mobilization briefs
March 20

Mobilization in Russia for March 18-19, 2024 CIT Volunteer Summary

Russia’s "Presidential Election"

(The first and two subsequent days of voting, the initial results)

Electoral Fraud and Oddities

Vazhnye Istorii [IStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet] calculated that, according to the Central Election Commission, at 6675 polling stations, excluding Moscow, the number of voters exceeded 100 people per hour at certain times. The average across Russia was 23 voters per hour. Abnormal voter turnout was most often observed on the first day of voting, when public sector workers and other dependent categories of voters were expected to visit polling stations. The Krasnodar region led in the number of "high-speed" polling stations. At one of the stations there, almost 5000 people voted from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., averaging more than 700 voters per hour. During periods of "increased activity," more than 6 million people voted at polling stations across Russia.

Roman Udot, the former co-chair of Golos [the movement for voters' rights], called attention to the voting results in the occupied territories. "LPR" and Zaporizhzhia region "election" results were fabricated according to a predetermined plan with a calculator. In the "LPR," Vladislav Davankov of the Novye Ludy [New People] party received 1,3900 percent of the votes, Putin received 94,1200 percent, Leonid Slutsky of the LDPR [right-wing populist political party] received 2,1300 percent, and Nikolay Kharitonov of the Communist Party received 1,9100 percent. Udot estimates that the probability of such round percentages occurring accidentally is "1 in 500 million elections." In the Zaporizhzhia region, candidates received 1,8700, 92,8300, 2,5200, and 2,2100% respectively. The probability of this event is "one in 4 million elections."

Researcher Ivan Shukshin observed a stunning consensus at a polling station in Shebekino, Belgorod region, where all 2,500 voters unanimously supported Putin, as per the records from polling station No. 1130. Similarly, in the Volokonovka district of the same region, at polling station No. 37, an identical phenomenon occurred with all 1,600 voters casting their ballots for Putin. In an anomalous turn of events at one of the polling stations in Stary Oskol, the reported voter turnout decreased. At the same time, the number of votes cast remained unchanged, as noted by the Fonar [Lantern] publication. Namely, at polling station No. 1257, voter turnout was initially reported at 100% at 3 p.m., only to be adjusted to 77% by 8 p.m. Mediazona, an independent Russian media outlet, earlier uncovered an anomaly in Stary Oskol where at all 136 polling stations, voter turnout of 47% was reported at 3 p.m., suggesting the possibility of centralized manipulation of the voting results.

At a precinct election commission in Novaya Zemlya, Arkhangelsk region, with voter turnout at practically 100%, everyone except one person voted for Putin. In several other election commissions across Novaya Zemlya with the same level of turnout, 100% of the votes were cast in favor of Putin.

In Rostov, the number of spoiled ballots at 66 of 78 polling stations surpassed the vote count for at least one candidate. Furthermore, at four polling stations, the number of spoiled ballots exceeded the total votes for all candidates except Putin.

Pavel Shapchits, a Saint Petersburg city electoral commission member, published a dissenting opinion detailing a list of violations during the voting process. He voiced disagreement with the commission's official statement on the legality of the presidential vote. At a Saint Petersburg polling station, votes initially cast for Davankov were reassigned to Slutsky. Discrepancies were found between the initial vote tallies reported by the precinct election commission No. 1788 and those listed on GAS Vybory [Russian state-run automated election system]. On paper, Davankov had secured 214 votes, while Slutsky received 48. However, the website indicated that Davankov had only 74 votes while Slutsky's count had inexplicably risen to 188, suggesting that as many as 140 votes might have been improperly deducted from Davankov's total.

During the "Noon Against Putin" action, the number of votes for Davankov submitted through electronic voting terminals installed at polling stations in Moscow increased tenfold. The percentages for Slutsky and Kharitonov also saw increases, albeit more modestly at 1.5 times, while Putin's share of votes dropped from 86-90% to 66.6%. This shift is supported by an analysis from electronic voting expert Peter Zhizhin.

Several more videos documenting violations during the voting process have emerged. At polling station No. 201 in Moscow, election commission members initially counted 20% of votes for Davankov and 58% for Putin. However, after receiving calls from superiors, they published a completely different result: 80% for Putin and 10% for Davankov. An independent observer, present at the station, reported this to Vazhnyye Istorii, providing a video of the initial vote tally that contradicted the Central Election Commission's published results. Another video, filmed by an observer during the vote count at polling station No. 199 in Kudrovo, Leningrad region, shows commission chairperson Polina Kirichenko announcing votes for Putin despite the marks on the ballots indicating votes for Davankov.


