mobilization briefs
May 20, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for May 18–19, 2023 CIT volunteer summary

Authorities and Legislation

The National Financial Market Council (NSFR) [a lobby group for Russian banks and financial organizations] sent a letter to the Ministry of Defense of Russia and the Central Bank of Russia with a proposal to give banks and microcredit organizations access to the unified register of Russians subject to military service, namely, the date the draft notice was sent, the date it is considered served, and the date when restrictive measures begin to operate. NSFR requests access to the data to be provided within 60 seconds and without obtaining the consent of the person. Such powers are claimed to be necessary for banks in order not to issue loans to draft dodgers. This legal norm was introduced by the law on digital draft notices.

The Bell media outlet writes that from January to May 2023, classified Russian budget spending exceeded 3 trillion rubles [around $37 billion], which is 500 billion rubles more than last year and accounts for a quarter of budget expenditures (12 trillion rubles). At the end of 2023, classified budget expenditures should be about 6.5 trillion rubles or a quarter of the amount of planned total spending. Classified spending includes spending on defense, national security, and funding of law enforcement agencies. Also, probably, part of the money was spent on the "attachment" of Ukrainian territories. Unclassified spending on national defense was 804.2 billion rubles. In total, since the beginning of the year, federal budget expenditures have turned out to be 1.5 and 3 trillion rubles more than in January-May 2022 and 2021, respectively.

The Plenum of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation has adopted two resolutions regarding the consideration of criminal cases on military service. In the summary for May 18, we provided an analysis of the resolution prepared by the Voyennye Advokaty [Military Lawyers] Telegram channel. Today, BBC News Russian and Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] have published their reviews of innovations.

In the Rostov region, a resolution by the governor has been issued aimed at clarifying the procedure for requisitioning property from citizens. The resolution analysis was published by the media outlet. In response to journalists' inquiries, the Ministry of Property of the region explained that there is no exhaustive list of property subject to requisition in the legislation: "Requisition is possible for any property necessary to protect society from threats arising from extraordinary circumstances." At the same time, the compensation period for damages to property owners is defined as "reasonable," and the decision on the need to return the property will be made by the authorities of the Rostov region, which, according to lawyers, contradicts federal legislation.

The Ministry of Security of the Murmansk region has proposed using volunteers to protect the state border. The draft amendments to the law on citizen participation in maintaining public order were put up for public discussion by the agency on May 18. After its completion, the document will be submitted to the regional Duma [regional parliament]. It is worth noting that earlier, the Chairman of the Defense Committee of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia], Andrey Kartapolov, proposed using the civilian population to guard the borders.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

According to the statement by Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev, as of Jan. 1, 2023, over 117,000 people have been accepted into the Armed Forces on a contract basis and within voluntary formations.

The Sota Telegram channel drew attention to the fact that the state media of the Magadan region, Magadanskaya Pravda, reported on the recruitment of contract soldiers into the Kolyma named battalion. As stated in the material, "the Kolyma named battalion is predominantly formed from residents of the Magadan region, and patriots from across the country can join it." The volunteer fighters will be based in the Orenburg region.

In Khakassia [Russia’s constituent republic], an "elite battalion Kamchatka" is recruiting soldiers, offering unique benefits including free travel on public transport, free housing, free school meals and guaranteed kindergarten seats for their children. The recruitment ad ran in the Telegram channel of a local media outlet. Moreover, employment is being guaranteed, both for the family members and for the contractor himself in the event of his return from the war.

In Novosibirsk, Rosgvardia [the National Guard of Russia, an internal military force reporting directly to Putin] is seeking personnel to serve in the "DPR." According to the recruitment ad, the role will involve maintaining public order in the Horlivka, Bakhmut, Pokrovsk and Kramatorsk districts of the Donetsk region. It is important to note that the Bakhmut district remains at the epicenter of hostilities while the Kramatorsk and Pokrovsk districts are still under complete control of Ukraine. The employer requires no prior experience yet offers a monthly salary ranging from 70.000 to 180.000 rubles. In Krasnoyarsk, Rosgvardia’s security guard service is also recruiting men with no prior experience to work as police officers in the "DPR" with a salary of only 50.000 rubles.

According to the Atas.Info information agency, residents of the rural areas of the Novosibirsk region started receiving draft notices for reservist military training. It is not clear how many civilians will be drafted to military training camps. At the same time, in response to a query from the NGS.Novosti media outlet, the regional draft office argued that no draft notices could have been mailed yet to reservists. Allegedly, draft offices will not draft reservists to training until a respective guidance is circulated to them by the mobilization department of the Russian Ministry of Defense.

The Dovod media outlet reports that the governor’s administration of the Vladimir region instructed state-owned institutions to advertise contract-based military service on their websites and social media pages. The Vladimir city authorities, as well as some other government agencies, have already published army recruitment ads on the VKontakte social network.

According to the Vyorstka media outlet it has been revealed that the representative office of the Siberian Federal District has demanded that officials from regional administrations personally participate in recruiting contract soldiers for the war in Ukraine. It is also possible that personal quotas for recruiting fighters will be introduced for each minister and deputy prime minister. Monetary rewards and extra paid vacations are promised to those who "distinguish themselves." Remuneration remains the main motivation for men to join contract service.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

Journalists from Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] and BBC News Russian, in collaboration with volunteers and based on open sources, have been able to confirm the deaths of 23,286 individuals, including 2,229 mobilized soldiers. Over the past week, the list of casualties has grown by 642 names, including 76 mobilized men. The most significant group among the deceased remains convicts, with over four thousand individuals on the list. Mobilized soldiers rank fourth in terms of casualties, slightly behind volunteer fighters and motorized riflemen.

