mobilization briefs
June 5, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for June 2-4, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary 

Authorities and Legislation

The Russian Ministry of Defense has proposed enrolling citizens in the military service register without requiring them to report to a draft office. According to the published draft resolution, enrollment in, and removal from, the military service register, as well as changes to military registration documents, can now be done without citizens physically visiting draft offices, using data from government information systems. Police officers and designated personnel at places of study or work, now vested with additional powers, will assist draft offices in the enrollment process. Citizens will be notified of any changes via the Gosuslugi public services portal.

Lawyers specializing in military law have warned that notwithstanding the draft resolution’s provision that allows for the removal from the military service register without needing to visit a draft office, including by filling a form on the Gosuslugi portal, draft offices may still issue a summons to confirm the grounds on which the removal from the military service register was approved. Furthermore, changes were also made to the rules regulating the initial enrollment in the military service register. Teenagers will now be registered straight after finishing school. Additionally, legal experts also warn that restrictions on rights imposed following a failure to comply with a draft notice can only be lifted on the basis of compelling justifications. Requests must be submitted not later than the date of attendance indicated in the draft notice.

State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] member Andrey Svintsov announced creation of the "sovereign" internet — "secure" internet accessed via unique codes, that users can obtain with their passports. At the same time, the unprotected internet will also remain available, but "users themselves will be responsible for their personal data" in it.

The ex-head of the Moscow Air Defense Troops, Colonel Sergey Khatylyov, called for civilians to be involved in patrols on the rooftops to detect unmanned aerial vehicles. They should be trained by veterans of the armed forces, according to Khatylyov. The colonel recalls the times of World War II, when local residents and even children were on watch for incendiary bombs.

The Situation in the Belgorod Region

The authorities are relocating evacuated residents of the attacked Shebekino into student dormitories. Students of Belgorod State Technological University and Belgorod State University reported that on the night of June 2-3 they were ordered to leave their rooms, without much notice or time to gather belongings. The students were relocated to "rooms with cockroaches and without any facilities," and in response to protests they were offered complete eviction instead. The students recorded part of their conversation with the administration which suggests that at least 1,000 refugees are planned to be accommodated in dormitories.

After refugees from Shebekino moved into the dormitories, students of Belgorod State University complained about drunkenness, harassment towards women and inappropriate behavior from evacuated men. According to students, the dormitory security has withdrawn from performing its duties. Meanwhile, some students came up with an initiative to create vigilante groups. The university administration recorded a video, according to which the belongings of absent students were collected in garbage bags and placed in the basement or attic of the dormitory.

600 children from Grayvoron and Shebekino districts of the Belgorod region are being evacuated to Kaluga and Yaroslavl. According to a government representative, children are being sent for "recreational and health-improving purposes." It has also become known that parents were charged fees of 1,500 to 3,000 rubles [$20 to 40] per child to transport children from Shebekino to the Voronezh region. Two local women confirmed the fees to the Mozhem Obyasnit’ [We Can Explain] news outlet. Belgorod regional authorities also confirmed that they had collected fees for evacuating children but then stated that what took place was transportation to a "planned health-improving recreational activities," and promised to refund the money.

Volunteers from groups involved in collecting aid for soldiers, started collecting humanitarian aid for Shebekino evacuees. Alongside a standard selection of food staples, clothing, and personal care items, armored vehicles also made the list of requested essentials. The vehicles are likely necessary for evacuation of districts subjected to artillery fire. Journalists from Vazhnye Istorii [iStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet] spoke with one of the volunteers involved in evacuating people. According to him, there are not enough vehicles available for the evacuation even after "Territorial Defense Forces" have joined the effort. At the same time, the district is suffering outages of water supply, electricity, and mobile phone service. Emergency services are not operating. Nevertheless, many residents, especially those over 50, are refusing to leave.

