mobilization briefs
March 30

Mobilization in Russia for March 28-29, 2024 CIT Volunteer Summary

Crocus City Hall Terrorist Attack

Another person has died in the hospital from gunshot wounds, bringing the confirmed death toll of the Crocus City Hall terrorist attack to 144. Moreover, news broke of the death of Karen Yengibaryan, who had been saving people from the burning venue immediately after the attack. Later, he was taken to a hospital, where he was diagnosed with an acute respiratory infection, likely as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning and cold exposure, but doctors could not save him. Also among the victims was Colonel Timur Myasnikov, a special forces operative from the GRU [Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces]. He had been taking part in the invasion of Ukraine and had returned home on leave a few days before the terrorist attack. Myasnikov received three gunshot wounds and died in the hospital. The Federal Center for Disaster Medicine told TASS [Russian state-owned news agency] that the number of people injured in the terrorist attack reached 382.

In Moscow, the Basmanny District Court has ordered the pre-trial detention of Nazrimad Lutfulloi, a Tajikistan native, on charges of involvement in the terrorist attack, bringing the known number of arrested suspects to nine. The hearing was held behind closed doors. Lutfulloi was detained near the Crocus City Hall venue by the police on the day following the terrorist attack for disorderly conduct, with authorities alleging he used foul language and exhibited provocative behavior. At first, he was sentenced to 15 days of administrative detention, but later the Investigative Committee charged Lutfulloi with participating in the "terrorists’ financial scheme," which authorities claim originated in Ukraine. The court-appointed lawyer told Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] that her client had partially admitted his guilt.

The Investigative Committee also stated that the suspects in the terrorist attack confessed they were moving to the border to "arrive in Kyiv and receive the promised reward," and the terrorists received instructions from an unknown person via Telegram. On March 29, searches were conducted at cryptocurrency exchanges in the Moscow International Business Center, including raids on the offices of ABCeX and Beribit. The Beribit website became unavailable at that moment, and other cryptocurrency exchanges were also shut down. The ABCeX cryptocurrency exchange had just begun operating a month before the terrorist attack. Earlier, Vazhnyye Istorii [IStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet] had found a cryptocurrency wallet of the Islamic State—Khorasan Province (IS-KP) community on Telegram, from which funds were withdrawn immediately after the attack. These funds were traced to the Dubai-based ByBit cryptocurrency exchange.

Reuters, citing a source in the Tajik security services, has reported that this week, the State Committee for National Security of Tajikistan detained nine individuals suspected of having ties to IS-KP. They were arrested in the city of Vahdat, where Saidakrami Rachabalizoda resided, and taken to Dushanbe.

Throughout Russia, migrants are being detained on charges of justifying terrorism. Zhanat Azhylbekov, a 25-year-old citizen of Kyrgyzstan, was detained in Moscow on March 26, according to the Astra Telegram channel. Investigators claim that while at a car wash in the Capitol shopping center in Moscow, he allegedly made statements justifying the act of terror in Crocus City Hall. Consequently, a criminal case was opened against Azhylbekov. In Saint Petersburg, Bahodur Zukhurov, a 26-year-old citizen of Tajikistan, was sent to a pre-trial detention center. According to investigators, he posted "certain comments containing signs of justifying an act of terror" in the Yandex.Food [food delivery service] Telegram chat. In Rubtsovsk, Altai region, a 31-year-old citizen of Uzbekistan was arrested for two months by court. Investigators allege that he publicly commented on the terrorist attack in Crocus City while in a department store. However, the specific content of the accused individual's remarks remains undisclosed.

Following the Crocus City Hall terrorist attack, law enforcement in Saint Petersburg and Moscow have initiated a massive operation to deport migrants. In Saint Petersburg, as reported by the Pervy Otdel [First Department] human rights project, an operation dubbed "Anti-Immigrant" targeting citizens from Central Asian countries is currently underway. Law enforcement officers are transporting migrants in buses to the city's overcrowded deportation centers, conducting raids on apartments and dormitories, and preparing buses to transfer migrants to Pulkovo airport. As of March 28, more than 64 foreign nationals were already deported. Reports from the Bumaga [Paper] independent media outlet and the Ostorozhno, Novosti [Beware the News] Telegram channel suggest that near the Petrogradskaya metro station and on the city outskirts, police are inspecting vehicles and detaining men of "Caucasian ethnicity."

Between March 23 and 29, Moscow courts received 1,493 cases involving violations of Russian entry regulations, as uncovered by Vazhnyye Istorii. These cases frequently result in deportation. BBC News Russian had previously reported on the increase in such cases. Moreover, in Belgorod, law enforcement conducted a raid on the Muslim prayer house "Mir I Sozidanie" [Peace and Creation]. Worshippers were asked to present their passports, registration documents, military IDs and other paperwork. Initially, three individuals were detained, possibly from Tajikistan. Following a meeting with Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Vice Speaker of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] Sergey Neverov announced that authorities would implement digital surveillance of migrants. According to Neverov, this measure aims not only to ensure "security for Russian citizens" but also to protect the rights of labor migrants themselves.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

In anticipation of the start of the spring regular conscription, Yevgeny Burdinsky, Chief of the Main Organizational and Mobilization Directorate of the General Staff, assured that conscripts would not be deployed to the war zone. Vice-Admiral Vladimir Tsimlyansky, deputy to Burdinsky, made a similar statement, adding that conscripts would not be sent to "home bases of military units in new regions of Russia."

