mobilization briefs
June 21

Mobilization in Russia for June 18-20, 2024 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

Nina Ostanina, the head of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] Committee on Family Affairs, stated that law enforcement should start  supervising former convicts returning from the war. This statement follows the brutal murder of a 12-year-old schoolgirl in the Kemerovo region, committed by a Storm-Z unit fighter (see the "Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents" section below for more details). Ostanina wrote that returning convicts "were not socialized and represent a threat to society." Since more crimes like this can be expected, she suggested that law enforcement agencies should take on the responsibility for protecting citizens from these criminals and help them find work. Ostanina also called for a bill to be drafted to this effect as soon as possible. However, representatives of the State Duma Committee on Security consider additional regulation unnecessary. Committee member Andrey Alshevskikh indicated that "It is the responsibility of the government and society to ensure that people returning from the special military operation do not feel ostracized" and, therefore, "they must be provided with support as soon as they return."

Following a review of the 2024 federal budget amendments approved by the State Duma, the Mozhem Ob'yasnit [We Can Explain] Telegram channel uncovered an additional 18 billion rubles [$215 million] allocated for monthly payments to combat veterans. This brings the total for these expenditures to 120 billion rubles [$1 billion]. Journalists estimate that this budget would cover 540,000 individuals, indicating that 349,000 combat veterans "unexpectedly" registered during the year, in addition to the 191,000 the authorities had planned to have by the end of 2024.

The Korean Central News Agency published the text of a new military aid agreement between Russia and North Korea. Experts note that the language is almost identical to that of a previous mutual defense pact from 1961 between the Soviet Union and North Korea. Under the agreement, the two countries agreed that if one were attacked, the other would "immediately provide military and other assistance to the best of its ability."

Authorities and Relatives of Mobilized Soldiers

The Ministry of Justice explained why it declared Maria Andreeva, the wife of a mobilized soldier and a member of the Put Domoy [Way Home] movement, a "foreign agent." According to her lawyer Natalia Tikhonova, the ministry justified adding Andreeva to the registry because she was identified as the leader of Put Domoy on the web site of the "Russian ultra-patriotic public Antimaidan movement."

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

In Russia’s constituent Republic of Tatarstan, a new battalion named Batyr will be formed, consisting of 400 soldiers. While the battalion will primarily be composed of natives of Tatarstan, residents from other regions can also join if they wish. Recruitment for the unit began on June 15 and will continue until July 1. The battalion will serve as a support unit for the military police.

In Tatarstan, debtors are being actively encouraged to join the war effort with the promise of having their enforcement proceedings suspended. According to the chief bailiff of the republic, all enforcement actions can be paused except for those related to alimony and compensation for harm to life and health.

Aleksandr Yerutin, a resident of Chelyabinsk, was sentenced to 18 years in a penal colony for the murder of his stepdaughter in the summer of 2022. After serving less than a year, he left to join the war in Ukraine. In April 2024, Yerutin signed a contract with the Ministry of Defense. He served for one and a half months before being hospitalized with an injury.

The Rostov region police reported that during a week of raids, law enforcement officers handed out 62 draft notices to former migrants who had obtained Russian citizenship. Since the beginning of the year, over 300 naturalized citizens in the region have been registered for military service. On June 20, a raid was conducted in the Samara region, where a roundup at the Samara bus station identified 11 individuals subject to military registration. These men were taken to the military commissariat [enlistment office].

The Voyennye Advokaty [Military Lawyers] Telegram channel noted that in March, authorities approved the possibility of suspending criminal cases for suspects and defendants who are mobilized. ‚Äč‚ÄčIn April, a joint order was issued outlining the procedure for suspending criminal cases if the accused are mobilized.

The Govorit NeMoskva [NonMoscow Is Speaking] Telegram channel has analyzed the growth of payments for signing a contract with the MoD. According to their tally, over the past year, the size of payments for joining the war effort has increased in 59 out of 83 regions analyzed. Currently, the average sign-up bonus ranges from 200,000 rubles [$2,400] to 310,000 rubles [$3,700]. Some regions of Russia are offering 1 million rubles [$11,900] or more as a sign-up bonus for military service contracts, while others provide no sign-up bonus at all.

