mobilization briefs
March 23

Mobilization in Russia for March 21-22, 2024 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

The Association of Banks of Russia has sent a letter to the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia], after a group of lawmakers introduced a bill to write-off the loans taken by participants of the war against Ukraine who acquire a second-degree disability. The letter calls for the creation of a mechanism to compensate the losses, which banks would incur as a result of the write-offs.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

Citing four sources close to the Kremlin and the Ministry of Defense, the Vyorstka media outlet writes that Russian authorities are planning a mass recruitment drive into the Armed Forces. The sources claim that the Ministry of Defense needs an additional 300,000 troops to encircle the city of Kharkiv. According to them, the authorities might coerce conscripts to enlist and call up citizens from the mobilization reserve. The media outlet confirmed that a number of Moscow draft offices are currently busy preparing certificates for employees of eligible organizations to exempt them from mobilization. Meanwhile, sources within the Ministry of Defense indicated that it might mobilize, or pressure into signing a contract, at least some of the reservists, who are expected to take part in upcoming military training courses. At one point, Vyorstka’s website stopped responding, which the media outlet linked to the publication of its report three hours earlier.

The Voyennye Advokaty [Military Lawyers] Telegram channel has published a comprehensive post providing guidance on how to act if authorities resume their mobilization efforts. The post also explains who could be called up, who is entitled to an exemption, how draft notices are served, and what are the legal risks for failing to appear.

According to Forbes, the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of Russia plans to spend 3.8 billion rubles [$41.35 million] on creating a digital register of Russians subject to military service. Reportedly, it aims to launch the platform before the end of the year.

As reported by the Movement of Conscientious Objectors [human rights organization supporting those who refuse to perform military service], electronic draft notices are being distributed in Moscow through [official portal of Moscow city administration]. The notices are sent for the purpose of "military registry check-up." As the movement states, young men cannot be fined or face criminal charges for ignoring these draft notices due to the absence of necessary bylaws as well as the military and draft e-registry. Human rights activists do not recommend reporting to military commissariats [enlistment offices] after receiving such draft notices and warn of possible roundups and illegal expedited conscription procedures. Earlier, Chairman of the State Duma Defense Committee Andrey Kartapolov stated that electronic draft notices in Moscow will be used starting with the spring conscription of 2024.

Russia’s "Presidential Election"

An extensive article on the "Shpilkin method," which is used to analyze electoral fraud in Russia, has been published in Novaya Gazeta Europe [the European edition of the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta].

There could have been a ballot stuffing incident in Cyprus, where more than 35,000 votes were cast under the guise of early voting, according to the Sota media outlet. The Central Election Commission states that 53,000 people, or 15 percent of all overseas voters (380,000 people), were able to vote in Cyprus. Nearly 37,000 people voted early, compared to 16,000 on Election Day. This means that half of all early Russian voters abroad voted in Cyprus.

The mobile court in Kaliningrad mandated compulsory treatment for Olga Nedvetskaya, a member of the precinct electoral commission. Observers and witnesses were not allowed to attend the hearing. We previously reported on Nedvetskaya's arrest by the General Directorate for Countering Extremism of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, known as "Center E," in one of our previous summaries. In Nizhny Novgorod, a local resident who attempted to set off fireworks at a polling station was sent for psychiatric evaluation. The 45-year-old woman was detained on March 16. In Irkutsk, the Federal Security Service (FSB) searched the apartment of a 55-year-old man who believes the action was due to him spoiling a ballot in the presence of a police officer during the elections. In Vladikavkaz, a 19-year-old girl was detained for defacing a ballot with "Thief. No to War" written on it before placing it in the ballot box during the voting on March 17. She was subsequently taken to a police station.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

In Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, a man took a woman hostage in his apartment. For several hours, he held her captive and threatened violence, holding a knife to her throat. Special service officers managed to free the woman, and the man was apprehended. According to the Baza Telegram channel, the detainee is 32-year-old local resident Nikita Sh., previously convicted of causing grievous bodily harm. He joined the war effort from prison and returned on March 5 after sustaining injuries.

In Vladivostok, an explosion occurred in one of the apartments. Footage shared on social media shows that the blast shattered a window in the entrance hall, and a fire began. As a result, a teenager was injured, and a criminal case has been initiated under the article related to improper performance of duties in weapon protection. Reportedly, the injured teenager had found a grenade in a forest and brought it home.

