mobilization briefs
March 9

Mobilization in Russia for March 7-8, 2024 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

The Vyorstka media outlet interviewed a source claiming to have insights into the drafting of two bills seeking to regulate the conditions under which participants of the war against Ukraine can be exempted from criminal liability. According to the source, the initiative aims to demonstrate that "the state is willing to pardon certain criminals in exchange for military exploits." Additionally, the timing of introducing these bills on the eve of the presidential election is seen as intentional, aiming to "create a positive emotional atmosphere for fighters." Lawyer Irina Biryukova highlights the current lack of clarity regarding the procedure followed by heads of penal colonies to release convicts. Since there is currently no defined release on probation procedure for such cases, it is expected that the new bills will address this gap.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

Citing the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation, Reuters reports that Indian intelligence services have exposed a "large human trafficking network," involving the deceptive recruitment of young men into Russia. At least 35 individuals have fallen victim to this scheme. The criminals enticed them with false promises of employment opportunities or educational opportunities in private universities. However, upon arrival, the victims underwent military training and were subsequently coerced into participating in the war against Ukraine. Indian law enforcement has indicated that they have detained a number of suspects for interrogation and seized over $600,000 during searches.

BBC News Russian reports that Russian law enforcement officers not only look for drugs and LGBT propaganda while conducting raids on night clubs and sex parties but also check whether guests are evading military service.

The Idite Lesom! [Flee through the woods/Get lost you all] human right project reported that a young man from Belgorod, who arrived at a military commissariat [enlistment office] with a draft notice, was offered a deferment from statutory military service in exchange for voting for Putin. However, no independent sources have verified this information.

Mobilized Soldiers, Volunteer Fighters and Contract Soldiers

The list of the mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Aleksandr Rakitin, Mikhail Maslakov and Yevgeny Kalinichenko from the Sverdlovsk region, Aleksandr Fomin from the Kursk region and Bayaskhalan Dorzhiev from Russia's constituent republic of Buryatia.

Based on open sources, Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] and BBC News Russian, together with volunteers, have verified the names of 46,678 Russian fighters killed in Ukraine, including 5,627 mobilized soldiers. Since the last update on Feb. 19, the list has been supplemented with 2,024 soldiers, 273 of whom were mobilized. According to the BBC, this number is among the highest ever recorded during the full-scale invasion, comparable to figures recorded during the extensive Russian offensive in the Donbas in the winter of 2023.

Vazhnyye Istorii [IStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet] analyzed the list of 2,000 Russian prisoners of war published by the Hochu Zhit [I Want to Live] project. According to their findings, 64 individuals from the list were considered deceased, among them Roman Grovich, whose helicopter was shot down on Feb. 24, 2022, during a landing in Hostomel. Additionally, at least 66 individuals were categorized as missing in action.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

In the city of Rostov-on-Don, the chairman of the military-patriotic organization Don Front, Vitaly Makovetsky, has been detained. A search conducted by authorities resulted in the confiscation of approximately a dozen Thompson submachine guns, a Shpagin’s submachine gun (PPSh-41) and a Sudayev’s submachine gun (PPS), with all weapons except for the PPS found to be operational. Makovetsky is now facing criminal charges for illegal arms trafficking. He has asserted that the seized weapons were intended for use as props in the reconstruction of historical battles. It is worth noting that a large quantity of World War II-era weapons, including Thompson, PPS and PPSh-41submachine guns, ended up in the hands of Wagner Group mercenaries after the capture of the town of Soledar.

The Sirena publication has compiled several cases where men returning from the war have been violent towards women. Disturbingly, in many of these cases, the attackers have received lenient sentences, such as suspended sentences, minor fines, or wage deductions. These acts of violence encompass grave offenses, including murder, stabbing in the abdomen, and severe beatings.

Putin has signed a decree granting a pardon to 52 convicted women, including pregnant women, women whose relatives are participating in the "special military operation," and those with underage children.

A court in Vladimir has sentenced ex-convict Pavel Dryakhlov to one year of probation for purchasing 1 gram of mephedrone, which he kept in the barracks. The soldier had previously been repeatedly convicted of committing thefts and drunk driving. However, instead of serving his sentence, he went to the frontline.

The same court has sentenced mobilized private Aleksandr Safronov, who was previously convicted of going AWOL, to one year of imprisonment for assaulting a person. In August 2023, while intoxicated, Safronov assaulted a person during a quarrel. The court took into account his participation in the war in Ukraine as a mitigating factor in the sentencing.

Volunteer fighter Aleksandr Leshkov, who was sentenced to seven years of imprisonment for assaulting an officer in the Patriot Park near Moscow, has broken his leg while playing football in a penal colony. Despite the injury, the Federal Penitentiary Service administration has refused to perform surgery for over a month. Leshkov has allegedly attempted to go to the frontline from the colony multiple times and even signed a contract, but his requests were denied.

