mobilization briefs
June 30, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Jun. 28-29, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Prigozhin’s Armed Rebellion: Consequences

The Faridaily online media outlet released an article about how the Russian establishment reacted to Prigozhin's rebellion. Most government officials and bureaucrats were surprised by Prigozhin's march to Rostov. Upon learning that advanced groups of the mercenaries were moving towards Moscow, some members of the elite decided to leave the city. In one of the restricted access facilities, employees with military experience were armed. The article also says that the elite were disappointed by how Putin and law enforcement agencies reacted to the rebellion.

The Vot Tak [Like This] media outlet interviewed several Russian servicemen. A draftee assigned to a brigade deployed in the Luhansk direction said that during the rebellion, the servicemen were ordered to record a video message saying that they "support the president, and do not support the mutiny." A serviceman of the 103rd Regiment reported that the personnel, including conscripts, were ready to defend themselves.

The Wagner Center in Novosibirsk continues to operate. According to the secretary of the office, contracts are concluded with the Wagner Group, not the Ministry of Defense. Meanwhile, in Yekaterinburg, advertisements for the mercenaries disappeared from the Ploshchad 1905 Goda metro station; they were replaced by an advertisement for a contract service within Russia's Armed Forces.

Authorities and Legislation

Chairman of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] Defense Committee Andrey Kartapolov, together with his co-authors, has introduced a bill that exempts special services and the Ministry of Defense from the public procurement procedure. In effect, this will free the security agencies from any public oversight.

Starting from Sept. 1, 2024, Russian schools will replace the subject "Fundamentals of Life Safety" with the subject "Fundamentals of Security and Defense of the Motherland," according to the Ministry of Education. Chairperson of the State Duma Committee on Education Olga Kazakova also announced that it was planned to involve teachers who had experience in war in developing the course content. Girls as well as boys will study the new subject.

The Ministry of Defense, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, has developed an extracurricular course on basic military training, where high school students would acquire knowledge equivalent to a motorized infantry serviceman. The program will include tactical, firearms, engineering, and combat medic training, as well as familiarization with military equipment. The Ministry of Defense states that the course has been designed taking into account the experience of the war with Ukraine and is intended to span five days.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] found out that the police and military commissars have resumed raids on conscripts in Moscow and other regions of Russia—with the situation being especially tense in Moscow due to the facial recognition system operating in the city. Previously, Mediazona had published advice for men of the conscription age from human rights activists.

Graduates of Crimean universities are being summoned to the management of educational institutions for the mandatory receipt of draft notices before the issuance of diplomas. According to a local activist, upon arrival at a military commissariat [enlistment office] they are coerced into signing contracts with the Ministry of Defense.

At the Kazan Compressor-Building Plant, there was a meeting with a military commissar who encouraged the men to leave their jobs and go to war as contract servicemen, because, according to him, if the attempt to fill the army with contract soldiers fails, the workers might be drafted "forcefully, through mobilization."

Governor of the Vladimir region Aleksandr Avdeyev signed a decree on the expansion of support measures for the families of participants in the war with Ukraine. These will now apply to conscripts who have signed contracts, as well as mobilized, contract servicemen and members of "volunteer units." Meanwhile, another group of 105 volunteer fighters left the Vladimir region—they are said to have signed contracts over the past 10 days. According to Zebra TV [pro-Russian media outlet of the Vladimir region] estimates, at least 400 people have left the region for the war since mid-April.

The government of the Voronezh region has reported the first mass dispatch of women medics who have signed contracts with the Russian Ministry of Defense for training in preparation for the war in Ukraine. Servicemen from the Lipetsk Peshkov Rocket Artillery Battalion are also undergoing training. Dmitry Khubezov, a member of the State Duma, has submitted documents to the military commissariat for deployment to the war.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The list of mobilized soldiers who were killed in the war in Ukraine has been supplemented by Andrey Korbut and Sergey Kupriyanov from the Volgograd region, Dmitry Yeryomin from the Astrakhan region, Sergey Rozhkovsky and Buda-Tsyren Nimayev from the Russia’s constituent republic of Buryatia, Aleksey Belyayev from the Saratov region, Artyom Pakhtusov from the Arkhangelsk region, Vyacheslav Boytsov from the Vologda region, Vyacheslav Nosov from the Voronezh region, Ruslan Antonov from the Chukotka autonomous region [Russia’s constituent entity], and Denis Borzionov from the Krasnoyarsk region.

On Jun. 28, fighters of the Storm unit recorded a video address, where they  declared they refused to follow their commanders’ orders because they had been held at the frontline for three months without salaries and were to be sent again to the "meat grinder." The servicemen also stated they were going to turn themselves in to the military police, so if any of them would die in future, that would mean that they were killed in the rear by their own side. According to the servicemen, the video was shot at the same location where a Federal Security Service (FSB) colonel was previously threatening the mobilized (this is supported by comparing the two videos). On Jun. 29, this same group of servicemen recorded another address, in which they repeated their claims, as stated previously, and added that the group of 40 men who stayed alive (while the original number was 150) had been disarmed and brought to an abandoned house where they were staying at that moment. This time the servicemen stated that they were not refusing to fight but demanded salaries for the three months and documents to certify their participation in the war.