In Kurgan, Andrey Frolov, a 34-year-old former mercenary of the Wagner Group, has been detained for sexually assaulting a 9-year-old second-grade student, leading to arrest and charges of sexual violence against him. Frolov, who has previously been convicted of rape, murder, carjacking, and other crimes, joined the war effort from prison in November 2022. After receiving a pardon from Putin, he was set free in May 2023.

In Makhachkala, a 48-year-old officer of Rosgvardia [Russian National Guard], recently returned from war, struck two pedestrians, resulting in the immediate death of a 13-year-old boy and leaving a 39-year-old woman to be sent to a hospital. Police in Dagestan [Russia’s constituent Republic] reported that the driver was intoxicated and fled the scene of the accident.

In Yekaterinburg, a 43-year-old man was arrested after it was found that he had brought back more than 600 rounds of ammunition from the frontline "for training purposes." Two of his friends were also taken into custody alongside him. Criminal charges have been filed against the men for illegal weapons trafficking.

In Russia's constituent republic of Sakha (Yakutia), a previously convicted former member of the Wagner Group brutally assaulted his pregnant cohabitant at the end of 2023, resulting in the loss of her unborn child and numerous injuries. The community group "You Are Not Alone, Yakutia is With You" assisted the woman in filing a complaint with the prosecutor's office. Only after this did authorities initiate a criminal case for intentional infliction of medium-severity harm. The former mercenary has been arrested and is currently being held in a pre-trial detention center.

The Vladimir court sentenced a mobilized soldier Aleksey Nadezhdin to 3 years in a penal settlement for going AWOL. The man left military service to undergo medical treatment after being diagnosed with depression and PTSD. Nadezhdin complained of tremors of hands and head as well as leg and back pain. The court ruled the man’s symptoms were "imaginary."

A 23-year-old woman from Kirov has been detained because of a Molotov cocktail thrown into the regional government building. On March 20, the young woman came to the government building, broke a window, and threw a Molotov cocktail and a package of firecrackers through the opening. The fire that erupted was quickly extinguished and nobody was injured. Reportedly, the woman agreed to commit the act of arson in exchange for the return of 4 million rubles [$43,500] that scammers stole from her earlier.

Arkhangelsk region resident Ruslan Gubkin was sentenced to three years in a penal colony for inciting arson at draft offices. The young man was found guilty under the article of inciting actions against the security of Russia on the internet. The pretext for his persecution were some posts calling for setting fire to draft offices published in one of the messenger apps. Gubkin was detained near a draft office building in Ilyinsko-Podomskoye village during the night of Oct. 27, 2023.

The Second Eastern District Military Court is hearing a criminal case against 13 individuals accused of setting fire to relay cabinets. They are charged with "sabotage," committed in a group and planning an act of terror, also in a group setting. According to the prosecution, from December 2022 to January 2023, they committed acts of sabotage at strategically important sites in Moscow and the Krasnoyarsk region and attempted an act of terror at a military unit in the Primorsky region. It is worth noting that the defendants were detained at different times and in various regions across Russia.

In Krasnodar, three men and a woman were detained for arson of a battery cabinet at the MZhK platform on March 16. They allegedly agreed to commit the arson for a reward of 45,000 rubles [$490], promised by a "handler" from social networks. A criminal case on the charge of an act of terror has been initiated against the detainees.

In the Lipetsk region, a 17-year-old student was detained who, according to investigators, planned to set fire to the draft office in the town of Dankov. On March 13, she allegedly prepared several Molotov cocktails, intending to set fire to the draft office the next day. She is currently in the Lipetsk Regional Psychiatric Hospital, with a criminal case for preparing an act of terror initiated against her.

The Saratov Regional Court has sentenced two students from a local college in connection with an unsuccessful arson attempt at the Zhasminnaya railway station. In May 2023, an unidentified individual allegedly offered a young man 30,000 rubles [$330] to set fire to two relay cabinets. Both students were found guilty of attempting sabotage. 20-year-old Ruslan Gashumov was sentenced to 9.5 years in a maximum security penal colony. His female friend, who was under 18 at the time of the crime, was sentenced to 4.5 years in a penal colony.

The FSB has accused an activist from the Citizens of the USSR movement of preparing to set fire to a military unit in Yekaterinburg after discovering bottles filled with a flammable liquid in the trunk of his car. He is facing up to 20 years in prison.

The Voronezh Regional Court has sentenced local resident Aleksandr Dimitrenko to 23 years in a penal colony after finding him guilty of treason, preparing for sabotage, and illegal storage of explosives. According to the FSB, Dimitrenko was preparing to blow up a railway station. Dimitrenko himself claims that law enforcement officers planted the explosives on him and that he was subjected to torture.

