia on the creation of joint combat training centers at the premises of military units in Belarus and Russia.

A bill has been introduced in the State Duma that exempts servicemen fighting in Ukraine from training for a driver's license. According to the bill, military personnel will be allowed to take exams after "self-preparation."

From Jul. 17 to Dec. 1, the Russian government will test the possibility of submitting complaints via the Gosuslugi public service portal about refusals to joining military service under a contract.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

Mobile draft offices have been set up in a recreational park in Perm and at the City Day celebration in Lipetsk. Additionally, a contract military service recruitment facility has opened in Balashikha, Moscow region, accepting volunteer fighters from all regions of the country.

Several regions have reported sending volunteers, who have signed contracts with the Ministry of Defense, to serve in the armed forces. Three individuals from Volokolamsk, Moscow region, and an 18-person strong unit of volunteer Cossacks from Kizlyar have been deployed for service.

In Tatarstan [Russia’s constituent republic], it was announced that three new named battalions will be formed, with two specialized units—a tank battalion and an artillery battalion. All three units will exclusively consist of contracted volunteer fighters. Similar announcement about the formation of new named units, including a tank unit and a motorized infantry unit, was also made in the Nizhny Novgorod region.

The administration of the Kostroma region reported that approximately 2,000 residents of the region have signed contracts with the Ministry of Defense since the beginning of the "special military operation." According to authorities, just lately, over 400 individuals have expressed their desire to join the Russian Armed Forces, although the exact time period for this surge remains undisclosed.

The Kirov region has drafted 30% more conscripts than was originally planned. Governor of the Kirov region Aleksandr Sokolov explained this by the "coordinated work" of military commissariats and emphasized the "special role" of the patriotic education system.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated with Aleksandr Tsepelev and Aleksandr Harislamov from the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region–Yugra [Russia's federal subject], Maksim Mikhalyov and Sergey Polupanov from the Rostov region, Aleksey Borodin from the Orenburg region, Konstantin Zausaev from the Arkhangelsk region, Anatoly Domnin from the Saratov region, Bulat Yusupov from Russia's constituent Republic of Bashkortostan, Oleg Smorkalov from Russia's constituent Republic of Mari El and Andrey Funkner from the Volgograd region.

Two mobilized soldiers of the 1194th Regiment from the Saratov region were hospitalized after they sustained injuries from an explosion caused by a projectile they had found. Meanwhile, the Astra Telegram channel reported that a 21-year-old border guard was injured in an artillery attack near the Krupets border crossing point in the Kursk region on Jul. 16.

In Tatarstan, the authorities of Naberezhnye Chelny and Zainsk reported on meetings with mobilized soldiers who had come on leave. The meetings began with a minute of silence. Mobilized soldiers from the Saratov region and members from the A Just Russia party from the Novosibirsk region are returning to the war after their leave.

Relatives of the mobilized soldiers from the Samara region have recorded an address to the President of the Russian Federation. According to them, since January, the soldiers have not had rotations, they are exhausted, stationed without food, water, and ammunition, and the command sends them to assault without fire support. In case of refusal to execute orders, the command threatens the servicemen with execution by firing squad. The relatives have also attached a video fragment of the soldiers’ meeting with Governor of the Samara region Dmitry Azarov, who promised to grant them leaves but instead, they were "sent to hell" the next day.

A mobilized father of three children from Lipetsk will return home from the combat zone after the Children’s Rights Ombudsman in the Lipetsk region intervened in resolving the issue. The wife of the mobilized soldier contacted the official when his father fell seriously ill, and he himself had complications after being wounded.

A soldier mobilized from the Kurgan region came home on leave at his own expense, as the commanders had not provided him with transportation. According to the soldier, it took 50,000 rubles [$1100] to go all the way home from the combat zone. Member of the State Duma Maksim Ivanov has explained that transport expenses should only be compensated based on documentary evidence, while expenses for taxi, which the soldier also used, should not be compensated at all.

More than 60 anti-war initiatives have appealed to the European Parliament requesting to protect Russian conscientious objectors, deserters and those who surrendered or were captured. The signatories include Vesna [Spring, liberal democratic youth movement], the Idite Lesom! [Flee through the woods/Get lost you all, anti-war project], Political Prisoners. Memorial [independent human rights project], and other organizations. The authors propose a number of measures to protect and support the prosecuted Russian refuseniks, including: recognizing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a crime against peace to clarify the humanitarian status of refuseniks, facilitating the issues of humanitarian visas, and providing financial support to third countries that host Russians.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings, and Incidents

Leonid K., a 20-year-old contract soldier from Stupino, Moscow region, committed suicide having come from leave back to the "special military operation" zone. The man reportedly appeared for duty, received an assault rifle and rounds, went out of his military unit, and shot himself. The investigation is ongoing.

In Buryatia [Russia’s constituent republic], corporal Valery Pykin was sentenced to 5 years and 2 months in a penal colony for going AWOL.


In Ulan-Ude, volunteers reported having helped the family of a soldier: they fixed the rickety fence and gate. In Tavda, Sverdlovsk region, members of the Harmoniya sports club split 27 truckloads of firewood for mobilized soldiers and their families. Member of the Penza city council Alexey Ivanov arranged a delivery of sawn lumber.

4000 bottles with water were delivered to the war zone from Lipetsk. Clothes and groceries were sent from Moscow and the Stavropol region. Clothes and equipment were dispatched from Tver. Automobiles, ATVs, and other vehicles were donated by the Kirov and Kemerovo regions, the Krasnodar region, Yakutsk, and the Yamalo-Nenets autonomous region [Russia's constituent subject], and Yaroslavl donated long-range transceivers. Governor of the Kaliningrad region Anton Alikhanov visited the occupied territory of the Zaporizhzhia region and gave anti-drone rifles and communication equipment to the soldiers of the 1004th Regiment. Meanwhile, the women of Veselovka (a settlement with less than 100 residents in Russia’s constituent Republic of Komi) manufactured 32 camouflage nets to be sent to the war zone.

Participants of the war in Ukraine from the Saratov region have been promised free land plots.


Despite the summer break, students of School No. 45 in Krasnoyarsk gather at the school to write letters to soldiers from the Krasnoyarsk region.

In Vladivostok, a teacher at kindergarten No. 8 held a lesson on the "artistic and aesthetic development and patriotic education" of children. She printed pictures of soldiers with weapons and had preschoolers color them.

In Chuvashia [Russia's constituent republic], on Jul. 14-17, an educational forum was held for representatives of patriotic education in the Volga and Ural federal districts. Nearly 700 people took part in it. The participants, in particular, discussed issues of interaction with war veterans and demobilized military personnel within the framework of the Tvoy Geroy [Your Hero] project.


In the village of Kolobki, Ivolginsky district of Buryatia , a memorial was opened dedicated to those who were killed in the war with Ukraine. A monument was installed next to the (existing) obelisk to the participants of the Great Patriotic War [WWII], the funds for which were collected by "the whole village."

During the harvesting of wheat in the Saratov region, a giant letter Z,  which is the symbol of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, was mowed out in the field. While reporting on the harvest, the head of the Yershovsky district attached a corresponding photograph to his post.