Later on, the Sota media outlet published another video featuring Storm unit’s fighters at the frontline. The servicemen said that they had suffered losses and were running out of ammunition but their commanders were anyway sending them back to the positions under the threat of "zeroing out" [execution].

According to Sota’s source in the Ministry of Defense, disciplinary battalions are involved in fighting, made up of penalized conscripts—those who committed a crime against military service or who were sent there by a military court decision as an alternative to prison. According to the source, there currently are about 500 conscripts in total among around a thousand of all disciplinary battalion servicemen.

Families of mobilized soldiers of the 247th Air Assault Regiment, who previously recorded an address to authorities regarding the fate of their relatives, have reacted to a comment by the Governor of the Stavropol region, in which he called on the women to keep calm and "not let the CIPsO [Center for Information/Psychological Operations, an alleged unit within the Armed Forces of Ukraine that Russian propaganda tends to blame for any dissent in the media field] scum exploit the situation." In the comment section, the women have expressed their extreme annoyance with the governor’s words.

The family of a Krasnodar region draftee currently at the Zaporizhzhia axis complain that he is being deployed to the frontline and that authorities are threatening to charge him with desertion, are preventing him from signing a contract with the unit where he wants to serve, and in his 10 months of service are yet to grant him a leave.

Yegor, a 34-year-old communications specialist, is being deployed as part of his unit to the front near Bakhmut. According to his father, Yegor only shot a weapon twice at the training ground and did not receive any instruction in assault operations. The soldiers of his unit lack body armor, do not have means to confront armored vehicles, and received only 90 rounds of ammunition each at deployment time.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings, and Incidents

For the month of June, 2023, the Vladimir Garrison Military Court received 13 criminal cases brought under the penal code article on going AWOL from a military unit, the highest number since the start of the war. In comparison, the court only considered 8 criminal cases under this article during the entire 2022.

The Krasnoyarsk Garrison Military Court sentenced Private Vladimir Kopytov, a contract service member accused of desertion during mobilization and theft of a mobile phone, to six years in a maximum security penal colony.

Mobilized soldier Andrey Divisenko was given a nine-year sentence for leaving his military unit without permission. He fled twice from his unit and one time from the hospital to look after his wife who had recently undergone surgery.

Mobilized air traffic controller from the Magadan region Andrey K. was sentenced to two years and ten months in a penal colony for having failed to comply with an order. K. refused to go to Ukraine twice, citing his religious beliefs. During the trial, the court noted that no legal provision existed for alternative civilian service during mobilization and found the serviceman guilty.

The Military Investigative Committee for the Irkutsk Garrison is conducting an investigation into the death of mobilized troop Viktor Petrov. The serviceman was found dead on May 9 in a camp near Luhansk. The command told his mother that the man had hanged himself, however, the woman believes that her son was killed.

The number of detainees charged with treason in 2023 has already doubled over the previous year. In the first six months of 2023, criminal cases of treason were initiated against at least 43 individuals. There were only half as many of them in the whole year of 2022, the Vyorstka media outlet calculated. Most of these cases are related to the war in Ukraine.


The government of the Zabaykalsky region has introduced a lump sum payment of 4,000 rubles ($46) for families of the mobilized soldiers for the purchase of a yearly supply of solid fuel. With this money you can buy a metric ton of coal. The residents of the village of Krasny Chikoy in the Zabaykalsky region weave camouflage nets, prepare dry borscht [sour soup typical for Ukrainian and Russian cuisine] and monastic ointments, and local children write letters to the soldiers on the front lines.

Another shipment sent to the frontline from Crimea included water tanks, backpack fire extinguishers and gas tanks. Parcels including items requested by the soldiers were shipped from the Plesetsk district of the Arkhangelsk region, while local residents and entrepreneurs from Khanty-Mansiysk raised money to buy seven cars and send them to the soldiers in Ukraine. Residents of North Ossetia [Russia’s constituent republic] donated food, pies, and essentials. The aid donation center in Nizhnekamsk collected clothes, shoes and equipment for 230 soldiers within a month.


The Ne Norma [Not a norm] Telegram channel drew attention to the video published by Aleksandr Shchennikov, who is the head of the School of Little Patriots in Rostov-on-Don. The video shows a boy, dressed in a T-shirt with a portrait of Putin on it, reciting a verse composed of propaganda clichés and threats.


At a meeting of the Saratov regional parliament, a proposal was made to create a football club for people with amputated limbs. And in Chita, a bronze sculpture of a war participant with a girl in his arms will be installed.

Sibir.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet has prepared an article about the burials of Russian soldiers who were killed in the war with Ukraine in the Zabaykalsky region. Journalists found out that the soldiers are not allocated a special section at the cemetery.

Vazhnyye Istorii [iStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet] has learned that the Russian Special Forces University in Gudermes [a town in the Chechen Republic], which is one of the main recruitment facilities for soldiers, is sponsored by Chechen oligarch and Ramzan Kadyrov’s fellow villager Movsadi Alviyev.

Staff at a hospital in the Belgorod region told the Insider [independent Russian investigative media outlet] that they receive medications not from the authorities but from volunteers. Moreover, the hospital is experiencing a severe shortage of anesthesia drugs and sedatives.