Mobilized soldiers from the Altai region, Omsk region, and Khanty-Mansi autonomous region [Russia’s constituent subject] have recorded a video appeal in which they complain about the failure to provide them with the mandatory leave after eight months of service. The soldiers are appealing to the governors of their respective regions to intervene in the situation.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings, and Incidents

In Moscow, near the Savyolovskaya metro station, a young man smashed the campaign desk for the contract service, and scattered advertising brochures. The police arrived at the scene, and the man was arrested.

A soldier is accused of actions of sexual nature against minors. According to the ASTRA Telegram channel, a woman contacted Saint Petersburg's police, suspecting her partner of committing a crime against her children, a fifth grader and a sixth grader. The man was detained.

A resident of the Petropavlovsky district of the Altai region could not challenge the refusal of the draft board in the request to replace his conscript service with an alternative civilian service. The man said that serving in the army contradicted beliefs. According to the court, it is not enough to declare the contradiction of military service with personal beliefs to replace it with civilian one.

In Ufa, the court changed the sentence of Corporal Marcel Kandarov, who had been hiding from service for four months as he did not want to participate in the war. He was given five years in a penal colony for evading service during the mobilization period. The appeal reduced the sentence to three years in a penal settlement. The defense plans to appeal this decision.

In Samara, a court sentenced a mobilized man to six years in a penal colony for going AWOL. In September 2022, Vladimir Samoilov, whom we reported about in one of the previous summaries, was called up for military service during mobilization. In October, he was taken to a military hospital and was supposed to appear in the unit the next day after discharge, but did not fulfill his duty. Due to poor health, he went to a private medical clinic. The Samara Garrison Military Court issued a harsh sentence to the man. The defense plans to appeal the court's decision to get a reduced sentence.

The Miass court found a man guilty of calls to carry out activities aimed against state security. The Federal Security Service initiated a criminal case for calls on social networks to sabotage mobilization. The cause for persecution were posts on social networks. In them, the user called to sabotage mobilization and to damage military equipment and weapons. Law enforcement officers detained the man in February 2023. The court sentenced him to two years in a penal colony.

After the derailment of grain railcars in Crimea, which we wrote about in our previous summary, law enforcement officials have opened a criminal case on terrorism. On the evening of May 18 in Crimea, local resident Mambet Asan-Usta was detained. He was able to get in touch only at night. The man reported that he was in an unknown building in Simferopol, where he was taken with a bag over his head. There, according to him, he was forced to sign confessions and was interrogated about a railway track sabotage.

A video of the arrest of an 18-year-old man in Krasnodar has been published. He is alleged to have attempted to destroy railway equipment in the Krasnodar region, specifically to set fire to a metal box on the Agronom — Dinskaya stretch. A criminal case has been initiated under the article for "intentional damage to property," but law enforcement officers want to reclassify the article to "sabotage," the maximum penalty for which is up to 20 years in a penal colony.

Due to the increased number of sabotage cases on railways, the Mozhem Ob’yasnit [We Can Explain] Telegram channel published a selection of such incidents. According to Mediazona, at least 65 people were detained for setting fire to railway equipment.


A Novosibirsk social activist reported about food products collected for the participants of the "special military operation" that have gone off. On a public page on the VKontakte social network, he published photos from the local recreation center, where the collected boxes have been lying since February 2023.

At a Moscow university, students and staff were involved in training Russian servicemen to operate drones. Participants of the "special military operation" are being trained to work with UAVs at MIREA [Moscow Institute of Radioengineering, Electronics and Automation] — Russian Technological University. Before they are sent to the combat zone, military men have theoretical and practical classes on operating copters at the special training ground equipped on the basis of the university for this purpose.


An entrepreneur from the town of Pyt-Yakh in the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region is teaching children to supply soldiers fighting in the "special military operation." Anna Kamchatnaya opened a sewing workshop in Pyt-Yakh whose specializations include sewing garments for fighters currently participating in the "special military operation." Recently, she won a grant to produce such items that covers materials and expenses. Local school children help fill the labor shortage. In addition, the woman is planning to distribute materials for sleeping bag sacks among local schools so that children would be able to supply the army directly from their craft classes.

Parents, school children, and teachers complain that the leadership at their schools force them to sign up for Sferum platform [Russian educational portal] and prohibits communicating via WhatsApp, Telegram, or Viber. "This is not optional, this is an order from above," states the directive, distributed through work and school chats. To register for Sferum, one must supply their personal data and agree that the data could be shared with third parties.

Reportedly, upper grade students from Krasnoyarsk School No.150 are being forced to go through a 5-day paramilitary training. Girls will study medicine, and boys will learn to march, shoot firearms, operate in a chemically contaminated zone, and undergo physical training. Those who evade the training are being threatened with failing grades.


The Rotonda news outlet interviewed a draftee who used to work at Saint Petersburg Gorelectrotrans [city tramway network]. In his words, units involved in the "special military operation" utilize peculiar prioritization for those eligible to go on leave. A draftee who commits an infraction such as insubordination or not meeting demands of his superiors is assigned to the back of the queue to go on leave. Infractions committed in the rear may also result in the offender being sent to the frontlines.

A convicted murderer from Vladikavkaz serving a 16-year sentence has been freed after fighting in Ukraine. Vadim Tekhov, a former policeman, was convicted in 2019 of murdering his wife by stabbing her 21 times with a knife. In 2022, while serving time in a penal colony, he signed up to serve in the Shtorm-Z unit of the Ministry of Defense. In November 2022, Tekhov was detained for distributing drugs among the service members. A few months later, Tekhov was seen walking the streets of his native town as a free man.