mobilization briefs
June 8

Mobilization in Russia for June 6-7, 2024 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

During a question and answer session of his speech at the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum, Vladimir Putin stated he sees no need for a new round of mobilization to beef up Russia’s forces in Ukraine. He alleged that in 2023, 300,000 men voluntarily signed contracts with the Ministry of Defense, while more than 160,000 contract soldiers have already been recruited this year. Interestingly, this headcount is at odds with what Putin said during his annual "direct line" phone-in last December, when he announced that as many as 486,000 men had enlisted voluntarily as contract soldiers during 2023. Hence, Putin claims that Russian authorities steadily recruit about 30,000 soldiers each month, which aligns with the estimates made by Ukraine’s Main Directorate of Intelligence. However, CIT finds this assessment to be exaggerated, believing that Russia’s Armed Forces barely manage to recruit 10,000 to 15,000 men monthly.

Moreover, as the Bumaga [Paper] independent media outlet points out, mobilization in Russia has never been officially concluded. It will remain in effect as long as the circumstances that called for military draft persist, meaning until the respective Putin’s decree is not canceled.

The Russian government introduced a bill seeking to exempt war participants from the suspension or termination of Class C and above driving licenses. Drivers who hold these types of licenses are authorized to operate military vehicles. Earlier, the Vyorstka media outlet reported an increase in the number of Russian soldiers caught driving under the influence of alcohol or driving with a license revoked for a previous offense.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

In the Novosibirsk metro, advertisements have appeared for the Volki [Wolves] Brigade, associated with the Redut PMC. The announcement promises "intensive training according to special forces programs" from Wagner Group instructors and offers six-month contracts with the possibility of early termination. According to the poster, the only criteria for recruitment are the absence of HIV and hepatitis C or B. Previously, BBC News Russian and the investigative projects Skhemy [Schemes] (part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) and Sistema have reported on how the Redut PMC operates.

Russian authorities in Crimea have intensified the promotion of contract service in the Russian Army on the peninsula, reports the international movement for the de-occupation of Crimea, #LiberateCrimea. According to activists, there has been an increase in online advertising, a rise in the number of physical advertisements for contract service, and more frequent meetings between unemployed people and representatives of draft offices in employment centers.

A resident of Moscow, Artyom, was conscripted into the army despite having asthma, a diagnosis he received in 2014 and which had been repeatedly extended. However, on April 1, he received a draft notice and was called to the draft office, where a medical evaluation board deemed him fit for service with minor restrictions. Artyom intended to appeal the decision at a secondary evaluation board, but investigators deceitfully took him to the military collection point on Ugreshskaya Street in Moscow. There, in one day, he was declared fit for service and assigned to a unit in the Tver region.

Mobilized Soldiers, Volunteer Fighters and Contract Soldiers

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Artyom Lobkov from the Altai region [Russia’s federal subject], Maksim Krasnopeyev from Buryatia [Russia's constituent republic], Rustam Gabdulkhakov from Mari El [Russia's constituent republic], Aleksandr Alchpayev and Yevgeny Maksimov from Chuvashia [Russia’s constituent republic], Andrey Arsentyev from the Irkutsk region, as well as Ruslan Davydov and Aleksandr Gashinov from Buryatia.

A mobilized soldier with hepatitis C was kidnapped from the Rostov region and is being threatened with forcible deployment to the frontline. On Feb. 21, 2022, a resident of the "DPR" was illegally mobilized despite never having served in the army and not even possessing a military ID. In October 2022, he was hospitalized, where he was diagnosed with hepatitis C, which he likely contracted during the war. After being discharged from the hospital, he was verbally informed that he was no longer fit for service and sent home. The family moved to the Rostov region, but in May 2023, his military unit declared him wanted for going AWOL. When the soldier went to the draft office, he was told that he was not listed in the Russian Armed Forces. However, on May 15, he was detained by the commandant's office at the migration department in Taganrog, where he had gone to get a certificate. Afterward, he and 50 other refuseniks or soldiers with illnesses were sent to a training range near Ilovaisk and are being threatened with deployment into combat. A similar story was previously recounted by the wife of an illegally mobilized miner from Luhansk and volunteer fighter Aleksey Motorny from the Rostov region.

A mobilized soldier with a spinal condition from the Kemerovo region is being held at a military unit in Yurga and is facing forced deployment to the war in Ukraine. Shortly after his mobilization in October 2022, the man had to be put into a hospital, where spinal issues were discovered. After undergoing surgery, the serviceman arrived at the 439th Regiment in Yurga in May 2024, where a doctor prescribed rest and noted the need for rehabilitation. However, the unit commander refused to sign the man's report and threatened him with prosecution and forced deployment to the frontline.

