mobilization briefs
July 5

Mobilization in Russia for July 2-4, 2024 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

Russia’s Minister of Defense Andrey Belousov has signed an order to withhold social benefits from mobilized soldiers during "periods of unauthorized abandonment of a military unit or place of military service." Authorities had introduced social benefits for draftees in January 2023 and set their amount to 158,000 rubles [$1,790] per month.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs has prepared a bill, which would grant the Federal Security Service (FSB) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the right to confiscate internal passports, in cases where an official "determines that a [Russian] citizen is using an invalid passport" containing unexpected information. This might include border crossing stamps in an internal passport, drawings or notes concerning animal ownership. Officials might also confiscate a passport if they suspect that it belongs to someone else. Moreover, the bill seeks to amend the procedure for confiscating an international passport abroad. In this case, officials would issue a temporary travel document to allow the passport holder to return to the Russian Federation. The bill may impact individuals who traveled to post-Soviet countries using internal passports. A legal expert from a human rights organization noted that border guards in Kazakhstan and Armenia have been known to sometimes incorrectly stamp Russian internal passports. Yevgeny Smirnov, a lawyer of the Pervy Otdel [Department One] human rights project, said that the bill would allow officials to easily “invalidate” passports. Meduza [international Russian-language online media outlet] published a detailed analysis of the bill.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

Dmitry Medvedev [Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Security Council] has stated that about 190,000 individuals have signed contracts with the Ministry of Defense since the beginning of the year. According to him, the recruitment plan is being fulfilled, with an average daily rate of approximately 1,000 people joining the armed forces. In early June, Vladimir Putin said that 160,000 new recruits had allegedly signed contracts for military service in 2024. Thus, the authorities in their statements continue to adhere to a recruitment rate of 30,000 people per month, which we, the Conflict Intelligence Team, believe to be an overestimation. We estimate that about 10,000 to 15,000 people are successfully recruited into the army each month.

The Novosibirsk region authorities have increased the sign-up bonus to 400,000 rubles [$4,530]. The total sign-up bonus, including both federal and regional payments, has reached 600,000 rubles [$6,800]. The Novosibirsk region had previously offered a sign-up bonus of 100,000 rubles [$1,130] since April 2023. In addition, the authorities announced the formation of another military unit in Novosibirsk.

Three police officers accused of exceeding their authority and taking particularly large bribes have joined the war effort in order to avoid punishment in an extortion case. Aleksandr Temnikov, a senior officer, and his two subordinates, Ruslan Bubovich and Nikolay Mogilnikov, have been prosecuted for demanding 1.3 million rubles [$14,700] from an individual they had detained in exchange for not opening a criminal case against him for the illegal sale of drugs.

Mobilized Soldiers, Volunteer Fighters and Contract Soldiers

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Albert Shamgunov and Ruslan Shakurov from Russia’s constituent Republic of Tatarstan, and Pavel Osipov from the Zabaykalsky region [Russia’s federal subject].

According to the Astra Telegram channel, five conscripts were wounded in attacks on Russia's border regions. Four were injured in an artillery attack in the Bryansk region on July 3. Additionally, a 20-year-old conscript was wounded in a kamikaze drone attack in the Kursk region on July 2.

The Ostorozhno, Novosti [Beware the News] Telegram channel reports that Artyom Sharipov, one of the servicemen from the 26th Tank Regiment who recorded an appeal complaining about sending untreated soldiers to the forward positions, has gone missing in Ukraine. According to Artyom's mother, after the recording, the men were taken to hospitals, where most of their diagnoses were confirmed. This was also reported by Astra. However, Sharipov himself disappeared—he was taken to the village of Zaitseve instead of the hospital, where there is a basement for refuseniks. He has been out of contact since July 1. Sharipov was recruited for the war from a penal colony.

According to Vazhnyye Istorii [IStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet], convicts from the "DPR" who were recruited into the Kaskad military unit in the fall of 2022 have not been pardoned. When they were recruited, they were promised that their convictions would be expunged and they would be pardoned after six months of service, as well as assistance in obtaining documents after their release. However, at the training center, they were told that they would not be released until the end of the war and were then sent to assault units. In January 2024, their pay was stopped, and in April, their units were disbanded. The convicts were dismissed but were not pardoned. They are kept in the military unit and forced to sign open-ended contracts with the Ministry of Defense. Approximately 500 people are in this situation.

