mobilization briefs
June 17, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for June 15-16, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

Meduza [international Russian-language online media outlet] has prepared an analysis of the bill defining criminal liability of those involved in the "special military operation." The law proposes a new mechanism for recruiting convicts: now an individual presidential pardon decree will not be required and the law will allow the recruitment not only of convicts, but also suspects as well. At the same time, according to this law, any crimes, even crimes like sexual assault or treason, committed by an active-duty serviceman will not be punished. Crimes committed after this law comes into effect will not be "forgiven" - this may explain the push of the authorities to close the window of opportunity by passing the law as soon as possible. The bill itself, according to lawyers, is written poorly and contradicts the current legislation.

Another call to announce a general mobilization was made by the member of the State Council of Russia’s constituent Republic of Tatarstan from the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, Eduard Sharafiev. Also, in his opinion, a defined term of service for the mobilized soldiers should be established.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

The authorities of the Omsk region, as well as the authorities of many other regions, have increased payments to contract soldiers by 100,000 rubles [$1200]. Now those who have signed a contract in the region will be entitled to a lump sum payment of 295,000 rubles [$3500].

Leaflets advertising the contract military service were scattered around the entryway of one of the apartment blocks in Yekaterinburg, causing complaints from its residents.

In the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region, at the venue of the Russian Student Spring Festival, which attracted thousands of students, a propaganda tent of the local military commissariat [enlistment office] was set up. Previously, the tent was located elsewhere, but according to the head of the regional Department of Youth Policy, its appearance in the main square of Khanty-Mansiysk is allegedly unrelated to the festival. In Omsk, a mobile recruiting center for military contract service was deployed near the Pushkin Library.

The Russian Ministry of Defense reported that since the beginning of the war, more than 10,000 servicemen of the Russian Armed Forces have received special payments for personal destruction or capture of Ukrainian military vehicles.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The list of Russian mobilized soldiers killed in the war against Ukraine has been supplemented by Richardas Trunavichus from the North Ossetia [Russia’s constituent republic], Sergey Kuchirvey from the Irkutsk region, Yegor Elokhin from the Sverdlovsk region, Aleksey Sushchev from the Yaroslavl region, Aleksandr Naumenko from the Novosibirsk region, and Nikolay Kazakov from the Primorsky region.

Journalists from Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] and BBC News Russian, together with volunteers, were able to confirm the deaths of 25,528 people in the war with Ukraine based on open sources. 2,498 of them are mobilized soldiers. Over the past week, the list of killed has grown by 310 names, including 31 mobilized men. Former convicts continue to be killed most often in the war — there are 4,721 of them on the list. As of Jun. 16, the deaths of 251 officers with the rank of lieutenant colonel and higher have been confirmed through open sources. In the past two weeks, nine names have been added to this list, which is significantly higher than usual. As noted by Mediazona, during the winter assault on Bakhmut, Russian forces may have lost more people than in the first weeks of the war when the offensive was conducted on multiple axes, including Kyiv.

The Pepel [Ash] Telegram channel, citing military sources who claim to be "informed about the situation on the border," reports that the West-Akhmat battalion fighters, who recently arrived to guard the border in the Belgorod region, are taking positions on the third line of defense or farther, while the first two lines in close proximity to the border still consist of Russian conscripts.

Ten residents of "DPR," who had been illegally mobilized at the age of more than 50 years old, according to a family member of one of them, were demobilized after numerous complaints from their relatives and publications in the Astra Telegram channel and local media. These individuals were likely a part of the 111th Regiment (formerly the 129th Regiment of the "People's Militia of the DPR").

Families of the mobilized from the Stavropol region and Russia's constituent Republic of Adygea have been protesting outside of the 8th Army Headquarters in Novocherkassk, Rostov region, for three days now, as they seek to draw attention to the fate of their loved ones, who have been enrolled as “LPR's militiamen” and sent to the frontline without training, documents and payments in May. According to the relatives, commanders of the so-called LPR threaten these soldiers with murder, while according to documents, they were discharged from the ranks of the Armed Forces and do not receive salaries.

Former police officer Vladislav Biryukov, convicted of murdering his wife and sentenced to 16 years in prison, was granted amnesty after participating in the war with Ukraine. He served only a small portion of his sentence before heading to the war. The news that Biryukov had been released from prison came to light in the fall of 2022, when the court hearing for alimony enforcement did not take place. In response to inquiries about his whereabouts, the penal colony stated that this information is "classified."

The Vyorstka media outlet analyzed war correspondents’ reports from the positions of the 71st Motorized Rifle Regiment and found that among the members of the Storm Z unit, which consists of former convicts, there are individuals convicted of brutal murders who were rejected even by the Wagner Group. However, the unit's command praises them and notes that the convicts are more suitable for military service than mobilized soldiers.

Families of "volunteer fighters" from Buryatia [Russia’s constituent republic] complain that their children are not entitled to the benefits enjoyed by the children of contract and mobilized soldiers. Member of the People's Khural [the regional parliament] Oksana Bukholtseva shared the information. The servicemen themselves have complained that they have nowhere to wash, since the mobile bathhouse resembles a command post and is immediately subjected to shelling.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings, and Incidents

The Borzinsky Garrison Military Court sentenced Captain Sergey Sychev to six years of probation for going AWOL. On Aug. 16, 2022, he did not return to the military unit from a business trip, coming back only after learning that he was wanted as part of a criminal case.