Cases of looting have been recorded in Shebekino. According to Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet], one of the videos shows broken glass doors in a supermarket on Zheleznodorozhnaya street, and another one — the broken door of a secondhand store on Rzhevskoye highway, with empty cell-phone shelves inside the store. Governor of the Belgorod Region Vyacheslav Gladkov admitted that looting took place in Shebekino and said that he ordered the police to enhance street patrolling.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

The Ministry of Defense started recruiting convicts through Federal Penitentiary Service [FSIN] inspection centers, where convicts whose measure of restriction does not involve custody need to register. Meanwhile, contract-based army service is offered even to felony offenders (when freed from restraint, they also need to come to register at the center for some time). The information about such practices in at least two regions (Moscow and Krasnodar) was confirmed by the sources of the Agentstvo.Novosti [Agency news] Telegram channel. They noted that contracts started to be offered in early May — in April, such offers were not made yet. Earlier, the Sota media outlet reported that inspection center officers began recruiting those convicted for minor offenses with a promise of a pardon.

The authorities of the Leningrad region are attempting to send detainees violating migration laws to the frontline instead of deporting them. In at least one case, a Tajikistan resident was forced to sign a document, after which he and several other foreigners were taken to a military unit from where they are expected to be sent to war.

Kirill Guzov, head of the administration of the Dubensky district in the Moscow region, called on men to sign contracts. According to him, contract service is not only a manifestation of patriotism but also "an opportunity for men to find themselves in the challenging realities of today's life, to fully realize themselves as individuals, to be useful to society and the state, to settle their debts, and to provide for their families — in short, to get a ticket to a better life."

The Ostorozhno, Novosti [Beware the news] Telegram channel has published a compilation of advertisements for contract service on utility bills throughout Russia. The execution of these advertisements varies in each region — some of them simply suggest switching to the Gosuslugi public services portal, while in other regions, separate websites are created for contract service.

Contract service advertising was noticed in Voronezh and Moscow, while advertising for the Wagner Group appeared on billboards in Tomsk.

The Idite Lesom [Flee through the woods] project reports that a resident of the Moscow region has been handed a draft notice for "mobilization training." According to the man, he will be taken away for two months for military equipment repairs. After completing the training, he was promised a deferment from mobilization for three years.

The military commissariat [enlistment office] of the Krasnoselsky district in Saint Petersburg refused lawyer Danila Druzhinin's request to be removed from military registration based on a power of attorney. According to the officials at the military commissariat, removal from military registration is not a government service, and they do not provide it. Previously, the military commissariat of the Kalininsky district in the city also denied the lawyer's request for removal from military registration based on a power of attorney.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war was expanded by Kirill Boychevsky from Crimea, Ilya Tikhonov from the Perm region, Yevgeny Oparin and Viktor Plotnikov from Bashkortostan [Russia’s constituent republic], Igor Zuev from the Arkhangelsk region, and Aleksandr Karlov from the Kursk region.

Relatives of the 28 soldiers from the 1307th Regiment from the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region [Russia’s federal subject], who were bought out by the Veterany [Veterans] Separate Motorized Rifle Battalion, told the Astra Telegram channel that the soldiers have hardly been in contact since April. It is known of at least one killed and one missing person in the Bakhmut area.

A resident of Donetsk complained in a video appeal about the absence of a payment of 5 million rubles [$62,500] for her husband being killed in the war. The man was killed on Sep. 9, 2022. This is not an isolated case — overall the authorities of the "DPR" owe more than 38 billion rubles [$475,000] for the injuries or deaths of local residents in the war. Officials claim that no funding has been allocated since September 2022.

A 34-year-old participant in the war with Ukraine, Vadim Subbotin, disabled due to a heavy wound, strives to obtain the compensation promised by Vladimir Putin from the Volgograd officials. The wheelchair-bound man also complains about the lack of accessibility — he can only leave his home on weekends when his friends are not working and can help him descend. Vadim Subbotin affirms that the "rehabilitation situation in Volgograd is very unfortunate."

The Shot media outlet published a video of the [Russian] "Territorial Defense Forces" training in the Belgorod region. The video shows men training to storm buildings.

