mobilization briefs
April 2

Mobilization in Russia for March 31-April 1, 2024 CIT Volunteer Summary

Crocus City Hall Terrorist Attack

According to Reuters, Iran alerted Russia about the threat of a major terrorist operation planned by IS-KP several days before the heinous attack on Moscow's Crocus City Hall. This information was acquired during interrogations of those arrested in connection with explosions in Iran on Jan. 3 at a remembrance ceremony for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’s general Qasem Soleimani, one of the sources told Reuters. On Jan. 19, Iran’s intelligence services announced the arrest of a commander of the Afghanistan-based branch of IS-KP.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said in a statement that the "foreign citizens" detained on March 31 in Dagestan [Russia’s constituent republic] during the counter-terrorism operation had allegedly provided money and arms for the attack on Crocus, and were preparing another attack targeting "large gatherings" in the city of Kaspiysk.

Moscow’s Basmanny District Court arrested Yakubjoni Yusufzoda, the tenth suspected accomplice of the perpetrators of the terrorist attack. The suspect is reported to have provided money for accommodation for the gunmen. Days before the attack, Yusufzoda allegedly transferred money to his accomplice to guarantee his accommodation. Another part of the funds was transferred to one of the gunmen after the shooting, the Russian Investigative Committee claims. Yusufzoda was detained on March 25 and remanded in custody for 12 days after attempting to escape from police and actively resisting arrest once he was caught.

Askhab Uspanov, a Chechnya native, died in police custody a few hours after being detained after a terrorist attack at Crocus City Hall. According to Uspanov’s mother, he was detained as he was heading to his wife’s place of work, where a conflict arose between him and a group of policemen. Two hours later, Uspanov’s wife reached the police precinct and was informed that her husband had died. The Chechen opposition movement 1ADAT, which first reported the death of Uspanov, wrote that he had been tortured to death. There is no independent confirmation of this information.

After the terrorist attack at Crocus City, raids aimed at migrants have been conducted across Russia. Law enforcement agencies are searching for foreigners who are in the country in violation of immigration laws. In addition to Moscow and Saint Petersburg, the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region–Yugra [Russia's federal subject], Bashkortostan [Russia’s constituent republic], the Volgograd and Novosibirsk regions also saw such roundups. In Novosibirsk, the Russian Voluntary People's Guard joined official authorities in conducting the raid. Migrant rights activist Valentina Chupik said that around 8,500 migrants had contacted human rights activists with regards to harassment, complaining of beatings, illegal evictions, and alleged fabricated violations of immigration rules.

At the request of the Vyorstka media outlet, two orientalists studied online chats and Telegram channels that disseminate ISIS propaganda on the Internet. They reported back on how these channels operate and how the recruitment process works.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs drafted a bill seeking to:

  • Halve the maximum duration that foreigners are allowed to stay in Russia without a visa, from 90 days per 6-month period to 90 days per year;
  • Make fingerprinting and photos mandatory for all foreigners entering the country.
  • Issue special identification cards to foreigners;
  • Keep track of foreign workers in a dedicated registry confirming their right to gainful employment, while listing employers who authorized to hire foreigners in another registry;
  • Grant federal agencies the authority to deport foreigners without seeking a court order.

Additionally, Russian authorities want to establish an agency dedicated to ethnic affairs and migration.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

Russia’s federal subjects are disclosing their plans for the spring regular conscription campaign. According to Igor Yegorov, Military Commissar for the Rostov region, authorities plan to summon 25,000 residents to draft offices and call up 5,000 of theminto the Armed Forces. They will continue to rely on paper draft notices, as the registry of digital draft notices is not expected to launch until the regular conscription campaign in fall. For their part, Tyumen regional authorities plan to summon 10,000 residents to draft offices and call up 1,800 of them. Meanwhile, the Deputy Director of the State Inspectorate for Road Traffic Safety for the Kurgan region stressed that individuals evading military service will be barred from taking driving tests until they resolve all conscription-related issues, in line with new restrictions that entered into force on April 1.