The Abakan Garrison Military Court has sentenced service member Denis Novikov to six years of probation for going AWOL and ordered him to return to service. In October 2022, Novikov initially signed a four-month contract with the Ministry of Defense; however, due to mobilization, his contract effectively became open-ended. In the summer of 2023, Novikov left the unit without permission to take care of his sick wife and three children, but he was brought back to the unit by the commandant's office a few days later. In early August, the contract soldier once again left the unit. Subsequently, in October, after a criminal case was opened, he appeared at the military investigation department.

In the Moscow region, a 28-year-old man has been detained for attempting to set fire to the residence of Valery Kashin, the CEO of a precision weapons design bureau. During the night from March 5 to March 6, Kashin threw a Molotov cocktail at the building facade. Fire did not break out, and law enforcement detained the arsonist on the spot. According to the suspect, telephone impostors coerced him into committing the arson. A criminal investigation has been initiated, and the man is now facing charges of attempted murder.

A former student of a military academy, Vladislav Boyarshinov, has been sentenced to 12 years in a penal colony for treason against the state. He was accused of collecting data that, according to investigators, could be used against Russia's security.

In the Samara region, a search was conducted at the home of Pavel Chalov's mother in connection with the explosion of a bridge in Chapayevsk. Chalov is a local political activist. Following the search, the woman was taken to the Federal Security Service (FSB). On March 4, unknown individuals used explosives to damage a railway bridge in Chapayevsk.

Sergey Popov, a resident of Tambov, who brought flowers to honor Alexei Navalny’s memory on March 1, has been detained by the police six days later. The exact charges against Popov are currently unknown. According to neighbors, the detained man is responsible for caring for his elderly parents, who depend on his assistance.


In Buryatia, participants in the war in Ukraine and their closest relatives will be granted priority when seeking assistance from local authorities. Meanwhile, Governor of the Primorsky region [Russia's federal subject] Oleg Kozhemyako has reported that some families of soldiers killed in action during the invasion have been provided with new apartments.

Saint Petersburg authorities have allocated 3,16 billion rubles [$34.84 million] for the  construction of defensive fortifications and the procurement of medical supplies to protect the city's unemployed population.

The Governor of the Arkhangelsk region has decided to contribute an old service PAZ bus to the combat zone. As a result, city public works personnel, who previously relied on the vehicle for transportation, will now need to walk to work. Meanwhile, in the town of Dmitrov, near Moscow, school children used funds collected during a school fair to purchase a drone, which they then sent to participants in the "special military operation."

The Mozhem Ob'yasnit [We Can Explain] Telegram channel has examined the gifts received by war widows on March 8th. In Ryazan, a vocalist sang to widows about "love and fidelity," and a florist conducted a master class. The head of Barnaul presented a yogurt maker to a widow raising three children of a killed soldier, while families of the deceased in the Lipetsk and Tula regions were promised a payment of 10,000 rubles [$110] each.

Children and Educational System

In Simferopol, plans are underway to construct a military sports complex to educate school children in military professions.


In Rostov-on-Don, a military hospital has been opened in the maternity hospital building, resulting in the redirection of patients to alternative medical facilities. Consequently, a woman who went into labor the next day had to travel to Novocherkassk to give birth. The regional Ministry of Health has confirmed that the maternity hospital's operations are suspended "for the period of final disinfection," with medical assistance supposedly set to resume in a new building.

Polling stations in the Jewish Autonomous region and Vladimir were named after soldiers killed in Ukraine. In Vladimir, a school and a street have already been named in honor of a general who was killed in the war. Notably, a polling station in Buryatia was also named after a soldier who was killed.


The Times has published an article detailing how Chechen soldiers are buying Ukrainian prisoners of war from different Russian units. The prisoners are then taken to Grozny, where they are exchanged for Chechen soldiers held by Ukrainian forces. Earlier reports had indicated a similar exchange process, with Chechen soldiers being released first, as documented in reports from a Ukrainian PoW camp.

The ASTRA Telegram channel has collected stories from former fighters of the Storm-Z unit who have returned from the war and found themselves unwanted. Many of them are expressing their intention to return to the frontline out of despair.

Vyorstka has analyzed what the past two years have been like for Russian women. Due to mobilization and emigration, there has been a labor shortage, leading to an increased invitation for women to take on management positions. At the same time, Russian women have faced significant reproductive pressure, with some private clinics in eight regions refusing to perform abortions. Moreover, women are reporting incidents of violence and stalking from men returning from the war. The war has also impacted the situation with alimony debt, resulting in many Russian women receiving financial support from their children's fathers for the first time in years.

More than 2,500 Russian healthcare workers have moved to occupied regions in Ukraine following the outbreak of the war. Vyorstka has examined how the healthcare sector operates in areas currently under Russian occupation and has explored the perspectives and experiences of the doctors involved.

Leonid Chaly from the Movement of Conscientious Objectors [human rights organization supporting those who refuse to perform military service] has sustained a closed head injury at a military commissariat in Saint Petersburg. Reportedly, the staff physically assaulted him and threw him down the stairs. Chaly has been attempting to initiate a criminal case for the past month and a half.