mobilization briefs
May 18, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for May 16–17, 2023 CIT volunteer summary

Authorities and Legislation

Head of Russia's Ministry of Finance Maksut Shadayev stated that the common register of Russians subject to military service "will be launched quickly" by the fall draft campaign, that is, around October 2023. However, his words contradict the draft government decree published in early May. The document outlines three stages of the register's introduction. From Jul. 1 to Dec. 31, 2023, it is proposed to create the database itself, in 2024 — to put the register into operation, and only from 2025 — to start full-fledged use of the system. You can read more about the register in an article by Vazhnyye Istorii [iStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet].

The State Duma [lower house of Russia's Federal Assembly] passed amendments to the law on martial law in the second reading. The journalists of the Mozhem Ob'yasnit [We Can Explain] Telegram channel discussed the bill with lawyers and historians. In their opinion, the amendments grossly violate international law.

Members of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation have submitted to the State Duma a draft law providing for the introduction of a one-percent fee to bills in restaurants, bars and nightclubs. It is proposed to channel the collected money to the Defenders of the Fatherland fund to support the families of citizens fighting in the war with Ukraine. The fund was created at the instruction of Vladimir Putin.

Fyodor Tumusov, a State Duma member from the Just Russia party, proposed solving the problem of stray dogs by sending them to war. Tumusov made this proposal during the discussion of amendments to the law on the treatment of animals: according to them, the regional authorities receive full authority to decide what to do with stray dogs — for example, to euthanize. On May 16, the State Duma adopted the draft in the first reading. The Sirena Telegram channel analyzes this bill in more detail.

The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation is preparing a revised guide to crimes against military service. According to the Voyennye Advokaty [Military Lawyers] project, the following changes are proposed:

  • Enable the prosecution of aiding and abetting someone to dodge the draft;
  • Eliminate lower and upper bounds to criminal prosecution, previously limited to people aged 18 to 27. This amendment is likely linked to the planned change of the conscription age.

Prosecution of draft evasion under article 328 of the Criminal Code continues to be excluded in cases of mobilization in the amended resolution, which was initially adopted by the Plenum of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation on Apr. 3, 2008, titled "on judicial practice for considering criminal cases of military or alternative civilian service evasion." Guidance on considering cases of desertion and going AWOL will also be excluded from the text. These military offenses will, most likely, be covered in a separate resolution.

Following second and third readings, the State Duma approved a bill that exempts participants of the "special military operation" from payment of the state fee to replace a lost passport or driver’s license.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

The Idite Lesom [Flee through the woods/Get lost you all] project compiled several ads for contract military service from the VKontakte social network. There is a growing trend to advertise on community pages. Local and municipal authorities of the Belgorod region, as well as the media outlets under their control, are promoting on their community pages the most. In Saint Petersburg, similar advertisements appeared in groups belonging to kindergartens, schools, psychoneurological care homes, a youth center, and a fire department. For its part, the Wagner Group places its adverts on road vehicles in Yaroslavl.

Governor of the Yaroslavl region Mikhail Yevraev in his Telegram channel spoke about a meeting with residents of the region who have signed a contract with the Ministry of Defense. According to him, the new recruits will join the ranks of a named battalion in the combat zone. As reported in the media, only 20 people were present at the meeting.

In Russia, they are "reviving" the army that existed during the Great Patriotic War. As reported by the Lyudi Baikala [People of Baikal] independent media outlet, the recruitment of officers from Buryatia [Russia’s constituent republic] and conscripts from the Irkutsk region has begun for the 25th General Army. The 25th Army, part of the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army, was created on Jun. 20, 1941, and was part of the Far Eastern Front. It was disbanded in September 1945 and has not been reestablished since.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The lists of those mobilized soldiers killed in the war have been supplemented by Sergey Kuchin from the Yaroslavl region.

Relatives of mobilized residents of Yamal recorded a video appeal, asking to withdraw the servicemen from the "red defense line" and return them under the command of the Ministry of Defense. The Rosomakha [wolverine] Motorized Rifle Battalion, to which the military personnel were originally attached, has been disbanded, and the soldiers have been seconded to the "DPR" army. The leadership of the "DPR" sends them to the front line, where they suffer heavy losses. The women also mention that each combat mission was supposed to be paid separately, but the money has not been received. They also complain about the lack of leave.

In our summary yesterday we mentioned the video address from residents of the village of Bikbulatovo, Bashkortostan [constituent republic of Russia], to the Attorney General where they complained of a draftee from the village being bullied by his fellow soldiers. The man was roughed up and tied to a tree. Today, a video appeared showing the service members apologizing to the soldier they bullied. They explained that their victim, under strong influence of alcohol, pointed a weapon at them. The apologetic military servicemen asked the villagers to recall their complaint.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings, and Incidents

The FSB [Federal Security Service] informed that 20 people had been arrested who were plotting acts of sabotage at draft offices and defense industry enterprises in the Sverdlovsk and Tyumen regions. 13 criminal complaints had been filed against the detained. Since the fall of 2022, the FSB detained at least 66 people under suspicion of sabotage within Russia.

The FSB filed a criminal complaint against Ramilya Saitova, an activist from Bashkortostan, for inciting actions directed against national security interests. The authorities saw incitement of desertion and military service evasion in a video the activist published where she called upon draftees to fight for their rights and "not to kill."

