mobilization briefs
May 15, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for May 12–14, 2023 CIT volunteer summary

Authorities and Legislation

The Ministry of Defense and the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces adopted two new documents, which exclude from combat operations some servicemen in the "V" service fitness category [those deemed to be only partially fit for military service]. Specifically, servicemen suffering from HIV, tuberculosis, and hepatitis should be discharged from military service, whereas those with mental illnesses listed under articles 14–20 of this schedule of diseases can only be assigned to rear or medical units. At this time, we do not know of other factors precluding servicemen in this service fitness category from being sent into combat.

Legal experts from the Voyennye Advokaty [Military Lawyers] Telegram channel provided guidance on what constitutes draft evasion under article 328 of the Russian Criminal Code. The latter only concerns men, between the ages of 18 and 27, who are subject to statutory military service or alternative civilian service. Reservists are not concerned. Criminal proceedings can begin if the prosecution and court establishes intent of draft evasion: when someone fails to report in without a legitimate reason after receiving a draft notice, when they fail to register a change of address with the military authorities, or if they fraudulently obtain an exemption from military service. Court statistics for 2022 reveal that the sentence was limited to a fine in virtually all cases of a guilty verdict. Only a single instance of a prison sentence was recorded (the maximum length of a prison sentence under this article is 2 years). It should be noted that failure to appear for a "military service register data check-up" is only a misdemeanor under article 21.5 of the Code of the Russian Federation on Administrative Offenses.

Member of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus Oleg Dyachenko claims the reason why the checkpoints were set up by Belarus at the border with Russia was to stop drugs and weapons from being smuggled into Belarus. Earlier, the Belarusian authorities were alleging that the checkpoints had been established "in preparation for the implementation of agreement on mutual recognition of visas."

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

Residents of the city of Perm keep finding leaflets promoting contract-based military service in their mailboxes. Interestingly, the contract is to be signed in Moscow, where, according to the Sota media outlet, the mayor’s office has committed to recruit 27,000 contract soldiers. In Moscow itself, the advertising campaign of the Ministry of Defense is in full swing as well. Mobile recruiting offices have sprung up in the center of Rybinsk, Yaroslavl region, and in the city of Voronezh.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The list of Russian mobilized troops killed in Ukraine has grown to include the names of Aleksey Semenin from the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region [Russia’s constituent subject], Kirill Galaktionov from Yaroslavl and Sergey Vinnikov from the Volgograd region.

Video appeals from the servicemen of the 1250th Regiment, who were mobilized from Ulyanovsk, expressing their desire to join the Wagner Group, have surfaced online. They speak about issues in the regular army, including problems with supply, water, ammunition, and the evacuation of the wounded. Similarly, another video appeal was recorded by servicemen of the 374th Motorized Rifle Battalion, also mobilized from the Ulyanovsk region.

Servicemen from the 1455th Regiment have lodged complaints that command authorities in the Zaporizhzhia region are holding soldiers in a basement for alleged non-compliance with orders and alcohol consumption. According to the soldiers, they are subjected to beatings and humiliations, with the regiment commander personally involved in the abuse.

Despite high risk of facing criminal charges, more and more Russian soldiers abandon their units and flee the combat zone. Most often, they are sentenced to probation rather than given prison time allowing the authorities to dispatch them back to Ukraine. The Sever.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] news outlet spoke to several Russians who fled the army and so far managed to escape the authorities.

The wife of a draftee from the Zabaykalsky region who was left alone with her three children recorded a video address in which she complained of not receiving any payments since her husband was declared missing in action on Jan. 24. In her own words, she had already petitioned all possible authorities from the Ministry of Defense to the Red Cross and even went to Rostov to submit her husband’s DNA. After the Zabaikalye TV channel showed the video address to the State Duma member Andrey Gurulyov during an interview, he promised to help resolve the situation. In the same interview, he stated that "as of today" there would not be a second wave of mobilization; "on the other hand, in accordance with the Constitution, as well as by customs of normal life, protecting the Motherland is everyone’s duty."

Trials, Sentences, and Incidents

Supercomputer developer and Corresponding Member of Russian Academy of Sciences Sergey Abramov, 66, from the Yaroslavl region has been arrested for "financing extremist activities." For the last 19 years, Abramov headed the Institute of Software Systems developing supercomputers as part of a joint project by Russia and Belarus. According to the prosecutors, he donated money to one of the "organizations banned in Russia." The court put him under house arrest.

A group of school students from Udmurtia [Russia’s constituent republic] are suspected of setting fire to railroad relay cabinets. According to police, three school students from Thchaikovskoye could be connected to an Apr. 2023 arson of railroad infrastructure not far from a local train station: Nikita K., 15, Roman R., 15, and Daniil I., 13.

