mobilization briefs
June 28

Mobilization in Russia for June 25-27, 2024 CIT Volunteer Summary

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

Alexander Bastrykin, the head of the Investigative Committee of Russia, asserted that Russian authorities have sent 10,000 former migrants to fight in Ukraine. According to him, the country’s security services began enforcing laws and constitutional provisions that require naturalized citizens to register for military service and take part in the "special military operation" if necessary. Authorities thus identified over 30,000 former migrants who had acquired Russian citizenship but failed to register for military service, allegedly sending a third of them to war. Bastrykin called this a "trick" that compelled migrants to "quietly leave Russia."

A resident of Irkutsk recounted a phone call he received from the draft office with an offer to sign a military contract. He recorded the conversation and shared it with the Lyudi Baikala [People of Baikal] independent media outlet. The woman who called addressed him by his first name and patronymic, saying she was calling from the draft office. When she asked if he was interested in concluding a contract with the Ministry of Defense and he responded negatively, she thanked him and ended the call.

Authorities and Relatives of Mobilized Soldiers

The court refused to lift the foreign agent status from Maria Andreeva, a member of the Put Domoy [Way Home] Telegram channel and the wife of a mobilized soldier. In her comment to the SOTAvision media outlet following the hearing, Andreeva expressed disagreement with the court's decision and stated her intention to continue challenging it.

Courts in the North Caucasus and South Russia continue to receive petitions from relatives of military personnel listed as missing in action in Ukraine, demanding that they be formally declared dead. According to the law, courts can take such a decision six months after a service member is declared missing. The Kavkaz.Realii [Caucasus.Realities, part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] media outlet reviewed several such cases: two petitions were granted and one was denied.

Mobilized Soldiers, Volunteer Fighters and Contract Soldiers

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Sergey Yartsev and Ruslan Yarkeyev from Russia’s constituent Republic of Tatarstan, as well as Pavel Ponikarovski and Andrey Sladkov from the Kirov region.

Vazhnyye Istorii [IStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet] has attempted to estimate the number of Russian soldiers killed in the first two years of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. Using the excess mortality method, which assesses the difference between observed (actual) mortality and the estimated mortality in a scenario without the risk factor, journalists calculated that about 26,000 men could have been killed in 2022 and 45,000 in 2023, almost twice as many. According to their tally, the total losses over two years of war, as reflected in Rosstat [Federal State Statistics Service] statistics, exceed 70,000 people. Previously, Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] and Meduza [international Russian-language online media outlet] provided their estimate of Russian casualties based on the National Probate Registry. According to their data, by the end of 2023, about 75,000 soldiers had been killed in the war, with about 24,000 deaths occurring in 2022 and up to 50,000 in 2023.

Thirty-eight graves of likely former convict mercenaries from the Storm-Z unit have been discovered at the municipal cemetery in the town of Anapa, Krasnodar region. Almost all are buried in the so-called Alley of Heroes, and the deaths of most have not been reported by either official authorities or local social media platforms. Kavkaz.Realii examined the information on the deceased from open sources and found convicts among them, including those sentenced to long terms of imprisonment.

Georgy Klimenko, deputy commander of the reconnaissance company of the 1234th regiment, recorded an appeal in which he accused the regimental commander and his "protégé," the reconnaissance company commander, of being war criminals. Klimenko stated that his primary concern is to protect at least the personnel of his unit, alleging that the commanding officers fear his potential testimony and have threatened him with death. According to Klimenko, Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Boyarin, the regimental commander, forbids the evacuation of wounded soldiers from positions and issues other unlawful orders. Klimenko claimed that to eliminate him as a witness, Boyarin has repeatedly sent his unit to the most perilous areas "from which we will never return." Klimenko further asserted that he is being held within the "special military operation" zone and has been denied access to a medical examination board, despite suffering severe concussions that nearly caused him to lose his sight. He stated that he has not received any compensation for these injuries.

In the latest prisoner exchange, two residents of the Vladimir region were returned, despite earlier claims by regional authorities that there were no residents from Vladimir in captivity. Additionally, among those exchanged from the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Region–Yugra and the Yaroslavl region, there were soldiers who had been in captivity for almost a year. Furthermore, as established by the Agentstvo [Agency] independent media outlet, at least two former convicts were among those exchanged.

