mobilization briefs
July 21, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Jul. 19-20, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

The State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] Committee on State Building and Legislation has approved amendments to the Code of the Russian Federation on Administrative Offenses, significantly increasing fines for conscripts and mobilized soldiers. According to the amendments, the fine for failure to appear at a military commissariat [enlistment office] upon receipt of a draft notice will go up to 50,000 rubles [$554] (currently 500–3,000 rubles [$5–33]); the fine for failure to report to a military commissariat about a change in marital status, place of residence or work will go up to 20,000 rubles [$221]. And the fine for evading medical evaluation related to military registration will increase to 25,000 rubles [$277]. The amendments also introduce a new article to the Code for "non-assistance" to military commissariats during mobilization (article 19.38). Officials who fail to help notify people and ensure their attendance at military commissariats will be fined up to 80,000 rubles [$886], and companies up to 500,000 rubles [$5,540]. It's also planned to increase the fine for failure to submit lists of people subject to military service to military commissariats: to 50,000 rubles [$554] for officials, and to 400,000 rubles [$4,432] for companies. Note that this bill was submitted to the State Duma back in 2019, and the first reading was held in 2021. It's planned that the document will come into force on Oct. 1, the day when the fall regular biannual conscription campaign begins.

Human rights defenders to whom the The Vyorstka media outlet turned for the analysis of the bill, noticed that there's also new wording suggesting punishment for conscripts who fail to come to military commissariats, even if they didn't receive a draft notice. Human rights activists suggest that the main point of changes in legislation is to force citizens to visit military commissariats. The bill was analyzed in detail by lawyers of The Voyennye Advokaty [Military Lawyers] Telegram channel.

The State Duma voted in favor of changing the name of the Fundamentals of Life Safety school subject into Fundamentals of Security and Defense of the Motherland. This amendment was introduced in the second reading of the bill on the mandatory involvement of schoolchildren in socially useful work. The bill removes the prohibition on involving schoolchildren in work without their or parents' consent. Besides, it reintroduces silver school medals for outstanding academic performance.

The French National Court of Asylum has issued a ruling that affirms the right of Russian citizens to seek asylum in the country if they are evading mobilization or conscription, or if they have deserted from the army. Refugee status will be granted if the applicants can prove that they are subject to conscription or mobilization in the RuAF, however, the mere fact of being in the military reserve is not considered sufficient grounds. Previously, activists of dozens of anti-war initiatives addressed the European Parliament and the European Commission requesting to consider granting asylum to Russians who refuse to take part in the criminal war.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

The Fontanka online media outlet reached out to military commissariats of Saint Petersburg and asked if it is possible to be taken off the military rolls by proxy. The responses from the military commissariats varied: some military commissariats stated that it is possible, while others could not give a definite answer. Practice also shows that some city residents managed to get taken off the military rolls remotely, while others were required to visit in person.

Mobile recruitment centers have been launched in the Irkutsk region. They will be touring villages of one of the region’s districts till Aug. 10. Problems with the contract service recruitment are also experienced in the Kabansky district of Buryatia [Russia’s constituent republic]. The district administration has even held a meeting concerning the issue of "replenishment of troops with personnel."

Contract service ads in Russian and Uzbek languages appeared in Volgograd public transport. The Volgograd contract service recruitment office confirmed that those posters were aimed at attracting foreigners and promised to add promo materials in other languages.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Maksim Chalov from the Perm region and Igor Aleksandrov.

Three Russian soldiers (according to the Ostorozhno, Novosti [Beware the news] Telegram channel, two of them were mobilized, while according to the Astra Telegram channel, they all of them were contract soldiers) got killed in the Klimovsky district of the Bryansk region, Russia, after tripping an anti-tank mine previously planted by sappers of another Russian unit. One more Russian soldier sustained a shrapnel wound from an explosive device dropped on the Grayvoron border-crossing point in the evening of Jul. 19.

The Vyorstka media outlet spoke with ex-convicts who had signed a contract with the Ministry of Defense to serve in Storm-Z units and with their families. Complaints were raised about the soldiers being treated in a demeaning and degrading way by the commanders and doctors in hospitals, as well as about promised sizable salaries and bonuses not being paid. In the spring of 2023, the Ministry of Defense started up its recruitment campaign in Russian prisons and colonies. Unlike the Wagnerites who were paid in cash, the Storm-Z fighters were promised to be paid in monthly installments by bank transfer to a debit card. Contrary to that, ex-convicts are often denied their wages and insurance benefits in case of injury; moreover, their families are facing difficulties in locating their loved ones as they are not listed in the database of the Ministry of Defense.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings, and Incidents

On Jul. 14, the Tomsk Garrison Military Court sentenced Private Khabib Aliyev and Private Magomed Eshrefov to two years six months of probation and one year of probation respectively for beating and robbing a fellow service member.