Local Murmansk public pages report that one of the draft offices in the city caught fire last night. The fire started around 2 a.m. and spread over 100 square meters. 19-year-old Shamil Aliyev-Gasanov, who is suspected of arson, has been detained. According to the detainee, he set fire to the draft office under pressure and threats from an unknown online interlocutor. He now faces criminal charges.

In the Oryol region, a 51-year-old Russian "volunteer fighter" was accused of molesting an 8th grade student by the girl's mother. The police have started an investigation.

The VChK-OGPU Telegram channel published a fragment of the verdict against Russian soldier Nikita Tkachyov. The man went to war as a volunteer. The commander, in response to dissatisfaction with his work expressed by the soldiers, suggested they submit reports for dismissal, which they did. However, upon returning home, Tkachyov learned that he was wanted. He turned himself in the investigative committee and expressed readiness to return to war, but as part of another unit. The court found the man guilty of going AWOL (part 5 of article 337 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) and sentenced him to 2.5 years in a penal colony.

A show trial of contract soldier Artyom Kopyl on charges of going AWOL and failure to appear for service during mobilization without good reason was held at the Officers' Club of the Vladikavkaz Garrison. Local military personnel were present at the hearing.

An artillery shell detonator exploded at a scrap metal collection point in Ufa, killing one person. The detonator was found in a pile of scrap metal on the street, and when law enforcement arrived, they found 38 more detonators, nine of which were deemed dangerous.

In Sevastopol, a resident found a package containing ammunition near a restaurant. Forensic analysis showed that the package contained two RGD-5 grenades, two charged UZRGM-2 detonators, three dummy cartridges, and 20 grams of smokeless gunpowder. Police are investigating to determine who the package belonged to.


Officials and mayors from the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region have expressed their intention to visit the "special military operation" zone on a "humanitarian mission," but it is unclear whether this delegation will be organized by the authorities. Additionally, a chatbot supporting the "special military operation" participants and their families has been launched. The chat bot is supposed to provide information about support measures available to them and help them apply for various social services and benefits.

In Vladimir, a forum is being held to support participants of the invasion of Ukraine organized by the Rokot-Center which provides military training for residents of the region.

Yevgeny Startsev, a church priest from Irkutsk, went to the front and consecrated a tank. We have talked about Startsev on the sitreps multiple times. He is known for regularly visiting the "special military operation" zone, collecting money for sights and UAVs for the RuAF within the walls of a church, and being the editor of the Russian Peace and War anthology, which includes Stalin's quote about the superiority of the Russian nation in the Soviet Union.

Self-propelled carts were made for the "special military operation" participants by the Korona production company from Pavlovo town, Nizhny Novgorod region. The carts are designed to transport goods and the wounded. According to the manufacturer, one person can move a load weighing up to 250 kg [roughly 550 lbs] using these devices.

In the Oryol region, parcels for the "special military operation" participants are being collected. The total weight of the packages is more than 2 tons [11,000 lbs]; they include tools and building materials, personal hygiene products, food, and medicine. A laptop, a tablet, a quadcopter, an anti-drone gun, and a thermal sight will also be sent to the soldiers. More than a ton of goods was collected in the Krasnozorensky district of the region. The parcel from the Shablykinsky district of the Oryol region has already been delivered to the soldiers.


In a speech to the Legislative Assembly of Irkutsk region, Igor Kobzev, the governor of the region, said that soldiers who come on vacation from the war have time not only to stay with their families but also visit schools to tell children about the "special military operation." According to Kobzev, this is important for the patriotic education of young people.

Governor of the Tomsk region Vladimir Mazur ordered the start of conducting lessons on operating UAVs in the schools of the region beginning from Sept. 1, 2023. The Department of Education of the region together with the parent committees will have to decide from what grade and on what basis (mandatory or optional) the lessons will be held. Let us recall that earlier Putin proposed introducing courses on operating drones in schools.

The Patriot Association of Patriotic Organizations of the Novosibirsk region, together with partners from the Omsk, Tomsk and Kemerovo regions, will hold seminars on operating UAVs for teachers of military patriotic clubs. After training, it is planned to hold competitions in UAV piloting among students.


The Court of the Russian Orthodox Church defrocked priest Ioann Koval of the Moscow church of St. Andrew the First-Called in Lublino [district of Moscow] for praying for peace. In February, Patriarch Kirill personally banned Koval from serving as he had replaced the word "victory" with the word "peace" in the "Prayer for Holy Rus" during a service.