A court in Moscow has sentenced Vera Indienko, an observer from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, to 12 days of arrest. She was found guilty of displaying extremist symbols. An employee of the General Directorate for Countering Extremism of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, known as "Center E," concluded that the colors of the blue and white sweater in her profile photo on the VKontakte social network are associated with the flag of the "Freedom of Russia Legion." Earlier, the young woman had complained of being beaten at a police station. During the trial, she testified that police officers insulted and threatened her, after which an individual not wearing any uniform beat her. Meanwhile, the Chertanovsky District Court in Moscow in three days completed the investigation into the case against Moscow resident Denisov V.N., accused of obstructing the work of the election commission. Denisov is currently under house arrest, facing up to five years in prison.

Dilyara Ilyasova from Naberezhnye Chelny was detained due to an Instagram story with the hashtag #noonagainstputin. On March 17, she went to the polling station, filmed the voting process, and later posted the video on Instagram. She was charged with violating the rules of public events. As a result, Ilyasova was fined 1000 rubles [$11].

A student from Tobolsk who set off a firecracker at a Tyumen polling station was placed under house arrest. The young man said that he committed arson because of a 2 million ruble [$21,800] loan, which he was manipulated by fraudsters into taking. A criminal case of hooliganism, involving the use of items as weapons, has been initiated against him.

Aleksandra Chiryatyeva, who was detained over a "No to War" inscription on a ballot, was sentenced to eight days of arrest for petty hooliganism. In addition, the court fined her 40,000 rubles [$440] for the "defamation of the Russian Army." The girl explained that a police officer was able to see the inscription on the ballot because he was standing next to the ballot box.

Authorities and Legislation

In the third and final reading, the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] has approved two related bills seeking to regulate the conditions under which mobilized and enlisted participants of the war against Ukraine can be exempted from criminal prosecution and punishment (read more). Since June 24, 2023, another law had provided authorities with a similar mechanism, except it only applied to crimes committed before its entry into force. Criminals will be able to count on this form of "amnesty" for offenses committed after June 24, once the new bills are signed into law. Lawmakers have introduced into the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure the concept of "conditional release" but excluded “offenses against the sexual inviolability of minors, the foundations of the constitutional order, the security of the state, or offenses linked to terrorism.”

Roskomnadzor [Russia's internet censorship agency] reportedly plans to monitor users of public Wi-Fi hotspots. According to a document prepared by the agency, network operators and public hotspot owners must share traffic information upon request from the Public Communication Network Monitoring and Management Center. Moreover, they must deploy "technical means of countering threats." The document does not specify which threats are being referred to.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

In Serpukhov, Moscow region, law enforcement officers conducted yet another raid on naturalized migrants who have failed to register for military service. In total, they detained seven "draft dodgers" and fined three of them.

Chairman of the Defense Committee of the State Duma Andrey Kartapolov has announced that during the spring conscription in Moscow, draft notices will be distributed digitally. However, he emphasized that the primary method of notification remains the traditional paper draft notice and promised yet again that conscripts will not be sent to the "special military operation" zone.

Details from the report of the Yekaterinburg military commissar on the results of the conscription period from October to December 2023 have been revealed. According to the report, more than 600 people were drafted into the army, while approximately 20 percent of city residents did not receive draft notices as they could not be located at their registered addresses. Moreover, 71 conscripts failed to report to the military commissariat [enlistment office] "without a valid reason." Among these, 18 were classified as draft dodgers, marking a threefold increase compared to 2022.

Mobilized Soldiers, Volunteer Fighters and Contract Soldiers

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Aleksandr Kataev, Aleksandr Smykov, and Andrey Suslov from the Sverdlovsk region, and Denis Sattarov from the Tver region.

Wounded war participants from Volgograd and Krasnodar complain of not receiving medical treatment. According to these service members, they are denied necessary surgeries and sent them back to the frontline instead. Human rights activist Roman Pronin, who represents the wounded, believes there is an unspoken order to assign everyone the highest possible fitness category, not conduct a military medical board, and send people back to the war.

