mobilization briefs
June 12, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for June 9-11, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

According to Deputy Defense Minister Nikolay Pankov's statement, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu signed an order requiring all Russian "volunteer units" to sign contracts with the Ministry of Defense by Jul. 1. Moreover, all members of these formations can choose to sign direct contracts either with volunteer units, or the Defense Ministry. It is likely that the main goal of this initiative is for the Ministry to gain control over the Wagner Group — although the press release doesn't refer to any specific "volunteer units," the Ministry of Defense has repeatedly called mercenaries "assault units volunteer fighters" in the previous official messages. Yevgeny Prigozhin [Russian oligarch, confidant of Vladimir Putin, and the owner of the Wagner Group] commented on Shoigu's order and refused to sign any contracts with the Defense Ministry. Viktor Sobolev, member of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] Committee on Defense, who at some point called the Wagner Group an illegal armed group, which led to a conflict with the mercenaries, believes that Shoigu's order does not apply to the Wagner Group specifically, but rather to the named units and people who have been fighting in Donbas prior to the mercenaries' arrival.

The State Duma Committee on Defense supported in the first reading a bill allowing previously convicted citizens to enlist under a contract during mobilization, martial law, or wartime, and proposed to include it in the agenda of the State Duma session on Jun. 13.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising 

According to Russia’s Deputy Minister of Defense Nikolay Pankov, over the 10 first days of June more than 13,500 men have enrolled for contract service, which is 2.1 times more than in the same period in May, and 3.1 times more than in the same period in April 2023. It should be noted that Russia has ramped up its military recruitment efforts since Apr. 1, 2023. On the other hand, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev earlier announced that over 117,000 men had been recruited for contract service as of May 19, 2023. Yet, Andrey Kartapolov, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Defense, mentioned as many as 137,000 new recruits in his statement of Jun. 8. No explanation for inconsistency of these statements has been provided.

Governor of the Belgorod region Vyacheslav Gladkov, together with First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration Sergey Kiriyenko and Secretary General of the United Russia ruling party Andrey Turchak, visited the training ground in the Belgorod region and inspected combat cohesion drills performed by local civilian self-defense members. According to Gladkov, a high level of combat readiness of the fighters "allows them to carry out any assigned combat missions."

Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov posted a video featuring two new regiments formed in Chechnya and titled Akhmat-Russia and Akhmat-Chechnya. The regiments are reportedly aiming to deploy to Ukraine. Earlier, SK-SOS [North Caucasus SOS crisis group] explored the Chechen coercive military recruitment practices which involve blackmail, threats, forcible enlistment of those committing a repeated offense, etc. In addition, the region has more than doubled the salary for those signing up for contract service, raising it up to 700,000 rubles [$8400].

The contract service advertising is ongoing. The Voronezh State University of Forestry and Technologies is offering its students to sign a contract with the Ministry of Defense, attracting them with high salaries. Housing management companies in Pskov have started placing contract service ads in their utility bills, as was previously introduced in many other cities. A huge army service ad has been posted on the Rumyantsevo mall in Moscow. A contract service promotion tent was set up in Sosnovy Bor, Leningrad region. A mobile recruiting center for military contract service was spotted at the Nashe Vremya [Our Time] music festival in Ulyanovsk.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The list of casualties among mobilized soldiers has been updated to include Zalimkhan Kostoyev from the Irkutsk region, Aleksandr Arkhipov from the Volgograd region, Nikolay Kazakov from the Krasnoyarsk region, Ayrat Abdullin and Amir Gibadullin from Bashkortostan [Russia’s constituent republic], Vyacheslav Yurzanov from the Sakhalin region, Dmitry Yagodnikov from the Kursk region, Mikhail Petrov from the Orenburg region, Mikhail Konev from the Vologda region, Tolkın Busurmanov from the Omsk region, Aleksey Miretin from the Astrakhan region, and also Sergey Yermakov and Yevgeny Balabolin from the Kursk region. In addition, Stepan Mezin, a conscript from the Kirov region, has been reported killed "while performing special tasks of Russian border protection."

Another conscript who was killed in the Belgorod region was posthumously awarded the Order of Courage, according to his widow. The Order of Courage was also handed over to the families of four builders from Saint Petersburg who were killed in the combat zone. They were constructing a defensive line in the occupied part of the Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine.

Governor of the Pskov region Mikhail Vedernikov almost a week later verified reports of the death of Vladimir Kuznetsov, commander of the 1009th Motorized Rifle Regiment, and those mobilized from the Pskov region. He also confirmed the capture of some of them during the cross-border raid of saboteurs into the Belgorod region. According to the governor, "the numbers are quite small." At the same time, according to preliminary information from the Pskovkaya Guberniya [Pskov Province] media outlet, after the clash near Shebekino, at least 120 wounded from the Belgorod region arrived in Saint Petersburg. In addition, Governor Vedernikov announced the creation of defense assistance units in each municipality. He explained the need for the emergence of such formations by the fact that the Pskov region "should be ready for any developments."

