mobilization briefs
May 18

Mobilization in Russia for May 16-17, 2024 CIT Volunteer Summary

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

In the Far Eastern Federal District, the authorities are forming a unit for the war against Ukraine by recruiting from local state employees. The initiative came from the federal ministry responsible for the district’s development in collaboration with the presidential envoy to the district. Vladimir Solodov, Governor of the Kamchatka region [part of the Far Eastern Federal District], has already joined in, declaring that "every one of our compatriots must experience this." However, the sources of the Vyorstka media outlet reported that the call has yet to gain traction among state employees. Meanwhile, in Russia’s constituent republic of Sakha (Yakutia), a regional media outlet reported that the heads of three districts have left for the war. The authorities claim to have established five volunteer units in the republic.

Sri Lanka is set to dispatch a delegation of senior officials to the Russian Federation, to determine the fate of hundreds of its citizens, who are allegedly fighting on the Russian side in Ukraine. Sri Lankan authorities have received 288 complaints from relatives of men, who left the country illegally to join the conflict, and have arrested seven individuals on human trafficking charges, including a retired major general. Unofficial reports suggest that approximately 600 to 800 Sri Lankan nationals are currently in Russia. At least 16 are known to have been killed in the war.

Mobilized Soldiers, Volunteer Fighters and Contract Soldiers

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Artyom Chayuk, Vladimir Daridayev, Ryzgen Tsympilov and Aleksandr Nifontov from Buryatia [Russia's constituent republic], Andrey Triphonov from Chuvashia [Russia’s constituent republic], Aleksey Seregin from the Lipetsk region, Yakov Shilnikovskiy from the Novgorod region, Viktor Fedotovskikh from the Arkhangelsk region, as well as Semyen Shargulov and Igor Tselik from the Irkutsk region.

Based on open sources, Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] and BBC News Russian, together with volunteers, have verified the names of 53,586 Russian fighters, including 6,441 mobilized men, killed in the war with Ukraine. Over the past week, the list has been updated with the names of 797 additional military personnel, including 118 mobilized soldiers. Volunteer fighters remain the fastest-growing category of losses. Since the fall of 2023, journalists have observed a sharp rise in fatalities particularly among this group.

The mother of Vladimir Akashev, a former prisoner recruited by the Wagner Group, has complained that she is still unable to receive death gratuity payments or a combat veteran certificate, despite her son's death as far back as Jan. 22, 2023.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

According to the Astra Telegram channel, on April 30, in the outskirts of Novocherkassk, three former participants of the war with Ukraine who set up a drug lab in a private residence were apprehended. A large batch of synthetic drugs was seized from the men. All of them had previous drug-related convictions, but were pardoned for their involvement in the invasion.

The Abakan Garrison Military Court has found serviceman Sergey Voroshilov guilty of making death threats and sentenced him to six months in a penal colony. According to the court, in August 2023, Voroshilov was drinking with his former partner, after which he assaulted her and threatened to kill her.

The Vladimir Garrison Military Court has sentenced Artyom Morozov, a contract soldier and participant in the war with Ukraine, to three years of probation for assaulting a superior officer. According to the prosecution, Morozov assaulted the deputy platoon commander because he refused to include him in the list of soldiers to be discharged.

On April 23, in Astana, Russian military investigators detained former Russian Armed Forces contract soldier Kamil Kasimov at his workplace. Kasimov, who had previously deserted from the army, was taken by Russian law enforcement officers in a civilian vehicle to a Russian military base in Priozersk, Karaganda region, Kazakhstan, where he is still being held. Kasimov faces charges of desertion in Russia, which could result in up to 15 years of imprisonment. He fled to Kazakhstan in June 2023 to avoid participating in the war with Ukraine. There is no contact with him. Human rights activists and his family fear that he may be illegally extradited to Russia and prosecuted, although under Kazakh law, military crimes are not subject to extradition. Additionally, it was revealed that in May, local law enforcement officers detained another Russian deserter, but released him after Kazakh human rights activists intervened. Similar incidents had previously occurred only in Armenia. In December 2023 and April this year, Russian military police in Armenia abducted Russian Army deserters Anatoly Shchetinin and Dmitry Setrakov.

The Federal Security Service (FSB) has warned a Volgograd resident of the inadmissibility of treason. According to law enforcement officers, the man watched videos of interrogations of captured Russian soldiers on a Ukrainian journalist's channel and saved the phone number of an organization to surrender and join the Ukrainian side in case of mobilization. Additionally, another warning was issued to another Volgograd resident who, according to law enforcement, read Ukrainian social media platforms with the intention of joining the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

A court in Berdsk, Novosibirsk region, has sentenced Yevgeny Burago to one year and seven months in a penal colony for attempting deliberate damage to property by arson. The time he spent in pre-trial detention, which exceeded the sentence, was taken into account and he was released in the courtroom. In July 2023, 51-year-old Burago doused the entrance door of a draft office with gasoline from a bottle and set it on fire. The fire was extinguished by a police officer who was in the building. Burago fled the scene, but was later apprehended.

According to Astra, 31-year-old Dmitry Kulachenkov was detained in Moscow on May 16. He is accused of "calls for terrorism on the Internet" in connection with a message in the chat of the "Freedom of Russia Legion," in which he allegedly called for the shooting of law enforcement officers. The account from which Dmitry posted the comment is linked to his work phone number, as reported by Astra. He now faces up to seven years of imprisonment.