According to the Mobilization Telegram channel, a conscript soldier died under suspicious circumstances at a military unit in the Kaliningrad region. Sailor Serik was serving his statutory military service at a military unit in the town of Chernyakhovsk. On May 10, during a shift change, the conscript headed to his post and, according to authorities, committed suicide en route, leaving no suicide note. The death notice cited a gunshot wound to the head as the cause of death. Investigators informed the deceased's mother that the primary lead is that the soldier shot himself. However, when the mother examined her son's body, she found three gunshot wounds, which was captured on video. It is worth noting that Serik had only one month left until demobilization. He also mentioned that he and his fellow conscripts were being pressured to sign contracts with the MoD, which he refused. His mother believes this to be the reason for his murder.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

The court in the town of Kyakhta has sentenced serviceman Sergey Lazarev to six years in a penal colony for going AWOL. On Feb. 24, 2023, he left his place of deployment and remained in hiding until he was detained on Jan. 15, 2024. According to the Lyudi Baikala [People of Baikal] independent media outlet, the number of cases against soldiers who went AWOL in Buryatia and the Irkutsk region has tripled over the past two war years.

Igor Panov, a 23-year-old soldier from Saint Petersburg, has been denied contract termination by the Ministry of Defense. He initially signed a contract in 2021, but when the war broke out, he refused to participate in combat. Despite his contract expiring in 2023, he was not released home, citing the mobilization law. Panov then went AWOL but was detained and sentenced to one year of probation. Currently, Panov is appealing the court's decision, and if the sentence is upheld, he will be forced to return to service until the end of the mobilization period.

Aleksandr Matkheev, a Buryatia resident suffering from a mental disorder, has been sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment for expressing a desire to fight on the side of Ukraine. At the onset of the war, he decided to join the "Freedom of Russia Legion" following instructions of a handler based in the Kemerovo region, where he was subsequently detained. Six months after the sentence, Matkheev began writing letters to his family, expressing a desire to participate in the war on Russia's side. Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] provided detailed coverage of Matkheev's case.

The Federal Security Service has detained a resident of the city Tyumen on suspicion of planning an act of terror. Investigators claim the man intended to detonate an explosive device on a segment of the Sverdlovsk railway within the city to derail a train. A criminal case has been launched, and the suspect is in custody.

The Military Court in Moscow has arrested Pavel Guguyev on charges of confidential cooperation with foreigners, as reported by Mediazona. Guguyev, an ex-convict sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2013 for murder, infliction of harm, and theft, enlisted to fight in the war while in a penal colony and was subsequently captured. While in captivity, he gave an interview to Ukrainian journalist Dmytro Karpenko, where he spoke about significant losses among Russian soldiers. Guguyev was later exchanged and, upon returning to Russia, gave a second interview to Karpenko, further discussing the situation in the Russian Army. Following the release of the second video, Guguyev and others who underwent the exchange process had their phones confiscated. According to Holod, an independent Russian media outlet, Guguyev was placed in an isolated room.

The three-day presidential election in Russia saw arson attacks at polling stations (1, 2, 3), alongside attempts to spoil ballots. Dozens of criminal cases have been filed against those detained. Novaya Gazeta, an independent Russian newspaper, has reported on the subsequent developments for those arrested and the punishments handed down by the courts.


A prosthetics center for war veterans from Siberia is set to open in Omsk at the beginning of 2025.


Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Airport has allocated 294.6 million rubles [$3.31 million] for the installation of an anti-UAV system. Vyorstka discovered the tender for these works.

Border guards are increasingly confiscating Russian passports at the border, citing typographical errors and mistakes made during the document's issuance. This rationale is also being employed by border service employees to prevent Russians from leaving the country. Meduza, an international Russian-language online media outlet, provides explanations on how to avoid such issues at the border.


Vyorstka has reported on the behavior of "political officers" returning to the army, describing incidents of drunkenness, physical violence against soldiers and the writing of reports. Meanwhile, the Vot Tak [Like This] media outlet discussed the service of military personnel with HIV infection in light of the Ministry of Health's decision to reduce by a third the purchase of necessary drugs for HIV-infected individuals.

Vyorstka, Schemes and the Belarusian Investigative Center have reported on how Russia exports agricultural products from the occupied territories of Ukraine. These products are being sent to various destinations, including Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran, Syria, and even Spain.

For two years, Bumaga has been conducting investigations into and describing the connections between Saint Petersburg and the city of Mariupol—the occupied "twin" city. This twinning is evident in companies from Saint Petersburg constructing buildings and infrastructure in Mariupol using their own budget, with the amounts remaining classified.

In 2024, state-funded places in universities will only be sufficient for half of the school graduates. Meanwhile, between 25 to 100% of these places are allocated according to quotas, including for children of "special military operation participants." Vazhnyye Istorii [IStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet] has reported on the cost of quality higher education, the increasing competition and the proportion of places already taken by quotas.