mobilization briefs
July 1, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Jun. 29-30, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Prigozhin’s Armed Rebellion: Consequences

BBC contacted more than a dozen Wagner Group centers, where they were told that recruitment of mercenaries for the war in Ukraine was still ongoing. Employees confirmed that contracts were still being signed with the Wagner Group rather than with the Ministry of Defense. However, Chairman of the Defense Committee of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] Andrey Kartapolov claims that Wagner Group mercenaries will no longer be sent to the war. According to him, the opportunity to undergo training at the group's training camps will remain, but afterwards, it will be necessary to sign a contract with the Ministry of Defense or another force structure. In Cheboksary, Wagner Group advertisements continue to be displayed in public transport, while in the Murmansk region, the Wagner Group banners have been replaced with advertisements for contract service.

An opinion poll conducted by Levada Center [Russian independent, non-governmental polling and sociological research organization] from Jun. 22 to 28 indicates that Yevgeny Prigozhin’s [owner of the Wagner Group] approval rating has decreased by at least half, but still remains relatively high. If 58% of respondents supported him two days before the rebellion, now it is 29%. Only 10% of respondents said they would vote for Prigozhin if he ran for president in 2024 compared to 19% before the rebellion. Putin's approval rating has returned to 82% from 79%, matching the pre-rebellion level. However, Meduza reports a decrease in Putin's rating by 9-14%.

Governor of the Rostov region Vasily Golubev believes that locals who supported the Wagner Group were actually mercenaries disguised as civilians. Governor of the Pskov region Mikhail Vedernikov also commented on the rebellion. In his opinion, Russian society and the Pskov region have rallied around the president. Moreover, Vedernikov announced the creation of a local militia unit that will consist of volunteers regardless of their age.

Authorities and Legislation

Russia’s Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin signed a decree increasing monetary allowances for servicemen and some federal public officials by 10.5 percent as of Oct. 1. The Faridaily Telegram channel explains that this increase is not related to Prigozhin's rebellion because this indexation was budgeted for last year.

The Ministry of Education and Science of Russia has issued a recommendation to universities to award up to 10 extra points to applicants who participated in the war in Ukraine as volunteer fighters or served in the military under contract, conscription, or mobilization. Students with the status of combat veterans are also entitled to a government scholarship for the entire duration of their studies. Kurgan State University has already responded to the Ministry of Education and Science's recommendations and promised to implement them.

Military personnel regularly complain that their command does not grant them leave for 7 to 9 months. Member of the State Duma Maksim Ivanov suggested that participants in the war with Ukraine should run for elections in order to get leaves. According to him, once registered as a candidate, the soldier will be sent home for the entire duration of the electoral campaign.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

Residents of the city of Novocheboksarsk received advertisements offering them an opportunity to sign contracts in Moscow, promising better contract conditions than what the authorities in Chuvashia [Russia’s constituent republic] can offer. The Ministry of Defense is also offering contract signings at the Multifunctional Public Services Centers in Tyumen.

BBC News Russian reports that the Prosecutor’s Office in the Kostanay region of Kazakhstan has recorded attempts to recruit local residents for the war with Ukraine by the Russian side. According to the Criminal Code of Kazakhstan, engaging in mercenary activities carries a penalty of 10 years in prison.

In Moscow, a 24-year-old student, Pankrat P., from the Moscow Aviation Institute was conscripted into the army in a single day despite having an existing draft deferment and an unhealed wound from surgery. The arguments presented at the military commissariat [enlistment office], including the draft deferment and health conditions, as well as requests for a follow-up medical examination, were disregarded. The lawyers accompanying the young man were kept out of him. The student’s family has turned to the police and the prosecutor’s office to challenge the decision of the draft board.

Despite the fact that the new version of the Russian Law on Military Service allows for remote removal from military registration, some citizens face refusals at enlistment offices. The option to deregister through the Gosuslugi public services portal is also unavailable: after submitting an application, Russians are asked to wait for an invitation to visit the enlistment office personally. Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] spoke with human rights lawyers about how to complete removal from military registration remotely and what to do in case of refusal.

Employees at an oil and gas company in the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region—Yugra [Russia's federal subject] were asked to provide their military IDs to prepare draft deferral certificates "in the event of mobilization." This is the first time the company has decided to collect military ID data.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

Aleksey Pestov from the Irkutsk region, Vladimir Savchenko from the Oryol region, Sergey Anfimov from the Volgograd region, Dmitry Medynin from the Kemerovo region, and Sergey Kondratenko from the Rostov region were added to the list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war.

Mediazona and BBC News Russian, together with volunteers, have been able to confirm the deaths of 26,801 people in the war in Ukraine, based on open sources. This includes 2,674 men who were mobilized. Over the past week, the list of the killed has grown by 680 names, including 156 mobilized soldiers.

The Pepel [Ash] Telegram channel managed to identify 10 members of service killed in the early June attacks in the Belgorod region via obituaries released on social media. According to the obituaries, the soldiers were killed while serving in the "special military operation" area. Considering the recent acknowledgement of the death of 14 residents of the Pskov region made by the governor, the total number of casualties sustained by Russia in these attacks may be as high as 24.