Irkutsk authorities are refusing to issue a wounded in action certificate to Dmitry, a 20-year-old conscript wounded in the Belgorod region. Three months into his military service in the Far East, Dmitry and his fellow servicemen were informed by their commander that they would be transferred to a neighboring unit. Instead, they were unexpectedly sent on a mission to the Belgorod region. Dmitry sustained a shrapnel wound to his wrist from a grenade dropped by a UAV while on guard duty. After receiving initial treatment, Dmitry was sent back to the trenches wearing a cast and continued to serve in the Belgorod region for another month. Despite these injuries and medical treatment, the head of the military hospital that treated Dmitry has refused to issue a medical certificate required for him to receive compensation payments, stating that "conscripts do not participate in the special military operation." In response, Dmitry has filed a lawsuit challenging this decision.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

An Irkutsk court has sentenced Aleksandr Onkhonov, a former Wagner Group mercenary, to seven and a half years in a penal colony for fratricide. Onkhonov returned home from the war in November 2023 after being wounded. According to the court’s statement, a fight broke out between Onkhonov and his brother as they were drinking alcohol, which led to Onkhonov stabbing his brother multiple times with a knife. The Siberian express news outlet found out that Onkhonov had previously been convicted twice for armed assault on his brother and had received three years of probation for each incident.

Another ex-Wagner Group mercenary Aleksandr Kulyushin, who was previously convicted of murder, has been accused of assaulting and raping a young woman on the island of Sakhalin. According to the investigators, while intoxicated, Kulyushin quarreled with his 20-year-old girl-friend and subsequently assaulted and raped her. In 2019, Kulyushin was sentenced to 20 years behind bars for murder with extreme brutality. During his incarceration, he signed a contract with the Wagner Group and served six months before being granted a pardon and returning to Sakhalin.

The criminal proceedings against a 49-year-old recidivist accused of rape, who had previously been convicted for similar crimes, have been suspended in Tomsk. The Investigative Committee stated that the preliminary investigation has been suspended during his contract-based military service. The man, whose name has not been disclosed, was detained in March. He attacked a female passerby and raped her twice. The woman managed to escape and reported to the police, after which the rapist was detained. A criminal case was initiated against him for rape combined with the threat of murder. The man had been previously convicted for similar crimes and had completed his imprisonment only in October 2023. A week ago, he was deployed to the war in Ukraine.

A soldier from Omsk, undergoing treatment in Saint Petersburg after being wounded in the war, attacked a 33-year-old female resident of Saint Petersburg. According to the victim’s sister, the soldier locked her in his apartment during their meeting, where he assaulted and inflicted cuts on her, resulting in her hospitalization in intensive care. A criminal case has been initiated against the soldier, but he has not yet been detained. His name has not been disclosed.

The Borzya Garrison Military Court has sentenced serviceman Nikolay Sosnin to six and a half years in a penal settlement for violating traffic rules while intoxicated and driving without a license, which led to the death of a person, and leaving the scene of the accident.

The military court in the city of Luhansk has sentenced Lieutenant Colonel Irek Magasumov to 11 years in a maximum-security penal colony. Previously awarded the title of Hero of Russia by Putin, Magasumov was convicted on charges of murder and hooliganism. As part of the verdict, he was also stripped of his Hero of Russia title, although he retained his rank of Lieutenant Colonel. According to investigators, Magasumov and a fellow officer met 18-year-old Darya Kiseleva and her friend at a café and offered to let them shoot a pistol. One of the shots fired during this incident fatally wounded Kiseleva. During the trial, a petition was presented from the command of Magasumov's unit, requesting his release from punishment citing his military service.

The Maykop Garrison Military Court has dismissed the criminal case against mobilized soldier Vyacheslav Shishkunov, who was accused of purchasing drugs. The case was dropped after he transferred 20,000 rubles [$230] to a charitable fund and gave a lecture to his fellow soldiers on the dangers of drugs. Initially facing up to three years in prison, Shishkunov avoided further legal consequences through these actions.

A serviceman from Udmurtia [Russia's constituent republic] refused to take an alcohol intoxication test, leading to the early termination of his contract. According to case documents, the soldier had received a sign-up bonus of 195,000 rubles [$2,230], indicating that the contract involved deployment to the war zone.  The termination of his contract incurred a cost of 65,000 rubles [$740] for the soldier.

