mobilization briefs
May 17

Mobilization in Russia for May 14-16, 2024 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

The Defense Committee of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] has rejected a bill that would have granted fathers of three or more children exemptions from mobilization, if the dependents were under the age of 18, or 23, if studying full-time. At present, the legislation only provides for the exemption of fathers of four or more children under the age of 16. The committee’s report, signed by Chairman Andrey Kartapolov, states that the committee members cannot recommend the bill because “broadening the grounds for exemption will negatively impact the staffing of the Russian Armed Forces.” The federal government did not endorse the bill, either. State Duma member Nina Ostanina, one of the bill’s authors, expressed her disagreement with the committee’s decision and indicated that she would continue to push for revisions to the proposal.

Authorities and Relatives of Mobilized Soldiers

The widow of Vladimir Frolov, a disabled man who was recently killed in the war after being mobilized illegally, reported that police visited the workplaces of her brother, mother and father. According to her, the police mentioned publications about Frolov in media linked to Ukraine and insinuated that she was “discrediting the Armed Forces.” The woman suggests that the police visit may have been prompted by the commanders of the 5th Motorized Rifle Brigade as retaliation for her attempts to save her husband from death at the frontline by publicizing his situation. The Okna [Windows] media outlet has conducted an investigation into the kidnappings, torture and illegal drafting practices in Donetsk.

In Buryatia [Russia's constituent republic], the mother of two deceased war participants has been left without death gratuity payments. According to Yulia Zhambalova, the Commissioner for Human Rights in the republic, the military units where the woman's sons served are located in other regions, which is why "the submission of necessary documents takes a long time."

Relatives of mobilized soldiers from the Primorsky region [Russia's federal subject] have lodged complaints with the new Minister of Defense, Andrey Belousov, regarding the illegal actions of the command of the 5th Army. They allege that their loved ones, who sustained injuries in the war, have been detained for over a month at the military unit of the 114th Motorized Rifle Regiment for redeployment to Ukraine.

The wife of a mobilized soldier from Khakassia [Russia’s constituent republic] alleges that her husband was forcibly taken from his unit for deployment to Ukraine. After a year of service in a combat zone, the man returned home on leave and due to health complaints started undergoing a medical examination, never returning to the frontline. On May 13, he was detained by military police. He informed his wife that he would be sent to the city of Rostov-on-Don, from where he would be assigned to a unit to serve in Ukraine.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

Authorities in Sri Lanka have stated that they are aware of 280 citizens of the country who have been recruited to participate in the Russian-Ukrainian war. This information was provided by their relatives, who contacted a recently formed special group within the country’s Ministry of Defense. The majority of those recruited Sri Lanka citizens fight on the side of Russia.

The Voyennye Advokaty [Military Lawyers] Telegram channel reiterates the regulations draft offices are to comply with while summoning citizens for data check-ups. Unlike with conscription procedures, the law does not regulate any time restrictions for draft offices to respect when summoning men liable for military service for personal data check-ups, thus such summonses can be issued at any time during the year. They are to be hand-delivered only by a military commissar or a draft office official. Only if there is no draft office in the area can a summon be delivered by a local council officer, the citizen’s employer or educational organization. Police members can deliver summonses only upon a written request from the military commissar and only to conscripts with a history of draft dodging. Moreover, it is unlawful for the police to complete the summonses filling in personal details prior to serving it to the recipient.

In the city of Krasnodar, two dozens of conscripts who arrived at the draft office aiming to provide evidence of their being unfit for military service are being forcibly kept at the military collection center. The young men had been summoned for a follow-up medical examination, but once in the draft office, they were forced to submit their documents and told they would be transferred to a military unit. According to one of the conscripts, they were forced to change into uniform; those who protested were threatened with physical violence. A few hours later the men were taken to the commandant’s office “for further inquiry,” their phones were taken away, and any contact with them was lost. The conscripts’ mothers came to the commandant’s office but were not allowed inside. The women told the media that their sons were being locked in a separate room and threatened with criminal proceedings in case they did not agree to join the forces. The regional draft office claimed that the draft board had conducted a pre-trial review of all complaints and ruled against granting any exemptions.

