mobilization briefs
March 6

Mobilization in Russia for March 4-5, 2024 CIT Volunteer Summary

Alexei Navalny’s Death

In Moscow, law enforcement officers have begun executing arrest warrants against participants of protests in memory of Alexei Navalny. Specifically, they visited Polina Orekhova in her home and took the young woman to a police station. She has been charged with an administrative offense for violating public event regulations, due to her participation in the protest on Academician Sakharov Avenue on Feb. 17. The officers confiscated her phone, and her number is currently unreachable. On the morning of March 5, plainclothes police officers arrested Yegor Komlev as he was leaving his home. They took him to the station, photographed him and confiscated his passport. The charges against him have not been made public. According to Komlev, he laid flowers on Feb. 16 and 17 and attended Navalny’s funeral on March 1. Officers mentioned identifying him through CCTV footage. The General Directorate for Countering Extremism of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, known as "Center E," arrested Moscow resident Elena Gribkova and took her to a police station. She had been detained earlier during the rally in memory of Navalny on Feb. 17 but was released on the same day with a warning. The same occurred with Elena Levina, who also took part in the rally in memory of Navalny on Feb. 17. The OVD-Info independent human rights project reported that, as of 3pm on March 5, law enforcement officers had executed at least five arrest warrants in Moscow during March 1-5, totaling 19 across the country.

A court in Ulan-Ude fined local resident Svetlana Vachelanova 25,000 rubles [$270] for organizing a public event without authorization. On Feb. 17, she visited a monument to victims of political repressions with her husband. The authorities classified her act of placing a photo of Alexei Navalny at the foot of the monument as a "group protest."

The OVD-Info project spoke with people standing in line at Navalny's grave. A report from the farewell was also released by the Sota media outlet. Journalists from the Bumaga [Paper] independent media outlet interviewed two residents of Saint Petersburg who received draft notices after laying flowers at memorials for Alexei Navalny.

Authorities and Relatives of Mobilized Soldiers

In response to politician Boris Vishnevsky's demand for a decree to end mobilization, the presidential administration stated that mobilization will only end after "the circumstances that served as the basis for the draft cease to exist." The response also mentioned that the department regularly rotates soldiers, allegedly sending them to rear areas for rest and granting them leaves "in accordance with established procedures."

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

Representatives of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) [right-wing populist and ultranationalist political party] introduced a bill in the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] proposing deferment from military service for employees of military-industrial complex enterprises. Previously, they were granted a draft deferral certificate, but there was no talk of deferment from conscription.

Mobilized Soldiers, Volunteer Fighters and Contract Soldiers

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Yevgeny Matviev, Grigory Khalfiev and Aleksey Balievskikh from the Sverdlovsk region, Sergey Kuznetsov from the Krasnoyarsk region, Yury Shiryaev from Russia’s constituent Republic of Dagestan and Nikolay Kosarev from the Rostov region.

In Russia’s constituent Republic of Chuvashia, during the funeral of a contract soldier who was killed in the war with Ukraine, district authorities failed to pay for the transportation of his body and did not clear the street where he lived of snow. As a result, the serviceman's family had to hire a tractor and clear the road at their own expense to allow the funeral procession to reach the house.

A wounded mobilized soldier from the Moscow region risks being sent back to the war if he fails to return to his military unit from the hospital where he is awaiting surgery. The soldier's wife reported that individuals in civilian clothes visited their home several times looking for her husband, despite his hospitalization. They claimed that the mobilized soldier was wanted and would be brought to the military unit as soon as he was located.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

Ilya Kanakhin, a participant in the war with Ukraine, was detained in the Ulyanovsk region on suspicion of murder. He beat a 26-year-old woman to death during a drunken quarrel, then dumped her body in the cellar and attempted to decapitate and dismember her. Kanakhin has a criminal record, including previous murder convictions. He was first convicted in 2010 and later released on parole from a penal colony. In 2020, he was sentenced to 16 years of imprisonment for another murder. After serving two years, he enlisted in the war as part of the Wagner Group and received a pardon.

In the occupied city of Melitopol, previously convicted Russian soldiers shot local resident Dmitry Shinkarenko. His body was found by other residents on March 3. Later, Yury Morkovkin, Ramil Shambaev and Aleksandr Mikhailovsky, soldiers from the 291st Motorized Rifle Regiment, were detained on suspicion of the crime.

The Borzya Garrison Military Court has sentenced soldier Valery Zelensky to two years and three months in a penal settlement for failure to execute orders during an armed conflict. Initially, Zelensky verbally and then in writing refused to participate in combat operations and to deploy for combat and special tasks. This marks the 18th case of failure to execute orders received by the Borzya Garrison Military Court from 2023 to 2024.

The prosecutor has demanded a 16-year sentence for former war participant Stanislav Ionkin. In November 2022, a fire broke out in the Kostroma nightclub called Polygon, resulting in the death of 13 people. During a conflict with other visitors, Ionkin fired a flare gun at the club's ceiling.

Since the beginning of the year, Russian courts in annexed Crimea have issued 52 sentences for “discrediting the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.” In total, since the start of the full-scale invasion, Crimean courts have issued 612 rulings on "discrediting."

Children and Educational System

A school in Naro-Fominsk, Moscow region, urged students and their parents to make trench candles for the military as part of a "patriotic" campaign.


Students and scientists from the East Siberian State University of Technology and Management in Ulan-Ude, Buryatia [Russia's constituent republic], plan to develop a recipe for instant beverages for the military. They will receive a grant from the Russian Science Foundation to finance the project.

A government official from the Samara region, after facing criminal prosecution, was appointed to a new position instead of being sent to the frontline. Oleg Ivakhin, former Deputy Mayor of Samara, resigned in the autumn of 2023 after a criminal case was initiated against him for exceeding his official powers. Ivakhin paid an extra 20.7 million rubles [$226,400] to a contractor for road repairs. Member of the State Duma Alexander Khinshtein wrote that the official had planned to go to war, but in March, he was appointed deputy head of the Stavropol district in the Samara region for Housing and Communal Services and Construction.

In 2023, the average length of the workday in Russia exceeded seven hours, reaching 7 hours and 10 minutes. This marks a record for the past 19 years. Compared to the previous year, the increase was 4 minutes, according to RBC [Russian media group] citing Rosstat data. Experts surveyed by the publication attribute the increase in workday duration to a labor shortage in the Russian market.


A Russian officer, who spent three months delivering zinc coffins with the bodies of soldiers to the Zabaykalsky region [Russia's federal subject], shared his experiences with Mediazona [an independent Russian media outlet]. He detailed the organization of transferring "Cargo 200" to relatives in Russia, the treatment of the deceased, and the experience of delivering coffins containing the bodies of fallen soldiers to their mothers and widows.

The Novaya Vkladka [New Tab] media outlet reported on how a positive image of war is cultivated among children and how publishing houses, theaters, schools, Rosgvardia [the Russian National Guard] and the church come together to promote this narrative. To mold preschoolers and schoolchildren into "true patriots," stories, fairy tales, plays, toys, cartoons, and even comics are employed.