War participants from Kamchatka received over 50 prosthetic arms and legs. Given that 24 people became recipients of 51 prosthetic devices, each of them lost, on average, two limbs. At the same time, the chief of staff for the region’s governor Sergey Merkulov states that 22 men returned to military service.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incident

Aleksey Isakov, an ex-convict, opened fire at a restaurant in central Saint Petersburg. Fontanka [pro-Russian media outlet of the Leningrad region] reports that the man shot and killed his acquaintance who allegedly owed Isakov 7 million rubles [$76,000]. Once Isakov finished shooting, he came back to his table and resumed his dinner. Isakov has recently returned from the war in Ukraine. He was recruited to fight while serving time at a penal colony.

According to the VChK-OGPU Telegram channel, in the city of Luhansk, police officers attempted to stop two suspicious men for a document check. In response, they threw a grenade at the police officers. As a result, no one was injured, and one of the suspects was detained. He turned out to be 34-year-old Aleksey Shatilov, who has previous criminal records. A military ID issued by a draft office of the Penza region in September 2023 was seized from him. In 2009, Shatilov was sentenced to 18 years and one month in a penal colony.

A court in Russia's constituent republic of Sakha (Yakutia) has sentenced a soldier to six and a half years in a maximum security penal colony for murder. He stabbed his drinking companion to death in a hotel in the center of Ulan-Ude because, according to the court, the victim expressed himself rudely and obscenely towards the soldier personally and towards all military personnel of the Russian Armed Forces regarding the conduct in the "special military operation."

The Astra Telegram channel, citing its sources, has reported that previously convicted Russian soldiers Aleksey Bulelin and Muntyan Tarasenko shot three civilians in the occupied village of Kokhany in the Kherson region. The bodies of the victims were found after gunfire was heard on March 15.

Arsen Melkonyan, who received his second prison sentence, told journalists that he intends to appeal the verdict and go back to the frontline.

A court in Chita sentenced Sergey Filippov to five years in a penal colony for evading military service. According to the court, on Nov. 9, 2023, he did not show up at the military enlistment office. On Dec. 12, he was detained by military commandant's office staff.

29-year-old Crimean resident Igor S. was detained by the Federal Security Service [FSB] on suspicion of attempting to commit a terrorist act in Sevastopol. According to law enforcement officers, he planted explosives on a gas pipe near the entrance of one of the local high-rise buildings. According to his plan, the blast wave was supposed to reach the apartment of a Russian military serviceman. A criminal case has been opened against him for terrorism, with a potential sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

In the Krasnodar region, a 44-year-old man had 12 TNT blocks seized from him. It was established that the man purchased them from an acquaintance. In the seller's house, a cut-off Mosin rifle and 285 cartridges of various calibers were also found. Criminal cases have been initiated against both detainees.

Children and Educational System

The State Duma hasmade it mandatory to display the Russian flag in all educational institutions, including kindergartens and universities, effective from Sept. 1. In Yekaterinburg, children of war participants will have a priority to be enrolled in the first grade.

Starting from March 11, schools and colleges in all Russian regions are required to organize the "From Rus' to Russia" intellectual game based on Putin’s interview with American journalist Tucker Carlson. Meanwhile, children in Murmansk kindergarten were given toy passports to engage in simulated elections, resulting in a victory for Putin.

The Ministry of Health is developing legal grounds to enable medical students to serve internships in the occupied territories of Ukraine. Currently, students are going there as volunteers, but universities do not recognize such internships.

In Salekhard, Yamalo-Nenets autonomous region [Russia's federal subject], school children and teachers have been forced to weave camouflage nets for the military.


Ratmir Mavliev, the head of the Ufa administration, has ordered an inspection contest for the best maintenance and use of civil defense protective structures.

The Leningrad Regional Committee has expedited the process of transferring land to large families and war participants.


The Cherta [Boundary] independent online media outlet spoke with a lawyer from the Prizyv k Sovesti [Call to Conscience] coalition about what to do if a child is taken to the draft office.

The 7x7—Gorizontalnaya Rossiya [Horizontal Russia] news outlet recounted how residents of Belgorod sought shelter from shelling during the elections. Despite the life-threatening situation, the voter turnout, according to the election commission, reached 87%, with over 90% voting for Putin.

Fontanka shared the stories of several wives and relatives of Russian soldiers who tried to send packages to the frontline but encountered numerous problems.