Earlier, the Vyorstka media outlet, in collaboration with the human rights organization Shkola Prizyvnika [Conscript School], released material on how conscripts can protect themselves from various methods used to coerce them into signing a contract with the Ministry of Defense for participation in war. Today, journalists from the outlet have described how Russians can assert their right to alternative civilian service, identified sources of assistance in resisting the draft office, and outlined the necessary steps to defend one's rights.

According to the Sota media outlet, private companies in the city of Tver have been instructed to submit information about their military-eligible employees to draft offices. Additionally, notices for military service register data check-up are being distributed in the city to individuals whose age, according to a source cited by the publication, "exceeds the draft limits."

Law enforcement officers continue conducting raids targeting men who have obtained Russian citizenship, during which they check their military service registration documents. A recent raid took place in Odintsovo, Moscow region. Additionally, in the Rostov-on-Don raid, 20 individuals who had acquired citizenship but failed to undergo military reserve registration were served draft notices.

Mobilized Soldiers, Volunteer Fighters and Contract Soldiers

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Eduard Ilyinikh, Aleksandr Trokhov and Aleksandr Starkov from the Sverdlovsk region, Sergey Poletaev from Russia’s constituent Republic of Dagestan, Georgiy Ilyin from the Tyumen region and Viktor Abushaev from the Volgograd region.

Based on open sources, Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] and BBC News Russian, together with volunteers, have verified the names of 49,281 Russian fighters killed in Ukraine, including 5,908 mobilized soldiers. Since the last update on March 16, the list has been supplemented with 1,580 soldiers, 143 of whom were mobilized. Mediazona notes that the assault units used to attack Ukrainian positions consist of volunteer fighters and convicts. Mobilized soldiers also take part in combat and suffer casualties, although currently fewer in number compared to their volunteer counterparts.

For the second time, Khabarovsk draftee Viktor Anoshin is being sent to the war in spite of mental health issues that emerged after participation in combat. Authorities confiscated Anoshin’s documents and placed him into a barracks, awaiting the next flight to Ukraine.

Relatives of soldiers who went missing in action in the vicinity of the village of Novoselivske, Luhansk region, in the second half of 2022 are still searching for their loved ones. The relatives complain that "no agency provided any assistance to them during all that time." Furthermore, they were informed by a morgue in Rostov that no bodies had been evacuated from the area where the soldiers disappeared.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

According to Astra, Senior Lieutenant Aleksandr Zubov twice robbed residents of the occupied Enerhodar in the Zaporizhzhia region. In July 2023, Zubov, together with the Police Junior Lieutenant Denys Shumskiy, robbed a local resident at gunpoint, seizing 116,000 rubles [$1,250]. Later, Zubov committed another assault, that time together with Mikhail Polovkov, another local man who joined occupational law enforcement. The pair robbed a man of 175,000 rubles [$1,890] at gunpoint.

The Astrakhan Regional Court has upheld the verdict for former Wagner Group mercenary Nikolay Savenkov, sentencing him to nine years in a maximum security penal colony for murder and attempted murder. The court considered mitigating factors, including post-traumatic stress disorder, participation in the war with Ukraine and awards received. Previously, in 2017, Savenkov was sentenced to ten years in a penal colony for murder. Upon release from the penal colony, he enlisted for the war.

In 2023, military courts received 179 cases related to illegal arms trafficking, marking the highest number since at least 2014. Of these cases, 78 war participants have already been accused. Novaya Gazeta Europe [European edition of the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta] found out that participants of the "special military operation" are involved in arms smuggling, with the trafficking occurring through occupied territories. Some of the weapons smuggled from Ukraine end up on the black market, including "enemy-lost" assault rifles, ammunition and artillery shells.

In March, the Vladimir Garrison Military Court received 11 criminal cases related to soldiers going AWOL. Since the beginning of the war, a total of 118 such cases have been recorded.

The Samara Garrison Military Court has sentenced soldier Dmitry Trenin to one year of probation and payment of compensation for moral damages of 350,000 rubles [$3,780]. Trenin was found guilty of assaulting a woman in the entrance of a residential building in December 2023 while intoxicated, following a remark she made to him.

A criminal case has been initiated against a 15-year-old schoolgirl from Sayanogorsk for a deliberately misleading terrorism act report because of a post on a Telegram channel, where she jokingly suggested blowing up a strategic facility. This offense carries a penalty of imprisonment, with liability starting from the age of 14.

A court in Crimea has sentenced Dmitry Beloglazov to 20 days of arrest for eating a ballot on election day as police approached him. Before consuming the ballot, Beloglazov had drawn on it. Pro-Russian activists claimed that he allegedly supports the Ukrainian Right Sector.


Andrey Budaev, a military man from Buryatia [Russia's constituent republic] who lost both hands and his sight in the war, was given a "smart" speaker by volunteers from the Svoikh ne brosayem [We don't abandon our own] group.

Children and Educational System

During the spring break in Russian educational institutions, events promoting war and service in the army are being held. According to the Ne Norma [Not a norm] Telegram channel, these activities include exhibitions dedicated to soldiers involved in the "special military operation," militarized camps and workshops on making trench candles and camouflage nets.

The press service of the Omsk region government announced that Omsk students were involved in the collection of "humanitarian goods" for Russian soldiers.


The Sever.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet interviewed an ex-convict who, after signing a contract with the Ministry of Defense and participating in the war as part of the Storm-Z unit, ended up free. The interview explored various aspects, including the recruitment process, his experiences during military service, and the challenges he faces in trying to rebuild his life now that he is free.