The Vyorstka media outlet revealed a video appeal recorded by the Storm Z unit which consists of ex-convicts. In the video, the soldiers deny allegations of being poorly supplied with food and munitions. Vyorstka identified the man speaking in the video as Rustam Guryev from the Arkhangelsk region, known by the call sign "Burya" [Storm]. In 2019 Guryev was sentenced to 15 years in a maximum security penal colony: he had been targeting elderly and disabled individuals, plying them with alcohol and coaxing them into selling or donating their apartments to him and his accomplices. As many as 22 vulnerable people became victims of his gang.

Members of the 72nd Brigade of the Storm unit recorded a video appeal in the basement where they are being kept by the command. According to the fighters, 25 men were placed in the basement after having been treated in the hospital, only to be sent back to the frontline soon. Moreover, they are no longer provided with any medical assistance, they are taken to the toilet once every two days, and they have to take turns sleeping in unsanitary conditions.

Approximately 100 Russian draftees, who were sent to the frontline in the area of Soledar after being sold to the Volki [Wolves] Air Assault Brigade, are still there and asking their relatives to get them out. One of them, in a conversation with a family member, reported that the mercenaries of the Volki unit are not evacuating killed draftees. Another mobilized man who has been wounded and is being treated at the hospital, said that draftees have been sold to Volki for 25,000 rubles [$280] per person and that they are still listed in the Rostov region and not at the frontline.

The wives of the mobilized men from the 1452nd Regiment shared that on Jun. 19 their husbands were sent to the defensive lines without equipment for evacuation, proper ammunition, and any artillery or reconnaissance support. As a result, the soldiers came under heavy artillery fire. What is left of the battalion is a little less than a company.

Volunteer fighters from the Perm region have complained about the lack of uniform and equipment. Also, many of them still have not received the due payments. Meanwhile, the Perm region’s Commissioner for Human Rights Igor Sapko has reported that three servicemen from the region were in Ukrainian captivity, 21 missing in action, and 10 already returned from captivity.

The Movement for Independent Chuvashia has published avideo address of a mobilized soldier who surrendered. It shows Anton Dolgopolov, a mobilized soldier of Chuvash origin from Samara, saying that he surrendered voluntarily and is now "ready to participate in the liberation of Chuvashia." The journalists managed to verify Dolgopolov’s identity on social media and make inquiries—he was really drafted from Samara and, according to his service mates, surrendered himself.

Cemetery areas were allocated in Rostov to bury participants of the "special military operation." A document adopted by the city authorities establishes a unified architectural and landscape solution and unified grave design.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings, and Incidents

Four fighters from the Storm and Storm Z units have been detained on suspicion of murdering a married couple in the Zaporizhzhia region, which occurred on Jun. 14. Two cars, a truck, $30,000, and jewelry were stolen from the victims. One of the detainees, Khadzhimurat U., confessed to the murder and showed investigators where he had hidden the murder weapon. A criminal case has been initiated on charges of "murder."

The Barnaul Garrison Military Court sentenced a draftee to five years in a penal colony for going AWOL during the mobilization period.

The Vladimir Garrison Military Court dismissed the lawsuit of Vitaly Veselov, a local mobilized soldier, who challenged the commander's refusal to grant him an alternative military service based on his religious beliefs. The court deemed that Veselov did not provide "documents regarding his pacifist, antimilitarist, or humanitarian convictions." Additionally, in the court's opinion, mobilized individuals do not have the right to alternative service.

The Kyakhta Garrison Military Court terminated the administrative case of beatings against the mobilized soldier Aleksandr Batalov. On Apr. 11, due to "a sudden personal animosity," he slapped in the face his stepson, born in 2010.

Two mobilized servicemen were sent to a penal colony for 4 years and 6 months for inflicting severe injuries on a Tyumen resident. According to the materials of the case, the mobilized soldiers, being under the influence of alcohol, beat an unfamiliar man in a store.

The Central Military District Court in Yekaterinburg sentenced Aleksey Gashev, a resident of Perm, accused of setting fire to a military commissariat to 10 years in a maximum security penal colony. According to investigators, on Jun. 24, 2022, Gashev, together with Mikhail Sokolov, threw several Molotov cocktails through the window of a military commissariat in the Kirovsky district of Perm. Sokolov had previously received 11 years of imprisonment.


Head of Buryatia [Russia’s constituent republic] Alexey Tsydenov reported on a new assistance package for Russian servicemen which included electronic warfare equipment. In addition, according to Tsydenov, the republic will train military men who returned from the war as drivers of large-capacity trucks.


In the Topolyok kindergarten in the village of Aleksandrovka, Saratov region, educators have created a "special military operation corner"—instead of children’s books characters Cheburashka and Kolobok, they hung posters supporting the war and displayed portraits of its participants.


Vazhnyye Istorii [iStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet] published an article on the negative impact of record low unemployment in Russia.

The 7x7 online outlet spoke with an IT specialist, Adam Kalinin, who moved to live in the forest after the announcement of mobilization and started running a Telegram channel from day one.

The Sever.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet visited the village of Kuratovo in Russia’s constituent Republic of Komi and spoke with local residents. Two memorial plaques on the village school are all that remains of a father and son, killed 20 years apart in wars that Russia waged in Chechnya and Ukraine.

The Insider [independent Russian investigative media outlet] published an article "Why Russian Corruption is not an Obstacle to War but Rather its Cause" analyzing why Russian corruption is one of the causes of the war in Ukraine. Numerous studies confirm that it is corruption that often breeds wars.