mobilization briefs
March 13

Mobilization in Russia for March 11-12, 2024 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

The State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] has approved in the first reading a bill, which seeks to regulate the suspension of criminal investigations and release on probation for individuals who join the war with Ukraine. The bill excludes from its provisions persons accused or convicted of extremism, terrorism, calls for violation of territorial integrity, treason or collaboration with an "undesirable organization."

Authorities and Relatives of Mobilized Soldiers

The Put Domoy [Way Home] social movement has urged its members to spoil their ballots in the upcoming presidential election, since no eligible candidate is willing to end mobilization. Additionally, the movement organizers have proposed to join the "Noon Against Putin" action by showing up at polling stations at noon on March 17.

A "white scarves" campaign took place on Sunday, March 10, across Chuvashia [Russia’s constituent republic]. Initiated by Head of the Republic Oleg Nikolaev, it saw churches holding special services with prayers "for peace [...] in support of those who fight against Fascism," during which female parishioners wore white scarves. However, the organizers of the original "white scarves" movement—women demanding the return of their loved one from the war—called this use of their symbol a distortion of the idea. The wives of mobilized soldiers have called on their supporters to once again lay flowers at memorials to fallen soldiers on March 16 at noon.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

Officials in the Pskov region have published a recruitment plan for the territorial defense forces, which aims to enlist between 140 and 190 participants each year. The Pskov territorial defense forces were established in 2023. In August, authorities reported that nearly 10 million rubles [$110,100] would be allocated to support it.

In Saint Petersburg, during a meeting to discuss the composition of a local election commission, two candidates from the Yabloko party were issued draft notices to report to a military commissariat [enlistment office] for a data check-up. One of them, Pavel Khodunov, who was appointed as a member of the local election commission, received a notice for March 15, which coincides with the first day of the presidential election and requires his presence at the polling station.

Mobilized Soldiers, Volunteer Fighters and Contract Soldiers

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Aleksandr Shmargunov from the Tver region, Maksim Semionov and Vyacheslav Yevdokimov from the Volgograd region, Vladimir Zaikin from the Rostov region, Viktor Shashin from the Astrakhan region, Pavel Kuzub from Russia’s constituent Republic of Adygea, Sergey Tsapaev from the Krasnodar region, Aleksandr Prokofyev from the Perm region [Russia’s federal subject], as well as Aleksey Svistkov, Nikolay Shein and Sergey Fominykh from the Sverdlovsk region.

According to the Presidential representative of Ukraine in Crimea, at least 694 Russian soldiers who fought against Ukraine were buried inside annexed Crimea. Among them, 525 were likely citizens of Ukraine. Additionally, reports indicate that at least 41 Russian service members from Crimea have been taken prisoner, with the majority of these prisoners likely being Ukrainian citizens as well. Journalists from the Krym.Realii news outlet have managed to establish the identities of over 650 Russian soldiers killed since the onset of the full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation into Ukraine, originating from the Crimean peninsula and the city of Sevastopol.

Grigory Sverdlin, the founder of the anti-war Idite Lesom! [Flee through the woods/Get lost you all] Telegram channel, announced that during the 10 days since the "Deserter’s Day" action, 207 people wishing to desert from the Russian Army have contacted the project for assistance.

Ena Ivanov, who grew up in an orphanage, joined the war effort as part of the Wagner Group. While at the frontline, the mercenary suffered frostbite, resulting in the amputation of parts of both of his feet. Upon returning from the war to his native Krasnoyarsk, Ivanov found out that frostbite was not considered a combat-related injury, thus rendering him ineligible for compensation for being wounded. He also found himself ineligible for veterans' benefits and government-supplied housing. Despite petitioning the Defenders of the Fatherland Fund, Ivanov received no assistance. Currently, he only receives a monthly pension amounting to 10,000 rubles [$110].

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

According to the Astra Telegram channel, on March 4 in the occupied part of the Kherson region, a group of five or six unidentified masked men in military uniforms broke into the house of Vitalii T., a resident of the village of Nova Zbruivka. Using a pistol to threaten him, they conducted a "search," after which the homeowners discovered the disappearance of gold jewelry worth 300,000 rubles [$3,300]. Additionally, 11,000 rubles [$120] and $250 in cash also disappeared from the house. Despite these events, no criminal case has been initiated.