Mobilized Soldiers, Volunteer Fighters and Contract Soldiers

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Aleksandr Charushin, Pavel Sozinov and Roman Opalev from the Kirov region, Sergey Raev from Russia’s constituent Republic of Bashkortostan and Sergey Stepanov from Russia’s constituent Republic of Chuvashia.

Two more 18-year-olds have been killed in the war. Georgy Nadein, a cadet from Perm, who took academic leave and signed a contract with the MoD three days after his 18th birthday in February 2024, was killed three months later in June. Another young man, Vadim Maslov, a resident of the Vladimir region born in October 2005, was killed in May 2024.

A coalition of independent regional journalists has launched a petition addressed to Russia’s Minister of Defense Andrey Belousov, demanding to disclose Russia’s losses in the war with Ukraine and publish a list of names of those killed. It is worth noting that, based on open sources, Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] and BBC News Russian, together with volunteers, have recently verified the names of 56,452 Russian fighters killed in Ukraine.

Sergey Yegorov, a mobilized soldier from Russia's constituent republic of Sakha (Yakutia), became a widower when his wife passed away unexpectedly while he was home on leave. Despite this, he is being forcibly sent to the frontline and his daughter will be placed in an orphanage. Both Yegorov and his daughter unsuccessfully tried to resolve the issue in court.

After the wife of a mobilized soldier from the Stavropol region spoke out about his illegal deployment to the frontline, the serviceman went missing and is presumed to have been killed. The woman told the Astra Telegram channel that she lost contact with her husband on June 7. The following day, his superior officer informed her that he was killed during an assault. However, the officer claims he can only provide a certificate stating the husband is missing in action, not a death notification. Additionally, the commander refuses to evacuate his body.

41-year-old contract soldier Vladimir Krepp, despite the increased number of epileptic seizures after being wounded, will be sent back to the frontline. This case highlights another instance of commanders ignoring soldiers' medical conditions.

Olga Ditskaya, a 28-year-old resident of the "LPR" who has had a third-degree disability affecting her musculoskeletal system since childhood, is unable to obtain payments from the MoD for her father who was killed in the war.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

In the Kemerovo region, a suspect in the murder of a 12-year-old girl has been detained. Andrey Bykov, a fighter with the Storm unit who had prior criminal records, was released from Ukrainian captivity earlier this year. As noted by Vazhnyye Istorii [IStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet], ex-convicts are often prioritized for PoW exchange. On June 18, 49-year-old Bykov kidnapped and strangled the girl, then attempted to hide the body. The next day, the body was found in a well of an abandoned building, and shortly afterward, the murderer was detained. Bykov had been convicted at least 11 times previously. He was supposed to serve his sentence until 2032, but in the fall of 2023, he was recruited from a penal colony to join the war effort. At the end of the year, he was captured and exchanged. It remains unknown why the ex-convict fighter was at large.

In the Krasnodar region, Sergey Kuzmenko, a previously convicted mercenary of the Wagner Group, has been sentenced to a maximum security penal colony for causing death by grievous bodily harm. The exact length of the sentence has not been publicly disclosed. On Jan. 2, 2024, Kuzmenko, while intoxicated, assaulted his female acquaintance, who died on the spot from her injuries. The court noted that Kuzmenko had no criminal record at the time of the incident, which suggests a presidential pardon for his previous participation in war activities. Kuzmenko had been convicted at least three times before, with his last conviction in 2019 resulting in a 13-year sentence in a penal colony for murder.

According to the human rights project You are not Alone, Yakutia is with You, the ex-Wagner Group mercenary who earlier severely assaulted his pregnant girlfriend, resulting in her losing the unborn child, has avoided jail by returning to the frontline instead.

The Southern District Military Court upheld the sentence of the service member Anton Chepelev for shooting his fellow soldier. The court did not disclose the specific term of the sentence. Leading up to the murder, the victim allegedly insulted Chepelev and got handsy. In response, Chepelev discharged his entire magazine into the victim and, upon running out of bullets, used another soldier's gun to continue shooting. The victim sustained over 50 bullet wounds. Initially charged with murder, Chepelev's charge was later lessened to voluntary manslaughter committed in the state of passion.