About 70 conscripts located in the village of Mosrentgen in the Moscow region can be sent to the border with Ukraine, as was reported by the mother of one of the men. The conscripts served in the 96th Separate Reconnaissance Brigade in Nizhny Novgorod, where they didn’t have any training, however in early June they were transferred to Mosrentgen, where the 27th Motorized Rifle Brigade is stationed. After the transfer, the conscripts were taken care of by mobilized soldiers who started training the young men in shooting and providing medical assistance. Presumably, the group will be sent to the border with Ukraine on Jun. 13.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings, and Incidents

The Pskov Garrison Military Court has received the sixteenth case for going AWOL during the mobilization period. Serviceman Ilya Gavrilov faces up to seven years in prison for leaving his unit for more than a week.

Two teenagers Tyhran Ohanesian and Mykyta Khanganov from Russian-occupied Berdiansk were charged with attempted sabotage. Boys born in 2006 were detained back in September 2022. They were accused of planning the disruption of the railway. According to Ukrainian human rights activists, the teens were tortured by the security forces. Tyhran Ohanesian's parents were detained in Taganrog when they came to Russia to evacuate their son from the occupied Berdiansk.

On the night of Jun. 11, 15 rail cars derailed in the Alekseyevsky district of the Belgorod region, reported Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov. According to the official, there were no casualties, but the movement of suburban trains was halted. The cause of the incident is being investigated.

In the Kirovsky district of Crimea, train traffic was suspended on Jun. 11 due to damage to the railway track (some sources reported an explosion). Russian-appointed head of the region Sergey Aksyonov reported a few hours later that the traffic had resumed.

Artist Bogdan Ziza from Crimea, who was sentenced to 15 years in a penal colony is being transferred to solitary confinement. We wrote about him in one of our previous summaries. In June of this year, the artist was sentenced to 15 years in a penal colony on charges of threatening to commit a terrorist act and calls for terrorism because he splashed paint on the administration building of Yevpatoria.

On Jun. 4 in Kyrgyzstan, a Russian citizen Alena Krylova was detained for further extradition. In Russia, a criminal case has been opened against her under the article on "creating an extremist community," which provides for up to 10 years of imprisonment. This is already the third recent case of capturing political emigrants from Russia hiding in Bishkek. Whether Krylova was extradited is unknown. It is assumed that the cases of detentions and deportations from Kyrgyzstan of anti-war activists persecuted in Russia became possible due to the installation of Safe City CCTV cameras in the center of Bishkek, similar to those used in Moscow.


The authorities of Tuva [Russia’s constituent republic] have ceased allocating funds for the funerals of mercenaries killed in the war with Ukraine.

Almost 6 billion rubles [$72 million] will be spent from the budget of the Krasnoyarsk region on the "restoration" of Dovzhansk and the Sverdlovsk district in the occupied part of the Luhansk region, Ukraine. Meanwhile, the budget of the Krasnoyarsk region for 2023 has been approved with a deficit of over 59 billion rubles [$713 million]. According to sources of the Vyorstka media outlet, Tatarstan [Russia’s constituent republic] is planning to take over the patronage of the captured city of Bakhmut. The republic's budget will retain 35% of the revenue collected there (429.4 billion rubles [$5.2 billion]), which exceeds the share of funds which remained in Tatarstan last year.

Refugees from the Belgorod region have noticed that the authorities have excluded residents of the settlements Maslova Pristan, Rzhevka, Nezhegol, Grafovka, and Bezlyudovka from the list of eligibility for material assistance (amounting to 10,000 rubles [$121]). In response to complaints, the authorities quote the following message: "The list of settlements was approved by the Operational Headquarters of the Belgorod region." Additionally, forced to evacuate residents report en masse that they are unable to receive payments due to lack of registration. It is worth reminding that Governor Gladkov previously stated that there is not enough money for everyone.

Novosibirsk State Medical University launched an educational program for providing psychological assistance and early detection of post-traumatic stress disorder among servicemen taking part in the "special military operation."

Governor of the Irkutsk region Igor Kobzev said that local residents will take part in the "Russia — a country of heroes" public campaign. People will make "assault flags" bearing symbols of the USSR and Russia for Russian servicemen.

The administration of a district in Russia's constituent Republic of Buryatia asked the parents of schoolchildren to donate children's backpacks to wounded servicemen. In the Gornostay [Ermine] gymnasium in Novosibirsk, parents were also proposed to give the used backpacks of their schoolchildren to the participants of the "special military operation." In the Orenburg region, local residents sent a Niva and two UAZ cars to the combat zone. Also, camouflage nets and parcels were sent to the participants of the "special military operation."


In the village of Novoplatnirovskaya in the Krasnodar region, a memorial sign was opened at a Cossack kindergarten in honor of Roman Popov, a marine who was killed in action a month after the invasion began. In Mineralnye Vody, elementary school students wearing military uniforms took an oath and joined a local patriotic club.