First Deputy Chairman of the Legislative Assembly of the Novosibirsk region Andrey Panfyorov and self-proclaimed commanding officer of the Vega volunteer battalion complained about the quality of Russian "import substitution." According to him, the Russian-made components of military equipment do not meet the standards.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings, and Incidents

The VChK-OGPU Telegram channel [the name refers to VCHK and OGPU — early Soviet intelligence and state security services] points out that the Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Garrison Military Court’s website states that 12 out of its last 13 sentences were issued on a charge of absence without official leave.

The Federal Security Service (FSB) has arrested a 26-year-old suspect in arson attacks on the draft office in Magnitogorsk and relay cabinets on the South Urals railway. According to the FSB, the man was going to take part in the war on Ukraine’s side. A criminal case has been initiated, charging him with sabotage and attempted terrorism. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.

On the night of Jun. 2, unknown persons set fire to an electrical cabinet on the Krasnoyarsk railway. The incident took place near the Uyar station. As a result, one cabinet has burned down, another shows signs of break-in.

Kateryna Kishchak, a resident of Crimea, has been arrested in Saint Petersburg. Her father is considered involved in planting bombs at transmission line towers in the Leningrad region. Her sister told that, at first, she was arrested when crossing the Russian-Georgian border and detained for 15 days for "petty hooliganism." On May 19, Kateryna told her father that she had been questioned about him and that she would be accused in his case if he didn’t come to Russia.


The Astra Telegram channel has told about a priest who supports the war in Ukraine and raises funds for the Sever [North] unit. It is claimed that the raised funds are spent on foodstuff and medical supplies. In the priest’s opinion, "The Lord has allowed the war to happen only to make man think about his life." Meanwhile, a temple on wheels has been dedicated in the Volgograd region. It will be sent to the front line to "spiritually support fighters."

The authorities of the town of Usolye in the Perm region introduced a number of benefits for the families of mobilized servicemen and military personnel.

Three members of the United Russia party [Putin’s ruling party] purchased new air conditioners to be installed in the Astrakhan military hospital after a complaint from its management that the storage of medicines in compliance with the required temperature regime cannot be provided.

In Nizhnevartovsk, a training base for basic military training for adults and teenagers is planned to be built with the help of special forces veterans.

A resident of the Kursk region tried to steal firewood that had been stockpiled for the participants of the "special military operation" as part of the rally announced by the authorities.


The government of the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region paid for the summer holidays of children from Makiivka ("DPR") in the Krasnodar region. A total of 420 children will go on the trip.

Last Monday on Jun. 1, the Golosa pobedy [Voices of Victory] concert was held at the Theater of the Russian Army dedicated to Children's Day. Children from refugee families and teenagers performing in front of soldiers in the frontline territories took part in the event. The youngest performer was 6 years old. Meanwhile, in Nizhnekamsk, mobilized servicemen’s families were invited to the festival dedicated to Children's Day.


In the town of Kamyshin, Volgograd region, a park was opened in honor of the participants in the war with Ukraine and a memorial plaque with the names of the KIAs.

In many villages of the Suzdal district [Vladimir region], residents are unable to access drinking water due to a lack of funds in the budget for communication repairs caused by the war.

Associate Professor Mikhail Belousov was dismissed from Saint Petersburg State University for criticizing the "special military operation." According to the rector, criticizing the actions of the authorities is "immoral and incompatible with the educational functions." The persecution of the professor was initiated by pro-war "patriotic" Telegram channels. An ethics committee was also held at the university, where Belousov's students were summoned and questioned about their stance on the war in Ukraine and the "Belousov sect."

Meduza [international Russian-language online media outlet] asked its readers who support Russia in the current war to explain their motivation. A journalist from the Vyorstka media outlet published a report from the Republic of Kalmykia [Russia’s constituent republic] describing how opposition-minded citizens coexist with those who fully support the official rhetoric of the Russian authorities.

Additionally, the journalists of the Vyorstka studied Poetry of the Russian Zummer [collection of pro-war poems] that was distributed to users of the Gosuslugi public services portal. They revealed the expressions in which poets glorify Vladimir Putin and the current policy of the Russian government. Furthermore, the journalists discovered that despite the hatred of everything Western and Ukraine, poets are using anglicisms.