The online media outlets Sirena and Meduza have highlighted the key points to know about the new call-up for regular conscription, while journalists from the Mozhem Ob'yasnit [We Can Explain] Telegram channel discussed the peculiarities of this conscription campaign with military law specialists, focusing on how to maximize safety for oneself and loved ones during it. The Sever.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet found that the number of convicted draft dodgers has been increasing year by year, with over 1500 people convicted in 2022 and the first half of 2023. Most of them were fined, with only one person sentenced to a year of imprisonment.

In March 2024, at least 182 residents of the Vladimir region signed contracts with the Ministry of Defense. This number is 66 fewer than in February but 48 more than in January, according to journalists from Zebra TV [pro-Russian media outlet of the Vladimir region]. Their calculations were based on photographs from ceremonies sending Vladimir residents off to war.

Authorities and Relatives of Mobilized Soldiers

The Put Domoy [Way Home] movement, which unites the wives of mobilized soldiers, announced that they would organize an event called the "Empty Pots March." Women intend to come out onto their balconies and bang on empty pots on April 6 at 5:00 p.m. They aim to "express their protest against the repressive regime of the authorities." They chose this format for its safety.

Mobilized Soldiers, Volunteer Fighters and Contract Soldiers

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Aleksey Sursyakov from the Perm region [Russia’s federal subject], Valery Yerburov from the Irkutsk region, Oleg Beloglazov, Eduard Timukhin, and Ivan Budakov from the Sverdlovsk region, and Yevgeny Miroshnikov from the Volgograd region.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

A Federal Penitentiary Service employee was murdered in Kemerovo. Preliminary reports suggest that the alleged murderer is a member of Rosgvardia [the Russian National Guard] and a “combat veteran,” however, it is unclear whether he was involved in the invasion of Ukraine. The incident reportedly began when the victim intervened on behalf of a woman who was in a dispute with the Rosgvardia officer. The two men stepped outside, where the member of Rosgvardia retrieved a pistol from his vehicle, knocked his opponent to the ground, and fired several shots at close range. The police have detained the officer and initiated a criminal case for murder.

The Omsk Garrison Military Court has sentenced serviceman Nikita Sekrier to five and a half years in prison for going AWOL. According to the prosecution, Sekrier left his military unit on Dec. 9, 2023, and was detained on Feb. 6, 2024.

The Voyennye Advokaty [Military Lawyers] Telegram channel has reported two minimal sentences for failure to execute orders by contract soldiers who previously participated in the war with Ukraine. In the Murmansk region, contract soldier Aleksandr S. was sentenced to two years in a penal settlement for refusing to obey an order during mobilization. In the Primorsky region, contract soldier Pavel K. received a similar sentence. In both cases, the courts cited participation in the war, the presence of a minor child, and positive character references as mitigating factors. Voyennye Advokaty noted that in practice there have been no cases of suspended sentences for refusing to execute an order to go to a combat zone. As a rule, courts impose sentences of two to three years of imprisonment in a penal settlement.

A draft officer from Samara, Vyacheslav Artyushkin, was caught taking bribes from conscripts. According to investigators, for eight years he helped conscripts avoid the army for sums ranging from 60,000 [$650] to 80,000 rubles [$860]. Artyushkin has been arrested until May 26.

Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet], discovered that a person named Konovalov accused of high treason was arrested in Moscow, on March 28. The exact nature of the accusations against him is unknown as the materials of the treason case are classified and court hearings are held behind closed doors.

In Tomsk, law enforcement officers searched the homes of sisters Aksinya and Nika Sarycheva, members of the "Malyshki [Babes] 18:22" art group. The sisters are witnesses in the high treason case against Pyotr Verzilov [a Russian-Canadian artist and activist]. According to Mediazona, the officers were "looking for contacts" of Verzilov, and the artists were released right after the search. In mid-March, the police conducted searches in the homes of several artists in various cities across Russia as part of the case against Verzilov.

The Russian Railways [Russian fully state-owned railway company] has started threatening potential arsonists who target railway facilities with criminal charges for terrorism. A poster with the corresponding message has been displayed at the Vologda train station.


The All-Russian Children's Center Orlyonok in the Krasnodar region has issued a tender for the procurement of two portable devices for suppressing drones, totaling 1.6 million rubles [$17,300].

Children and Educational System

In the village of Rakula in the Arkhangelsk region, a "charity event" was held at the local club, where children were photographed in balaclavas with toy guns.