According to the count of the independent Russian media outlet Dovod, the Vladimir Garrison Military Court has received 138 criminal cases against soldiers going AWOL since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. In 2023 alone, there were 78 such cases, marking an all-time record. By comparison, only two such cases were heard in 2021, and six in 2020. Across Russia, over 10,000 military personnel have been charged with refusing to serve since the start of the war.

A court in Vladivostok sentenced an American serviceman Gordon Black to three years and nine months in a penal colony for stealing 10,000 rubles [$120] from a young woman and threatening her with murder. Black denied making murder threats but partially admitted the theft, claiming it was not premeditated. He was detained in early May of this year.

The Pacific Fleet Military Court found 20-year-old Ekaterina Gazieva and her 34-year-old acquaintance Sergey Malyuchenko guilty of committing an act of terror in a group by setting fire to a printing house. One of them was sentenced to 12.5 years in a penal colony, while the other received 13 years in a maximum security penal colony. According to prosecutors, on the night of Sept. 21, 2023, Gazieva, allegedly "acting on orders from an unidentified person acting in the interests of Ukraine," broke a window of the printing warehouse with a stone and threw a Molotov cocktail inside. It was claimed that Gazieva mistook the warehouse for a draft office. The Federal Security Service (FSB) also identified four individuals who were aware of the arson preparations but did not report them to law enforcement. Criminal proceedings for failing to report a crime were initiated against them, with a potential penalty of up to one year of imprisonment.

34-year-old Stanislav Grudenko from the Zaporizhzhia region was sentenced to five years in a penal colony for "participation in a terrorist community" and "preparation to commit an act of terror." According to investigators, Grudenko allegedly collected information on the whereabouts of Russian troops in the town of Tokmak. Subsequently, his handlers provided him with coordinates of a cache containing a homemade explosive device. As a Ukrainian serviceman, investigators claim Grudenko possessed knowledge in mining and explosives. He identified three locations where Russian soldiers were stationed as potential targets for an explosion, but his plan was thwarted when he was apprehended before he could carry it out.

The Second Western District Military Court found drawing teacher Daniil Klyuk from the Lipetsk region guilty of "treason" and "aiding terrorist activities," sentencing him to 20 years in a penal colony. According to investigators, Klyuk was accused of transferring 20,000 rubles [$240] to the Ukrainian Azov Brigade, although he denies this allegation. Klyuk explained that in his spare time, he added humorous elements like horns, mustaches and beards to "heroes of special military operation" depicted in a local pro-government newspaper, to which he was forced to subscribe. His drawings were found one day, leading to accusations of Nazism, which prompted the involvement of the FSB. Klyuk further stated that transfers to his brother in Luhansk were found on his phone, but he maintains these funds were not intended for the Azov Brigade, despite pressure from the FSB to confess otherwise.

The Southern District Military Court in Rostov-on-Don sentenced two defendants to 9.5 and 10 years in a penal colony. According to the FSB, they allegedly planned an assassination attempt on Sergey Aksyonov, the Russian-appointed head of Crimea, Vladimir Konstantinov, the "speaker of parliament," and Yanina Pavlenko, the "head" of Yalta. The names of the defendants and the charges against them were not disclosed. Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] speculates that the defendants are 52-year-old Konstantin Evmenenko and 38-year-old Aleksandr Litvinenko. Court records indicate they were found guilty of high treason, preparing an act of terror as a group, participating in a terrorist organization and possessing explosives.

A court in Saint Petersburg sentenced 59-year-old Elena Komaricheva to ten years in a penal colony for an act of terror. According to investigators and Komaricheva's own testimony, she was coerced into setting fire to a draft office by phone scammers last summer.

A resident of Khabarovsk is suspected of high treason. According to the FSB, she allegedly contacted representatives of Ukrainian intelligence services via the internet to "assist in carrying out sabotage and terrorist actions against government facilities in Khabarovsk." Further details were not provided in the report.