mobilization briefs
June 23, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for June 21-22, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

In a meeting with Vladimir Putin, and the permanent members of the Security Council, the Minister of Defense, Sergei Shoigu, reported that the armed forces do not need new "volunteer fighters,'' as 114,000 contract soldiers and 52,000 "volunteer fighters" had already been recruited (the minister did not specify the start date of this tally), with 1,336 people signing contracts with the Ministry of Defense every day. Additionally, the minister affirmed that an army reserve is set to be formed by the end of June, followed by an army corps, with both slated to receive more than 3,700 military vehicles. It is interesting to note that, according to Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Security Council Dmitry Medvedev, between Jan. 1 and May 19, 2023, the armed forces enlisted over 117,000 contract soldiersas part of "volunteer" units. Similarly, on Jun. 13, President Putin announced that 150,000 contract soldiers and 6,000 volunteer fighters had been recruited since the beginning of 2023. It is not readily apparent how these statements relate to each other.

Data about operating expenses has vanished from the federal Electronic Budget portal, where the Ministry of Finance regularly publishes current information about the Russian budget. Ordinarily, the ministry discloses the structure of budget expenditures, showing how much money is allocated to various sectors, such as social security, national defense, and so on. Journalists, by juxtaposing operational data with total spending, previously could evaluate undisclosed budget expenditures (funds directed to unknown final recipients). In May, secret expenditures surpassed 3 trillion rubles, constituting the largest chunk of the government’s budget. Russian authorities began hiding economic statistics following the start of the invasion and ensuing sanctions.

The State Council of Russia’s constituent Republic of Tatarstan has prepared draft amendments to the republican law "On providing residential premises to orphaned children and children deprived of parental care." According to the document, orphans who participated in the war would now be prioritized in getting an apartment in Tatarstan from the state. A similar decision has also been made in the Omsk region.

The Public Chamber of the Vladimir region has approved the regional bill "On social educators" who shall provide "patriotic education" and counseling to "incorrect" and “troubled” adolescents on a voluntary basis. The publication does not clarify what kind of adolescents is considered "incorrect."

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

The Ministry of Defense has reported that contracts were signed with the commanders of four more "volunteer units." The Ministry has not specified these units. As claimed by the Ministry, the contracts were signed by 20 units in total.

Authorities of the Vladimir region have reported sending one more group of 50 contracted soldiers to the war with Ukraine, including a citizen of Tajikistan. The Governor of the region, Aleksandr Avdeyev, previously mentioned a foreigner being recruited to participate in the war.

According to the press service of the Kursk Mayor's Office, more than 600 soldiers are being trained to protect the city as part of the voluntary people's guard. After training, these volunteer fighters will help law enforcement agencies to ensure law and order in the city.

On Jun. 14, Pavel Azarkevich, a student of the Russian Technological University [RTU MIREA] in Moscow, was taken from a draft office to a collecting point. This happened after he arrived at the draft office in response to a draft notice for updating his data. He is officially on postgraduate leave and is still considered a student until August when he starts his doctoral program. He was forced to sign the draft notice under threat of criminal charges. According to Azarkevich, the medical commission deemed him fit for service without any medical examination, and the draft office did not accept his deferral. The military commissar claimed that the decision of the draft board cannot be challenged in court, but Azarkevich's parents have nevertheless reported the case to the prosecutor's office. According to the student's mother, not only her son was conscripted but also several other students.

Dmitry Borisov, Military Commissar of Novokuybyshevsk in the Samara region, announced his intention to go to war with Ukraine. On the same day, he was admitted to the United Russia party [Putin’s ruling party] through remote means. A new military commissar will be appointed in the near future.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The lists of mobilized soldiers killed in the war have been joined by Andrey Anufriev from the Pskov region, Ruslan Lyadov from the Perm region, Nikolay Miroshnichenko from the Rostov region, and Yevgeny Kavalerchik from the Omsk region.

According to Anastasia Kashevarova, a Russian propagandist, former prisoners recruited by the Ministry of Defense into the Storm Z units are not entitled to benefits under the presidential decree on additional social guarantees for servicemen. Despite the possibility of signing a special contract directly with the Ministry of Defense (rather than through a special "volunteer unit"), issues with payments, status, and support for their families remain unresolved.

The death of mobilized Viktor Petrov in a tent camp near Luhansk has been revealed. The incident occurred in early May. The command claims he took his own life, but his mother believes he was killed. According to her, shortly before his death, Viktor was hospitalized with rib fractures due to beatings by military police officers. A day before his death, he spoke to his mother, asking her to send him equipment and sharing his plans for the future.

Women from 11 Russian regions are gathering signatures to bring their mobilized husbands back home. Since the mobilization, their loved ones have not been granted leave even once. Previously, the women appealed to authorities requesting rotation for the mobilized individuals, but they received only dismissive responses. In their latest appeal, they are calling for contracts to be signed with the mobilized individuals, specific terms of service, and the provision of leaves.