The Military Prosecutor's Office of Russia has confirmed the detention of more than 20 soldiers in a cell in Yakutsk. A video showing men in a cell surfaced in late May - it was claimed these were wounded soldiers who refused to go to the frontline. According to human rights activists, the soldiers were beaten, denied bathroom access, and prevented from seeing their family. The Military Prosecutor's Office stated that seven men in the video were allegedly ringleaders of an escape attempt and were placed in the cell for drunkenness, and that on May 27, 26 intoxicated soldiers tried to escape by threatening guards. At the same time, an investigation found no wounded soldiers in need of medical attention.

A wounded mobilized soldier from the Moscow region, whom we reported on in one of our previous briefings, is being sent back to war without completing his treatment. The man sustained injuries to his lungs and legs, and a shrapnel fragment remains near his heart. He was taken off the hospitalization list and added to the list for deployment to the frontline.

Sergey Chebotarev, a 43-year-old mobilized soldier from the Rostov region, is being sent back to the frontline despite his disability and a ban on serving with weapons. The man was wounded shortly after being mobilized in October 2022. According to Chebotarev's wife, after undergoing an evaluation by a military medical board, he was deemed partially fit for military service. He also has a third-degree disability, and doctors recommended continued treatment under psychiatric supervision. The mobilized soldier is prohibited from carrying out duties involving weapons. The woman says many 150th Motorized Rifle Division soldiers are in a similar situation. She claims that fighters with unhealed injuries, including fractures, are being sent to the frontline.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

In Oryol, a criminal case has been initiated against an ex-mercenary of the Wagner Group for sexual intercourse and other actions of a sexual nature with a person under 16 and for lewd acts. 29-year-old Vladislav Astapov was previously convicted of robbery and intentionally causing medium and grievous bodily harm. He was recruited from a penal colony to fight in Ukraine and was later pardoned by Putin. According to investigators, upon his return to Oryol, he committed lewd acts against a 9th grade female student.

In the Zabaykalsky region, another ex-mercenary of the Wagner Group assaulted a woman on June 21. After his detention at the police station, the woman was informed that he had been previously convicted and had been deployed to a combat zone with the Wagner Group from a penal colony.

The Saint Petersburg Garrison Military Court sentenced contract soldier Sergey M. to five years of probation for going AWOL. Sergey left his military unit, citing moral and psychological pressure from his command and reported to the commandant's office six months later. The court considered his willingness to continue serving in a combat zone as a mitigating factor.

In Moscow, a 33-year-old man was detained for filming a draft office. It later emerged that he was simply looking for a place to buy cigarettes but got lost in an unfamiliar area. He began sending photos and videos to a friend to help him navigate, which led to his arrest. After showing his messages to the police, he was released. However, an investigation into the incident has been initiated.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs has announced a search for 61-year-old Andrey Bogdanov from Zelenodolsk, accused of arson at a draft office and "discrediting the Armed Forces." Bogdanov stopped attending court hearings in June, resulting in suspension of the case.

Konstantin Soldatov from Sevastopol has been sentenced to 16 years in prison and fined 500,000 rubles [$5,670] on charges including treason, preparing an act of terror, manufacturing explosives, and illegal sale of explosive devices. According to investigators, in July 2023, Soldatov was recruited by a Ukrainian Main Directorate of Intelligence to prepare a terrorist attack on a railway. In July 2023, he obtained components for an explosive device, which were found at his home during his arrest. Video footage allegedly featuring Soldatov surfaced in September 2023.

The Investigative Committee of Bashkortostan [Russia's constituent republic] has concluded the investigation of a criminal case against 12 men, aged 17 to 21, accused of sabotage on the railway. The defendants are charged with sabotage, attempted act of terror, aiding terrorist activities, illegal production and distribution of explosives, and attempted drug distribution. According to investigators, one of the accused recruited individuals to carry out arson and explosions targeting transformers of the Russian Railways [Russian fully state-owned railway company]. In October and November 2022, they set fire to transformers in Bashkortostan and the Krasnodar region, damaging six facilities. Additionally, two minors made explosives to attack a draft office in the city of Oktyabrsky. The case has been sent to court for consideration.