The Samara Garrison Military Court has received the criminal case of 37-year-old serviceman Vladimir Kochetkov, who stands accused of disrupting the work of polling stations during the presidential elections. He is accused of conspiring and committing this act in a group. This marks the first instance of Russian soldiers being charged under this particular article. Kochetkov was detained on March 16 at a polling station in Samara after he threw a Molotov cocktail at a wall; however, no fire erupted, and there were no injuries reported.

According to Mediazona, the Northern Fleet Military Court sentenced 32-year-old former classmates Aleksandr Levadny and Ilya Sadkov in April of this year for setting fire to a draft office. Levadny was sentenced to 17 years in prison for state treason and incitement to commit a terrorist attack. Meanwhile, Sadkov received a 14-year sentence for committing a terrorist attack that resulted in significant property damage, in addition to charges related to drug possession. The charge of state treason against Levadny was based on wiretaps of his phone conversations with a friend from Ukraine who fought for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. These wiretaps contained snippets of conversations lasting no longer than three seconds, which lacked full context. Sadkov was detained following the arson of the draft office in March 2023. Experts who reviewed recordings of personal conversations between Levadny and Sadkov concluded that Levadny had persuaded Sadkov to carry out the act, which resulted in damage to the draft office's windowsill. However, during interrogation, Sadkov stated that he decided to set fire to the draft office on his own. According to a Mediazona source, both defendants endured torture and beatings during their detention and interrogation.

Additionally, journalists from Mediazona discovered that FSB officers fabricated evidence in the case against 15-year-old Arseny Turbin. Turbin received a five-year sentence in a penal colony on charges of participating in a terrorist organization for distributing flyers critical of Putin in his neighbors' mailboxes. In the full transcript of Turbin's interrogation audio reviewed by Mediazona, there is no confession from the student admitting to sending a completed form to the "Freedom of Russia Legion." However, the protocol from the same interrogation dated Aug. 30, 2023, states: "I planned to join the said legion and sent them a completed form." This protocol formed the basis of the criminal case against Turbin. During the interrogation, Turbin's mother Irina, was present and attested that her son did not make such a statement, claiming the protocol was forged.   According to Irina, her son told her he was afraid to fill out the form and had only saved the file on his laptop.

The court dismissed the criminal case of "discrediting the Russian Armed Forces" against Petrozavodsk resident Artyom Sokolov after he "reconsidered his position" and made a donation to a veterans' assistance fund. He was issued a judicial fine of 50,000 rubles [$570]. The criminal case against Sokolov stemmed from his posts on the VKontakte social network.


In a district of the Vladimir region, the social protection department announced free access to summer camps for children of participants in the war with Ukraine. Meanwhile, in the Chelyabinsk region, families of law enforcement officers killed in the war will receive a payment of 200,000 rubles [$2,280]. This assistance is specifically for families registered in the Chelyabinsk region at the time of the serviceman's death. In addition, in the Perm region [Russia’s federal subject], military wives will be paid nearly 128,000 rubles [$1,460] for each newborn child.

Children and Educational System

In the Guryev Educational Center in the Tula region, children are manufacturing reloading equipment for assault rifles as part of their  Fundamentals of Life Safety classes.  Additionally, the Ne Norma [Not a Norm] Telegram channel highlighted a post by the Young Army [pro-Kremlin youth organization] division in the Belokalitvinsky district of the Rostov region, where young members reportedly make devices for dropping ammunition from UAVs.

At the Moskvich [Muscovite] sports school, an event was held with the aim of preventing young people from participating in anti-war actions.


As revealed by the Mozhem Ob'yasnit [We Can Explain] Telegram channel, employers are hesitant to hire former Wagner Group members due to concerns about their aggressive behavior. This issue has been reported by the wives of these former mercenaries in their Telegram chats.


The Vyorstka media outlet interviewed participants of last year's Yevgeny Prigozhin's [deceased owner of the Wagner Group] armed rebellion and reconstructed its events.

BBC News Russian spoke with four women whose husbands went to war in Ukraine, despite the women themselves not supporting the Russian invasion. They shared insights into life in families where spouses have opposing views on the political situation. Meanwhile, the Idel.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet collected stories from relatives and friends of fallen servicemen from Chuvashia [Russia’s constituent republic], reporting on local perspectives regarding death gratuity payments.

The T-variant publication discussed the people who took charge of universities in the occupied territories of Ukraine.