In Izhevsk, conscripts are being offered to sign a contract with a promise not to send them to war. They are given leaflets introducing an "alternative contract-based military service" instead of statutory military service. Those who sign the contract are promised a sign-up bonus of 245,000 rubles [$2,690] and a starting salary of 50,000 rubles [$550], as well as the chance to not partake in the war with Ukraine and to choose their own duty station.

A court in Tver has dismissed the lawsuits of Aleksandr Ageyev, a member of the Tver Wolves criminal group, who volunteered to go to war with Ukraine, as revealed by the Vyorstka media outlet. Representatives from the Federal Penitentiary Service justified their decision in court by stating that Ageyev was not included in the list of those eligible to sign a contract due to his life sentence. As noted by Voyennye Advokaty, they cited a confidential joint order by the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Justice, and Ministry of Internal Affairs, which is not publicly accessible.

Mobilized Soldiers, Volunteer Fighters and Contract Soldiers

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Aleksey Kazantsev and Ayur Munkuev from Buryatia, Konstantin Tretyakov, Yury Khomchenko and Almukhamet Dimukhametov from the Irkutsk region, Roman Pastorov from the Arkhangelsk region, Ivan Knysh from the Sverdlovsk region, Aleksandr Tarasov from Chuvashia [Russia’s constituent republic] and Yegor Bleym from the Chelyabinsk region.

Relatives of mobilized soldiers from the Pskov region including those who had returned from captivity, complained in an open letter about them being sent to penal battalions for refusing to go on offensive in the Kharkiv region. According to them, on May 9, mobilized soldiers from the 1009th Regiment were sent to storm the town of  Vovchansk, where the most intense fighting was taking place. The mobilized fought for 5 days without food, rest, or water suffering colossal losses and then retreated. The relatives of the servicemen demanded an investigation into the actions of the commanders which resulted in the regiment suffering losses and yet again being sent into assault.

The British Embassy in Moscow based on materials from Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] calculated that for every moscovite who was killed in the war there are 50 residents of Tyva [Russia’s constituent republic]. An infographic was published in the embassy’s Telegram channel. The toll of the war falls on the poorest regions of Russia, the material concludes.

In the occupied part of the Luhansk region, Vladislav Tishich, a soldier from the 6th Motorized Rifle Brigade, slit his wrists after being tortured and denied a medical examination. His mother claims that her son was repeatedly beaten, handcuffed to a radiator, and shot at his feet. Following this, he attempted to take his own life, but he was saved and sent back to the frontline. Tishich has now deserted his unit and is demanding a medical board to prove he is unfit for military service due to his health condition.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

The Mozhem Ob'yasnit [We Can Explain] Telegram channel estimates that, in the context of the ongoing war with Ukraine, the number of people convicted for violent actions against minors in Russia increased sixfold in 2023 compared to 2021. The number of convictions for sexual offences against children rose by a quarter, and the number of sentences for sexual violence towards children increased by 62%.

In the Ulyanovsk region, a court ordered a war participant to pay 1 million rubles [$11,000] as compensation for moral damages to a minor for the violence she had endured. In March 2023, a man, while drunk, hit his 10 year old stepdaughter and sexually assaulted her. In September 2023, a court sentenced a 36 year old man to 15 years in a maximum security penal colony for sexual violence.

In Yekaterinburg, Aleksandr Naumov, a war participant who tortured a six-year-old child, is being tried along with his wife Veronika. She is accused of the boy’s murder.

Two previously convicted Russian servicemen, Aleksandr Chernenko from the Krasnodar region and Vladislav Angulov from the Kemerovo region, stabbed a taxi driver to death in Feodosia, Crimea, on May 14. He was charged of murder.