In Yekaterinburg, a court has sentenced one of the defendants in the Tyumen case, Kirill Brik, to eight years in a maximum security penal colony. He was convicted of illegal possession and transportation of explosives committed in a group, their manufacture, participation in a terrorist community, and preparation of an act of terror, resulting in significant property damage. In early September 2022, six antifascists were arrested in Tyumen, the youngest aged 23 and the oldest 28. During a search, an improvised explosive device was allegedly found in their possession. According to the investigation, the antifascists planned to test it near the Tyumen thermal power plant.

Kirill Brik's case was handled separately as he reached a deal with the investigators and had to plead guilty to all charges. The trial of the remaining defendants is scheduled for May 20. They have been in pre-trial detention for a year and a half year, alleging torture by law enforcement officers, which the Investigative Committee dismissed as an attempt to falsely accuse the investigators to avoid punishment. The defendants themselves do not admit guilt, while their relatives are convinced of their innocence.

Seventeen-year-old political prisoner Yegor Balazeykin has been listed as a "terrorist and extremist." In November 2023, he was sentenced to six years in a correctional colony for attempting to set fire to two draft offices. Earlier, Balazeykin's mother reported his deteriorating health due to autoimmune hepatitis, stating he is not receiving necessary medical care in the colony and has a 90% chance of dying within 10 years.

Children and Educational System

The prosecutor's office has forced the authorities of the Kyakhtinsky district, Buryatia to allocate more funds for the youth’s "patriotic education." Following the prosecutor's intervention, local authorities budgeted 100,000 rubles [$1,100] for "military field training" and "leisure activities for minors." Meanwhile, the budget deficit of the Kyakhtinsky district in 2024 is 86.6 million rubles [$952,900].

School teachers in the Krasnodar region are being forced to donate part of their salaries and collect money from students for the needs of Russian soldiers. This must be done in May by the end of the school year.

Across Russia, 2,500 teachers will be trained to repair and operate combat drones so that they can later teach these skills to schoolchildren. The training program explicitly mentions combat drones.

A participant in the invasion of Ukraine visited children in a kindergarten in Cheboksary, Chuvashia to talk about the war.


83 veterans of the war in Ukraine have been selected for training under the new Time of Heroes personnel program. This initiative, proposed by Putin, purportedly aims to prepare "veterans of the special military operation," for roles as government officials. Training for this group is scheduled to begin on May 27.

In Buryatia, a special frame has been set up in a local hospital where medical staff have been tasked with weaving camouflage nets to support the needs of the army.

The Natasha hospice in Kazan, known for its palliative care services, has established a rehabilitation unit for wounded soldiers that offers therapeutic activities such as mini golf for critically ill patients.


In the Moscow region, the Elisavetinsky church in Opalikha will start holding free basic military training courses for both youth and adults, taught by war veterans. These courses promise instruction in modern first aid techniques, basic topography, and practical skills with firearms. At the same time, clergy will give lectures on patriotism and history. In addition, the local administration is encouraging participants to sign contracts with the Ministry of Defense and join the war effort.

In the Saratov region, a museum dedicated to the war with Ukraine, opened in July last year, will organize workshops on weaving camouflage nets on May 18 as part of the "Night of Museums."

The Insider [independent Russian investigative media outlet] calculated that over the past months of 2024, Russian munitions fell on the Belgorod region at least 44 times, including 43 different modifications of air-dropped bombs and a Kh-59 cruise missile. At least twice, the bombs fell in Belgorod itself.


May 15 is the International Day of Conscientious Objectors, and in this connection, a number of organizations (the Prizyv k Sovesti [Call to Conscience] coalition, the Citizen. Army. Law human rights group, the human rights organization Shkola Prizyvnika [Conscript School], the Movement of Conscientious Objectors [a human rights organization supporting those who refuse to perform military service]) published a comprehensive report on the right to alternative civilian service and how the latest regular conscription calls were conducted. Additionally, the Pervy Otdel [First Department] human rights project, in collaboration with Prizyv k Sovesti, explained how alternative civilian service is organized. The human rights defenders also prepared a memo that includes everything that conscripts and reservists need to know about their right to alternative civilian service.

The Insider has published a text on how museums in Russia are choosing their survival strategy under the conditions of military censorship. Some have actively joined the propaganda agenda, while others remain silent, turning a blind eye to what is happening, hoping to survive the terrible times.

Vyorstka conducted a study of how, during two years of full-scale war, the Belgorod region was transformed from a thriving region into one of the worst places to live in the Russian Federation.

The Idel.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet reported how former Wagner Group mercenaries and convicts return from the war with large sums of money, which runs out in two to three weeks, after which they become recidivists and go back to war from the colony.

The Okno [Window] media outlet has released material on how and why people with mental illnesses are recruited for the war. For example, Andrey Buryshchev has been under psychiatric care since childhood, but recently signed a contract with the Ministry of Defense. The draft office told Andrey's mother that there was "nothing terrible" about his illness.

Novaya Gazeta Europe [European edition of the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta] spoke with a Russian volunteer fighter who fled the army and went to another country. He told of penalty pits and the destruction of a Belgorod village. A 25-year-old resident of Saint Petersburg who served on the frontline as a paramedic spent less than half a year there and in the border regions—during this time, he witnessed numerous war crimes committed by the command.

Novaya Gazeta Europe found that 59 priests have been repressed by the Russian Orthodox Church and Russian law enforcement agencies for their anti-war stance. From the church's side, the priests face defrocking, a ban on serving, or forced dismissal, while from the state's side, they face fines for "discrediting the Armed Forces," prison sentences, or deportation.