Mobilized soldier from Chuvashia [Russia's constituent republic] Sergey Nikolaev dodged service by failing to return to the war after taking an approved leave. He will be tried for desertion and unauthorized absence from the military base. During his protracted leave, the man slided into heavy drinking, beat his wife and borrowed money from friends for his child’s fictional surgery.

The police and the Investigative Committee are looking into the complaint raised by a customer who found leaflets from the Russian Volunteer Corps in the mail order delivered for his wife from cosmetics company Avon. The man reported his findings to the police. Experts from the Ministry of Internal Affairs concluded that the leaflets called for "harmful actions" and discredited the Russian Army.

An unknown person in camouflage attempted to set fire to a military commissariat in the Berdsk town, Novosibirsk region. He poured flammable liquid on the door, but the flames blew out before the arrival of firefighters. A case was initiated under the article on intentional destruction of property, although in recent years, authorities have regarded arson attacks on draft offices as acts of terror.

Roman Popov, a lathe operator from the Amur region, was sentenced to one year and eight months in prison for setting fire to a military commissariat. This January, Popov threw two Molotov cocktails at the draft office of the Magdagachinsky district. He was found guilty of attempted destruction of someone else's property.

The "Freedom of Russia Legion" published a video of the arson of a railway signaling arrangement in the Vladimir region.

Sergey Novikov, who had been detained in Kazan on Jul. 19 on charges of preparing arson attacks on military vehicles, was arrested by a court decision for two months on suspicion of participating in a terrorist organization. The investigation believes that the man is a member of the "Freedom of Russia Legion."

In July, law enforcement agencies opened a criminal case against Aleksandr Sergeev, an 18-year-old Balakirevo village resident accused of involvement in the arson of relay and battery cabinets near a railway station. It is unclear whether this refers to the arson in Balakirevo or a new act of sabotage.

In the Kaliningrad region, local teenagers were detained for setting fire to relay and battery cabinets on the railway section between Kutuzovo-Novoe and Ryabinovka on Feb. 14. The police opened a case under the article on intentional destruction of property. According to the detainees, they acted on orders received via Telegram.

Criminal charges under the terrorism justification article have been brought against the former military psychologist Timofey Rudenko, as reported by his mother. Since mid-May, the man has been subjected to five consecutive administrative arrests on fabricated charges of disorderly conduct. Rudenko himself has claimed to have endured torture in an attempt to force him to sign a confession to planning acts of terror on May 9.

The Astra Telegram channel managed to speak with anti-war activists who left a box with a sticker saying, "You are the wife of a killer. We know everything," for Yulia Novichkova, a resident of the city of Vidnoye near Moscow. Previously, we reported on similar notes appearing on the doors of apartments, in mailboxes, and on the vehicles of relatives of men serving in Ukraine. The activists stated that their main focus is now on the Moscow region, as they have a list of local servicemen. They also do not believe in "those mobilized against their will." The activists declined to disclose the contents of the box.

According to calculations made by the Vot Tak [Like This] media outlet, the number of Russian soldiers and officers who went AWOL has increased on average by ten times since the start of mobilization. Many deserters attempt to quickly cross the border with Kazakhstan. The publication tells the stories of several soldiers and officers who refused to go to the frontline.


Oleg Peresada, a deputy of the Mineralnye Vody town district, shared photos on social media of a "framework for camouflage nets" made by the children from the orphanage in the village of Novaya Aleksandrovka, Stavropol region.

The authorities of the Khabarovsk region are going to spend 12 million rubles [$133000] on a monument to the military men from the Uragan special forces unit of the Rosgvardia [the National Guard of Russia] from Komsomolsk-on-Amur who were killed in Ukraine. All 12 servicemen from the unit apparently were killed on the same day—Jul. 20, 2022, as a result of a rocket attack on a barracks in Lysychansk.


The Ministry of Education of Chuvashia has announced the collection of books, stationery, and toys for educational organizations in the occupied Berdyansk district of the Zaporizhzhia region, which Head of Chuvashia Oleg Nikolayev took the patronage over. At the same time, the education sector in the region is definitely having a tough time: schools are closing, and the deadlines for major repairs of schools are being disrupted.


The Sibir.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet paid attention to the published resolution of the Krasnoyarsk administration with an approved list of places where points for the provision of personal protective equipment are to be set up. These are mainly educational institutions. Unemployed residents, students, and children under 17 years old will be able to receive protective equipment there.

Vazhnyye Istorii [iStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet] published interviews with men who succumbed to propaganda and went to war with Ukraine. The journalists also talked to the men’s relatives about how their views had changed over a year and a half.

Head of Komi [Russia’s constituent republic] Vladimir Uyba thanked 65 local students who went to work at the Krasnokamsk Concrete Structures Plant. The enterprise could not cope with the production volumes as one part of the workers went to fight in Ukraine, and the other was reassigned to defense enterprises.