At the end of 2023, the Vladimir regional court sentenced Andrey, Kirill and Maksim Malygin, a father and his two adult sons, to 15 years in a maximum security penal colony for drug production on an especially large scale. Authorities seized more than 10 kg of mephedrone from them. The court considered the fact that all three individuals expressed a desire to join the war as a mitigating factor. It is likely that the men have already gone to the war.

The Krasnoyarsk Garrison Military Court has sentenced a soldier from Krasnoyarsk to six years in a penal colony for going AWOL. In December 2022, after treatment in a hospital, the junior sergeant did not return to his unit. Upon being detained in April 2023 and attached to another unit during the investigation, he once again went AWOL. Subsequently, he was arrested in November 2023.

In Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Perm and Ulyanovsk, law enforcement officers conducted searches at the residences of several artists. According to the Setevye Svobody [Network Freedom] project, these investigative actions are related to the case of treason against Pyotr Verzilov, a member of Pussy Riot [Russian feminist protest and performance art group] and former publisher of Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet], who is participating in the war with the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Specifically, searches took place in Moscow at the residences of Olga Kuracheva and Olga Pakhtusova. Following the search, Kuracheva was taken for questioning, while Pakhtusova ceased communication, and her whereabouts are unknown. Additionally, law enforcement visited the residences of Margarita Konovalova and Anastasia Mikhailova. Furthermore, a search is underway at the residence of Verzilov's mother, Elena. In Saint Petersburg, law enforcement visited members of the Yav art group, performer Katrin Nenasheva, artist Sasha Blot, Party of the Dead art group participant Kristina Bubentsova (who was taken for questioning), Vladlena Milkina and Aleksandra Kachko. In Nizhny Novgorod, following searches, law enforcement officers detained and took for questioning artists Artyom Filatov and Andrey Olenev. In Samara, searches took place at the registered address of the artist Denis Mustafin. Currently, his mother resides there, and her computer was confiscated. Searches also occurred at the residence of student Elizaveta in Perm and Christina Gorlanova, the former head of the Ural branch of the Pushkin State Museum in Yekaterinburg. According to the OVD-Info independent human rights project, searches were conducted on at least 18 individuals. Six of them were released after questioning, including Katrin Nenasheva, Kristina Bubentsova and her husband Anton, Andrey Olenev, Artyom Filatov and Yegor Kholtov. Mediazona, Meduza [international Russian-language online media outlet] and OVD-Info have compiled all available information about the searches at this time.

Anton Zhuchkov, a 40-year-old resident of Omsk, who, along with his friend Vladimir Sergeyev, was convicted for attempting to set fire to a police van during an anti-war protest in Moscow, reported that he was assaulted en route to prison. Additionally, he faced threats of rape at the Krasnoyarsk pre-trial detention center, where demands were made for him to cooperate with the administration.

As Mediazona has uncovered, Putin's decree on the pardon of 52 women turned out to be classified as secret. While the news about the signing of the decree appeared on the Kremlin's website on March 8, the published decrees only include documents from March 5, followed immediately by those from March 11. Six documents signed by the president during those days have been classified as secret. Consequently, the names of the women pardoned by Putin remain unknown.


The group "Gumpomoshch Omsk" [Humanitarian Help Omsk] on the VKontakte social network has announced plans to open a "farm" in Omsk for training in assembling FPV drones for the war in Ukraine. Under the guise of humanitarian aid, this group has been collecting funds for military drones and weapon parts. 

Saint Petersburg authorities plan to offer free public transportation not only to the children of participants in the war in Ukraine but also to their spouses, including widows and widowers.

In Podolsk, Moscow region, families of war participants will receive pancake sets for Maslenitsa [Crepe week]. The head of the municipal district Grigory Artamonov, instructed to "prepare not only a cultural program, but also sets with pancakes and possibly jam."

Children and Educational System

In Barnaul, one of the polling stations was named after Dmitry Bazanov, a history and social studies teacher who was killed in the war with Ukraine. He was mobilized in October 2022 and died in January 2023. In September, a "Hero's Desk" was opened in the same school in honor of Bazanov. This is the fifth polling station in the Altai region [Russia’s federal subject] named after war participants. Polling stations named after soldiers who were killed in the war with Ukraine have also appeared in the Jewish Autonomous region, the city of Vladimir and Russia's constituent Republic of Buryatia.

In Kurgan, gymnasium students are selling homemade pancakes and pastries at a Maslenitsa fair. The authorities will spend the proceeds to help "special military operation" participants and stray animals.