In Tatarstan [Russia’s constituent republic], the head of the trade department of the Almetyevsk district Damir Khabibullin has been detained. The prosecutors allege that he abused his authority by urging businessmen to contribute funds in support of draftees to a municipal fund. While at it, he asked them to transfer money to his personal bank card. The donations never reached the fund. A case under the criminal code article on "using one’s official position to commit fraud" has been filed. Khabibullin is currently at a pre-trial detention facility.

On May 17, a fire broke out at a relay cabinet on the railway section between Melnichny Ruchey and Rzhevka near Saint Petersburg. The incident was reported by the Bumaga [Paper] independent media outlet. Early indications suggest that the fire was caused by arson. As a result, three local trains were delayed.

The Military Court of Appeal of Vlasikha (Moscow region) upheld the sentence for Kirill Butylin, a resident of the Moscow region who had been convicted to 13 years in a maximum security penal colony for setting fire to a draft office.

The Leninsky District Court of the city of Vladimir dismissed the claim raised by businessman Sergey Giorgadze against the decision of the border force of Russia’s Federal Security Service forbidding him to leave the country due to the ongoing mobilization.


The sixteenth "humanitarian aid" convoy has set off from the Samara region heading towards the frontline as the Russian war propaganda campaign "We don't abandon our own" goes on. The convoy, sent by Head of the administration of the Oktyabrsky district of the Khanty-Mansiysk autonomous region [Russia’s federal subject] Aleksey Shmelyov, carried an anti-drone gun and office equipment for the needs of the "special military operation" purchased with money donated by local residents. Residents of the town of Menzelinsk, Tatarstan, are collecting aid for their mobilized fellow countrymen as well. Thus, multi-use equipment and a high-capacity power generator purchased by local businesses were supplied to the Russian Armed Forces.

Head of the Shuryshkarsky district of the Yamalo-Nenets autonomous region Oleg Popov appealed to the residents asking to help with weaving camouflage nets for their fellow countrymen engaged in the "special military operation." He also encouraged donations of fabrics or old clothes with camouflage patterns, to be used as materials for making the nets.

The Kostroma city administration purchased three buses and selected the best drivers who will be assigned to collect the military personnel from the war zone and safely transport them to their place of residence for the duration of a two-week leave. Meanwhile, member of the Kostroma regional assembly Vladimir Mikhailov pointed out that the average cost of such a bus is around 11 million rubles.

A rehabilitation center for Russian combatants in Ukraine is planned to be built in Novosibirsk, according to Governor of the Novosibirsk region Andrey Travnikov. The facility is expected to accommodate up to 400 people simultaneously, and participants of the war will be able to stay in the center for up to a year.

In the closed Telegram group "Assistance to Mobilized Bodaybo Residents," Irkutsk region, funds are being raised for quadcopters, body armor, and vehicles for participants of the war. Group members (approximately 2,000 people) transfer money to the account of the local Council of Veterans or to a specified bank card, with the group administration not reporting on the expenditures.


On May 16, during the so-called "Lesson of Courage" held in the 6th grade of School No. 17 in the city of Oktyabrsky, Bashkortostan, a mobilized soldier on a two-week leave was invited. Subsequently, during the Russian language lesson, students wrote compositions inspired by the meeting.

A preschooler from Krasnoyarsk prepared a poem praising Putin for the competition Tell the World about Your Homeland: "My President, as if a Messiah, always protects his people." Additionally, students from the Perm Institute of Culture recorded a video in which they recited poems on a military theme.

During the unveiling of a "hero's desk" in one of the colleges of Chuvashia [Russia’s constituent republic], Russian servicemen participating in the war with Ukraine were compared with the ancient Russian hero Aleksandr Peresvet [a Russian Orthodox monk who fought in a single combat with the Tatar champion Temir-murza at the opening of the Battle of Kulikovo on Sept. 8, 1380] and Soviet soldiers who fought in Afghanistan.

The Serditaya Chuvashiya [Angry Chuvashia] Telegram channel published several stories from the schools of the republic related to the imposition of a positive perception of the war on children and the spread of militarism among schoolchildren.

The Victory Museum, which calls itself a muZeum, and the Movement of the First youth organization, created on Dec. 18, 2022, summed up the results of the Victory Postcard contest. The participants were traditionally invited to draw a Victory Day greeting card, but this year one could send works in support of the participants in the "special military operation," and some of them were among the winners in special categories.


The Vyorstka media outlet interviewed the wives of five mobilized soldiers who went to fight with Ukraine. Its article describes the problems faced by women, as well as their emotions and experiences. The wives say they would be willing to exchange military payments for the demobilization of their husbands. At the same time, they often have no idea what exactly men are doing in Ukraine and why they were sent there.

The Mozhem Ob’yasnit Telegram channel prepared a material about denunciations in educational institutions. Denunciations related to the attitude towards the war with Ukraine are written by children against teachers and vice versa, as well as by parents and teachers against each other.

Users of the Gosuslugi public services portal received emails with information about the Strong ideas for the new time forum where "everyone can submit an idea, a socially significant initiative and make a personal contribution to the development of the country." The Vyorstka media outlet journalist Margarita Loginova suggested an idea of stopping the war. Technical support rejected Loginova's application as it was "hot-politic in nature and provokes the development of non-constructive discussions."