A drunken war participant has detonated an airsoft grenade in the draft office of Ramenskoye in the Moscow region. The man came there to extend his sick leave owing to an injury. He was detained and taken to a police station. Nobody was injured in the incident.

The Southern District Military Court has reversed a verdict against contract soldier Zaindi Takaev from Chechnya [Russia's constituent republic]. He had previously been acquitted of the murder of a fellow soldier in the occupied Luhansk region. The case will be reconsidered by the Novocherkassk Garrison Military Court.

In Russia’s constituent republic of Kalmykia, a court has expunged the conviction of a drug convict because he expressed a desire to go to war. On March 24, 2022, Aleksey Rusakov was sentenced to three and a half years on probation for possession and use of cannabis.

In Chita, a military serviceman, Anton Trukhin, has been sentenced to seven and a half years in a penal colony for evading service. Trukhin failed to report to his unit on April 1, 2023. After he learned that he was being sought by the command, Trukhin appeared at the commandant's office on May 29, but left the unit again a month later. On Jan. 12, 2024, he was detained by police officers.

A resident of the Saratov region, Ilya Usoyan, is being tried for "organizing voluntary surrender." He attempted to persuade his friend, who had gone to war in Ukraine, to surrender.

Cadet Aleksandr Agafonov of the military medical academy has been expelled after his mother was declared a foreign agent and fined for "discrediting the Armed Forces." Immediately after that, the young man was threatened with criminal charges for failing to appear at a military unit, forcing him to leave Russia. Elena Agafonova regularly attended hearings and reported the latest information on the case of Aleksey Moskalyov.

The Irkutsk regional court has upheld the decision of the Usolsky city court, which denied the claim of the mother of mobilized Viktor Petrov. In early May of last year, Petrov was found hanged in a military unit in the "LPR." Investigators revealed that he had a mental illness that made him unfit for service. His mother filed lawsuits against the military unit and the Ministry of Defense. She sought to challenge the actions of the command, which, knowing that Petrov should not serve, did not demobilize him.

The prosecutor's office has requested nine years in a penal colony for 21-year-old Mikhail Balabanov from Kazan. He was detained in December 2022 on charges of conspiring with a Ukrainian intelligence officer and planning to set fire to the draft office in Nevinnomyssk, Stavropol region, where he had traveled after the announcement of a "partial" mobilization. Balabanov received a draft notice from the military commissariat [enlistment office], after which he sought help from the "I Want to Live" project. A Telegram user nicknamed Ben, who the defense believes was an officer of the Federal Security Service (FSB), contacted him. On Ben's orders, Balabanov went to Nevinnomyssk, where he carried out his tasks.

In annexed Crimea, the FSB has detained two individuals who, according to law enforcement officers, were preparing an act of terror on the railway. They allegedly transmitted to Ukrainian military intelligence information about the deployment of troops and air defense, as well as the coordinates of energy sector facilities.

Moscow resident Dinis Khamidullin, who was detained on the Red Square on April 28 for exclaiming "No to war," was held in a psychiatric hospital for nine days. He was accused of allegedly attacking police officers. According to Khamidullin, he was injected with psychotropic drugs during his stay at the hospital. In the court video, he is seen moving with difficulty.

Olga Gulyaeva, a resident of the Altai region [Russia’s federal subject], has been sentenced to one year of probation for attempting to spoil ballots with a brilliant green solution during the March 2024 voting. She was found guilty of obstructing elections, committed in a group in conspiracy.

Pediatrician Nadezhda Buyanova, accused of spreading "fake news," has been remanded in a pre-trial detention center until Nov. 2. Additionally, blogger Aleksandr Sokolovsky has been taken to a pre-trial detention center for two months, facing charges of inciting hatred on the Internet.

Novaya Gazeta Europe [European edition of the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta] has revealed details of the criminal case against IT specialist Ilya Baburin from Novosibirsk. He faces a record sentence of 26 years in a penal colony, allegedly for attempting to set fire to a draft office and for six other charges.