The FSB arrested a "supporter of the Russian Volunteer Corps," allegedly planning acts of terror in the town of Valuyki, Belgorod region. According to the ASTRA Telegram channel, the detained may be 47-year-old Yury Yaroshenko. As per the agency's statement, explosive devices, a "vial of liquid" intended for poisoning food for Russian soldiers, and a grenade were seized from the man.

FSB officers apprehended a resident of Dzerzhinsk, Nizhny Novgorod region, for distributing leaflets urging people to join a militarized radical movement controlled by Ukrainian intelligence services. Law enforcement officials also allege that he filmed and photographed military facilities in the region. A criminal case for publicly justifying terrorism has been initiated against the man.

A Komsomolsk-on-Amur resident has been arrested on charges of "state treason." The FSB alleges that the man communicated online with representatives of the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine "to provide information exposing the operations of a defense facility in the Khabarovsk region, enabling the enemy to plan and carry out sabotage."

The FSB has reported the killing of a man in the occupied city of Berdiansk, who allegedly "planned an act of terror" and was involved in "the murder of a Russian officer." Law enforcement officers claim that he resisted arrest, leading to his death.

The agency has also announced the arrest of seven individuals from Moscow who allegedly supported the Russian Volunteer Corps. According to law enforcement officers, the detainees were "discussing ways to carry out violent actions against law enforcement agents, military personnel, and foreigners."

The Dzhankoi court, Crimea, sentenced a man to 7 years in prison for "possession of a bomb." The court ruled that the man had purchased and stored the device "at the request of the Security Service of Ukraine [SBU]."

A court in Saint Petersburg has registered an appeal against the arrest request for Ukrainian citizen Vladyslav Suhakov, who is accused of espionage.


In the Perm region [Russia’s federal subject], mobilized soldiers, contract soldiers, Rosgvardia members, and special rank police officers have been exempted from paying the transport tax. However, the Gumcenter Omsk, which supports Russian soldiers with aid, has reported receiving no funding.

Schoolchildren in Tatarstan [Russia’s constituent Republic] are making devices for reloading rifles using a 3D printer. In Karelia [Russia’s constituent Republic], students from one of the schools are being urged to participate in the charitable campaign "Spring Mood for You, Hero!" and assemble parcels for the soldiers fighting in Ukraine.

Children and Educational System

Danil Shargan, a participant in the war with Ukraine and the head of the Alpha military-sports center, has published a video of a "drill training session" in which he encourages children to kill Ukrainians. Additionally, Shagran claims to be using profanity in the presence of children. Previously, a resident of Novosibirsk accused Shargan of beating her 10-year-old son with a stick, which resulted in the child's hospitalization.

In Russia’s constituent Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, Mekhak Grigoryan, a convicted robber and member of the Wagner Group, has been conducting "lessons of courage" for children.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has discovered more than 200 reports of schools creating museums dedicated to the war with Ukraine. Children who regularly attend classes in such museums are expected to develop the belief that Russia is in grave danger and must be defended.

Authorities of the Vladimir region have ordered to issue free vouchers to health camps to children of participants in the war with Ukraine, as well as to children from the occupied territories.


For the last two years, Tyva, Buryatia, and Chechnya [Russia's constituent republics] have become leaders in growth in the volume of private bank deposits. Experts attribute this to the "active participation" of residents in the war with Ukraine. In Tyva, the number of deposits increased by 127.5%, in Buryatia by 69.5%, and in Chechnya by 66.9%. Tyva and Buryatia topped the list of regions with the highest ratio of war casualties to their population. The casualty rate reached 48.6 deaths per 10,000 men aged 16 to 61 in Tyva and 36.7 in Buryatia, with Saint Petersburg (2.5) and Moscow (1) ranking at the bottom of the list.

A militaristic exhibition was opened in the town of Sudogda, Vladimir region. According to the regional government, "the exhibition features portraits and biographies of 29 Heroes of Russia, including veterans of the Great Patriotic War, participants of the special military operation, and military conflicts in Georgia and Syria." The Special Military Operation Museum has been opened in Nizhny Novgorod. The mayor of Yaroslavl announced the construction of a memorial to the fallen in the war with Ukraine.

The Khanty-Mansi autonomous region–Yugra [Russia's federal subject] plans to create a sperm bank for war participants without children.