The FSB reported the arrest of a resident of the Primorsky region [Russia's federal subject] for providing Ukraine with information on "vulnerable spots on the railway." Details of the case and the detainee's name have not been disclosed.

In Moscow, 18-year-old Vladislav Sosedko was detained on charges of "preparing to commit high treason" and preparing to participate in the activities of a "terrorist organization" for allegedly attempting to join the "Freedom of Russia Legion" and the Russian Volunteer Corps. According to investigators, Sosedko applied to join these military formations via Telegram while he was still a minor.

The Rostov Regional Court sentenced 19-year-old Danila Efimov to 12 years in a maximum security penal colony for treason. The trial was held behind closed doors, and the sentence was handed down on July 2. The only entry in the leaked databases shows that Efimov was registered in the town of Snizhne in the Donetsk region, which has been controlled by the "DPR" since 2014. It is likely that Efimov obtained a Russian passport, without which it would have been impossible to prosecute him for treason.

The court issued a verdict in the case of the Ashcheulov brothers, three sons of a Lipetsk priest, accused of attempting to leave to fight for Ukraine. The prosecution sought 18 years of imprisonment for each of them on charges of attempted treason, illegal border crossing, and participation in a terrorist organization. The defendants admitted their guilt during the investigation, but two of them refused to confirm their testimonies in court. Ultimately, the court sentenced the eldest brother, Ioann, to 17.5 years in a maximum security penal colony, and Aleksey and Timofey to 17 years each. Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] published the young men's final words before sentencing.

The Second Eastern District Military Court found 19-year-old Igor Lushko, a student at a Novosibirsk college, guilty of sabotage, participation in a terrorist organization, and treason, sentencing him to 20 years in a maximum security penal colony. According to investigators, Lushko filled out an application to join the "Freedom of Russia Legion." He also allegedly "undertook obligations to systematically participate in sabotage and terrorist activities on Russian territory." In September 2023, Lushko set fire to a railway power supply facility and filmed military vehicles and objects at a military unit. He was detained the following day when he returned to the same unit.

A 32-year-old resident of Samara region has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for treason. Law enforcement agencies alleged that in the spring and summer of 2023, the man "collected information at the railway stations Kinel and Bezymyanka." According to the FSB, anonymous individuals offered to pay for his information, but the man replied that he was "helping for ideological reasons."

The Krasnogorsk City Court received a case against Ivan Kolosov, 35, a medic who graduated from the Moscow Cossak Cadet Corps. The Astra news outlet, without naming its source, reported that Kolosov was detained in March of 2023. According to the investigators, he intended to join the "Freedom of Russia Legion" and fight for the Ukrainian side.

Ruslan Zinin, who shot a military commissar after his friend was killed in the war and his brother received a draft notice, cut himself and went on hunger strike in the pre-trial detention facility. He has been held in solitary confinement for 17 days, since June 18. Zinin was sentenced to 19 years in a maximum security penal colony. In court, Zinin reported that he was tortured during his detention.

Assistance

Bailiffs from the town of Korkino in the Chelyabinsk region sent three confiscated vehicles to the front.

Children and Educational System

Authorities in the Vladimir region have shut down the "Spetsnaz [Special forces] Children" summer camp because it was not registered as an organization for children's leisure and recreation and lacked the necessary documents. Children as young as eight had been taught tactical hand signals [used by special forces], firearms training, and survival skills. The 26 children will soon be sent home and the camp organizers will face legal consequences.

Kazan authorities will train new workers for an aviation plant directly in schools. One of the schools will open two "aviation classes" in September. The program is designed for students in the 10th and 11th grades. They will prepare for the Unified State Exam [graduation examination in Russia’s schools] and at the same time learn to operate machines at the Aviation Technical College. Upon graduation, the students will receive both a high school diploma and a machine operator qualification certificate.

A supplementary education center in the Magadan region invited a participant in the war in Ukraine, Aleksey Myachin, in honor of Combat Veterans Day. The serviceman attended the event wearing a patch with explicit content.