In Novosibirsk, a serviceman was found guilty of going AWOL and sentenced to seven years in a penal colony. In December last year, he left the unit and returned home, where he drank and threatened his wife with murder, suspecting her of infidelity, and three days later attacked a sales assistant. The man was detained in January 2023.

The court considered the refusal of Russian contract soldiers Kirill Zagorodniuk and Nikolay Kolmakov to go to war with Ukraine as a manifestation of cowardice and qualified it to fail to comply with an order in combat conditions. The men were sentenced to two years and eight months and two years and six months in a colony settlement, respectively.

Amobilized from Bashkortostan was dissatisfied with the conditions of military service and moved to another military unit, signing his contract with it. However, this was considered desertion in his previous unit, and he was put on the wanted list. Now the family of the mobilized is trying to get payments, and the mobilized himself is trying to prove that he continues to be in the service.

In the Vladimir region, the number of “refuseniks” is growing. Since the beginning of 2023, the military court has received 13 criminal cases initiated under the article on unauthorized abandonment of a military unit. In 2022, the court considered only eight cases under this article, and in 2021, only two sentences were issued. The Dovod [Argument] media outlet draws attention to the fact that it is mobilized soldiers who are most often sentenced to actual imprisonment in a penal colony.

On Sakhalin, sergeant Aleksandr Pushankin has been sentenced to seven years in a maximum security penal colony and stripped of his rank for punching a commander in the face as he didn’t like the commander's order. The offense was classified as "assaulting a superior during mobilization or combat activities." The trial took place in a military unit in the presence of other servicemen.

The Prosecutor General's Office has demanded the blocking of the Pskovkaya Guberniya [Pskov Province] media outlet due to the publication of a complaint from mobilized soldiers of the 1009th Motorized Rifle Regiment. In the complaint, they reported significant losses in the Shebekino and Grayvoron areas. Roskomnadzor [Russia's internet censorship agency] promptly complied with the prosecutor's demand.

The Insider [independent Russian investigative media outlet] provided more detailed information on how and why the security forces of Kyrgyzstan started deporting Russians who were being persecuted under the "military censorship" laws, upon requests from Russia. According to local human rights activists, the country's authorities are trying to demonstrate their loyalty to Moscow in exchange for economic and political cooperation.

By the decision of the ethics committee, seven out of ten students at Saint Petersburg State University studying under Associate Professor Mikhail Belousov have been expelled. Belousov had previously been dismissed for criticizing the war with Ukraine after facing persecution from “pro-war channels.”

The Pervy Otdel [First Department] human rights project published details of the story of Anatoly Berezikov, an anti-war activist who died on Jun. 14 in the pre-trial detention center of Rostov-on-Don. We talked about this case in the previous summary. Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] also prepared its own material about Berezikov.


In Tomsk, the parents of a mobilized serviceman killed in February 2023 as a result of a quadcopter attack named a drone after their son and sent it to his fellow soldiers.


Servicemen of Rosgvardia [the National Guard of Russia] held a "military-patriotic" lesson in a summer camp in the Kursk region for children from 7 to 15 years old. Children were taught to use various types of weapons, to shoot an airsoft pistol and to provide first aid.

Volunteers from North Ossetia [Russia’s constituent republic] announced the collection of old school backpacks to be sent to Russian servicemen in hospitals. Previously, similar announcements were made in Buryatia and the Novosibirsk region.

The Presidential Grants Fund allocated about 3 million rubles [$ 36,000] to train local young people to defend the Belgorod region. Each participant of the project "will receive the skills of emergency rescue work during combat activities." In total, according to the results of the Fund's competition, almost 30 million rubles [$ 360,000] will be spent on military projects.


In Ulan-Ude, a propaganda exhibition dedicated to the "special military operation" is being held. Among the exhibits are atlases allegedly containing "distorted history," photographs of AFU soldiers and personal belongings of Russian servicemen.

Journalist Nina Safronova from the Novaya Vkladka [New Tab] independent Russian media outlet examined the photo exhibition titled "Victory of Love," created by former children's ombudswoman and current Deputy Chairperson of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] Anna Kuznetsova. The organizers claim to have used correspondence between war participants and their families for the exhibition stands. However, the journalist found the individuals mentioned on the stands and discovered that at least some of the materials in the exhibition are falsified, and the romantic photos were taken from music videos.

Journalists from the Vyorstka media outlet have examined the statistics on emigration to neighboring European countries. It turns out that in the first year of the war, 11,863 people moved from Russia to Finland, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, and Norway. This is nearly twice the average figure of the past 10 years.

Employees of the cultural sector in the Belgorod region were offered to join the Cobra-2 reserve battalion. Agitation letters from the Department of Culture were received by all state, municipal, public, and budgetary institutions.

The mayor of Novocheboksarsk in Chuvashia [Russia’s constituent Republic], Dmitry Pulatov, stated that bomb shelters are not needed in the city since residents will be systematically evacuated to designated evacuation points in case of danger. Meanwhile, the administration of the city of Volzhsky in the Volgograd region is constructing shelters in basements. Presently many of these do not meet sanitary, fire safety, and other standards.