A resident of the Novosibirsk region, who previously worked at a defense enterprise, has been mobilized without having his draft deferral processed in time. In March, he sustained a severe injury and was transported to a Ministry of Defense hospital in Moscow. Despite having shrapnel near his heart, he was assigned a fitness category "A," overturning the previous decision that categorized him as "G." Furthermore, the fact that he had initially been categorized as "B" before his departure to the war zone, was ignored as well. Now, there are plans to send him back to the front, with no compensation for his injury, while demanding numerous certificates.

A volunteer from Tyumen, who was diagnosed with cancer, returned home after completing a short-term contract. Initially, he was declared a fugitive since contracts became indefinite after the mobilization began. Currently, he is being held in a military unit, only allowed to leave for essential shopping. Meanwhile, he urgently requires surgery and needs to take care of his disabled spouse and their son. The promised compensation for his service remains undelivered.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings, and Incidents

In a case of fraud on a large scale related to the mishandling of fuel intended for military units, the Novosibirsk Garrison Military Court has handed down suspended sentences and fines to the accused military personnel.

Andrey Tishchevsky, a serviceman of the 3rd Spetsnaz [Special Purpose] Brigade stationed in Tolyatti, refused to participate in the corrupt schemes of his superiors back in 2018. According to his spouse, he became the target of persecution by colleagues and superiors after that. When the full-scale invasion of Ukraine began, they attempted to send him to the war, and when he refused, a criminal case was opened against him for failure to execute orders. Tishchevsky's wife shared his story in detail with journalists from Novaya Gazeta Europa [independent Russian newspaper].

In Omsk, a court sentenced a private to seven years of probation for going AWOL because he did not return to the military unit after sick leave on Dec. 10. On Jan. 18, 2023, he finally returned to the unit, but disappeared again two weeks later, going to Omsk. On Mar. 16, the private returned once again, but by that time, a criminal case had been initiated against him.

Kirill Barannik, a suspect in the railway sabotage in Crimea, claimed that the Federal Security Service (FSB) officers beat him, tortured him with electric shocks, and threatened to kill his mother during interrogations. The man was arrested on May 30 in Simferopol on suspicion of detonating railway tracks near the village of Poshtove in the Bakhchysarai district on Feb. 23.

In Rostov-on-Don, security forces conducted searches at the lawyer Irina Gak's and public defender Tatiana Sporysheva's premises. They represented the interests of deceased activist Anatoly Berezikov, who was held in a special detention facility. Sporysheva reported that the security forces presented her with a resolution on conducting operational and investigative activities under an article related to incitement to extremism.

The court has ruled the same day conscription of the pro-government activist Daniil Myatin illegal. However, he remains conscripted as the court decision has not yet come into effect.

Nadezhda Nizovkina, a human rights activist from Buryatia [Russia’s constituent republic], was detained for failing to pay an administrative fine of 45,000 rubles [$556] for discrediting the Russian Armed Forces. Apart from helping the mobilized soldiers, Nadezhda supports political prisoner Natalya Filonova. A criminal case was opened against her in May for refusing to testify against Filonova. In the meantime, the court extended Filonova’s arrest, who is suspected of attacking four police officers during a rally against mobilization. Filonova, who is retired, has been in prison since November 2022. Her adopted son was sent to an orphanage.


Mobilized soldiers from Bashkiria [Russia’s constituent republic] are preparing to use horses in the war. The horses are needed to help the soldiers move "silently on the enemy’s territory and for transportation of essential supplies." The animals have already been moved to the war zone.


State Duma’s [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] member from the United Russia party Alexander Yanklovich has published a video on his Telegram channel showing a four-year-old boy allegedly asking to join the Armed Forces. A man on the video gives the child, dressed in a military uniform, a military ID and a chevron, then offers to say hello to the child’s dad, who is fighting in Ukraine.

Children in kindergarten No. 50 in the village of Novomyshastovskaya, Krasnodar region, were told about the invasion of the Soviet Union by Nazi Germany. The video lecture ended with footage of Russia invading Ukraine.


Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty examined the story of soldier Andrey Kravtsov, who had been awarded for the alleged destruction of a Leopard tank. It turned out that, on the night of Jun. 5-6 (according to other sources, on the night of Jun. 4-5), he was firing at Ukrainian armored vehicles but was hit himself, got injured, and his arm was amputated. At the same time, the first destruction of a Leopard was documented on Jun. 8 (earlier reports weren’t confirmed).

The Vyorstka media outlet analyzeddatabases of all garrison military courts and found at least 120 lawsuits filed by military personnel against hospital management and military medical evaluation boards. Mobilized and contractor soldiers try to obtain certificates of war injuries in order not to return to the frontline, but their requests are often declined. Of all examined claims, the court only once sided with the soldier.

Prosecutor's offices in the Rostov, Kursk, Bryansk, Belgorod, and Voronezh regions started purchasing armor vests, helmets, and other personal protective equipment. The numbers of purchased kits—from 13 to 26 pieces—suggest that they are intended for the senior leadership of the prosecutor's offices.