mobilization briefs
May 23, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for May 21–22, 2023 CIT volunteer summary

Authorities and Legislation

The Voyennye Advokaty [Military Lawyers] project draws attention to the Order of the Head of the Main Military Medical Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation dated Apr. 7, 2023, which states that all mobilized personnel diagnosed with one of the "socially significant diseases" are subject to dismissal. The document confirms the previously known instructions by the General Staff dated Apr. 3, 2023, according to which all military personnel are subject to dismissal from military service if diagnosed with the following diseases: tuberculosis, HIV, and viral hepatitis B and C.

Situation in the Belgorod Region

Following the events that occurred on May 22 in the Belgorod region, Governor of the region Vyacheslav Gladkov announced the introduction of a counter-terrorism regime starting from May 22. This regime introduces a number of special measures and temporary restrictions, including: control of telephone conversations, "removal" of citizens from certain areas, seizure of vehicles owned by organizations and individuals, suspension of communication, temporary "relocation" of residents to safe areas, restriction of vehicle and pedestrian movement, unhindered access of defense and law enforcement officers to residential premises and land plots, and inspection of citizens and vehicles.

The administration of the Belgorod region is evacuating residents of the Grayvoronsky district. Buses are taking people to the regional capital. Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov stated that the majority of the population has already left the territory of the Grayvoronsky district.

Yet, some residents complain about the lack of evacuation, particularly in the village of Glotovo. People are also confused as to why the "barrier line" on the regional border, which cost 10 billion rubles to build, did not help. Moreover, a video circulating on Telegram channels depicts residents of the Belgorod region trying to enter a locked bomb shelter and sending "greetings" to the governor.

On May 21, the VChK-OGPU Telegram channel [the name is a reference to the VCHK and OGPU, which were the intelligence and state security services in the early Soviet Union], reported on the current situation in the border zone of the Belgorod region. Later, the channel published a list of military personnel and civilians who were injured on May 22 in the region.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

At the initiative of the authorities of Saint Petersburg, advertising of military service should appear in stores and shopping centers by Jun. 1. Businesses are demanded to place posters on buildings' facades and distribute advertising leaflets. At the next stage, it is planned to give handouts to customers at the checkout. The advertisement campaign will last at least until the end of the year. However, not all businesses agreed to advertise military service. According to Fontanka [online regional newspaper], the Lenta supermarket chain refused to participate in the campaign not to harm the brand's reputation.

Advertising for military service under contracts spreads throughout the country. Such advertising was spotted in Moscow, Vladimir, in a health clinic, at a metro station, as well as in an entrance to a building in Saint Petersburg, and in a library in Ufa. This kind of agitation is present not only in large cities, but even in the most sparsely populated parts of Russia. In the village of Aleksandrovka, Krasnoyarsk region, with a population of 79 people, a large poster advertising a contract service was placed on the facade of a local community center. Mobile military service recruitment points were launched in Irkutsk and Krasnoyarsk.

In Russia's constituent Republic Khakassia, men are offered to join the war in Ukraine via advertisements printed on utility bills. 204 thousand rubles [$2,500] per month are offered as a salary for volunteers who sign a contract for at least a year. No military experience is required. Candidates up to 60 years and highly-demanded specialists up to 65 years are considered.

Recruiters from the Ministry of Defense continue to post advertisements for military service under contract disguised as vacancies for unskilled workers on recruiting websites. This information is confirmed by testimonies from people who responded to the advertisements.

According to journalists from the Vladimir region, based on official reports in the last 38 days alone, 97 men from the region signed contracts with the Ministry of Defense and have been sent to serve.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The lists of those mobilized soldiers killed in the war have been supplemented by Dinar Nabiullin from Bashkortostan [constituent republic of Russia], Roman Kovalyov from the Vladimir region, Nikolay Plattsev and Daniil Ivanov from Chuvashia [constituent republic of Russia], as well as those who were killed in the Bakhmut area on May 16, Anatoly Antonov, Anton Gabdrafitov, Sergey Gavrilov, and Dmitry Perevoznikov from the Sverdlovsk region.

The mother of 24-year-old mobilized soldier Pavel from the Irkutsk region revealed that her son served in the 1439th regiment, whose servicemen repeatedly filed requests for assistance. He was conscripted in October 2022 and after training, he was sent to the "DPR" in late December and placed under the command of the 1st Motorized Rifle Brigade. On Feb. 22, the soldier was taken to the village of Spartak, and on Mar. 1 he was sent into combat. After that, Pavel's comrades-in-arms contacted his mother and informed her of his death. According to them, the entire column of five armored personnel carriers, one of which Pavel was in, was blown up on the way to the village of Vodiane. Since then and up to the present moment, the mobilzed man has been listed as missing, as he has not been found or identified.

Journalists from Sibir.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet spoke with relatives of soldiers from the Tyumen region and Yamalo-Nenets autonomous region [Russia’s constituent region] who were mobilized into the Rosomakha [Wolverine] battalion. The women had previously recorded a video appeal to the authorities, expressing their complaints that their men were being sent to the "frontline" without any fire support, they were not receiving additional payments for completing combat missions, and the commanders attached to them by so-called "DPR" referred to them as "cannon fodder." According to the women, all statements by the authorities claiming that the mobilized soldiers are satisfied are not true. The mobilized soldiers continue to suffer regular losses. According to their calculations, the battalion's losses have amounted to at least 20 killed and around 240 wounded men. In May alone, the funerals of three battalion servicemen took place.

Relatives of mobilized soldiers of the 1440th Regiment from the Altai region [federal subject of Russia] recorded a video message. Remember, earlier, relatives of the mobilized to the 1440th Regiment from the Republic of Khakassia, the Altai region, and the Kemerovo region have already recorded a video message, and we covered it in our previous summary. In the new video appeal, relatives of mobilized soldiers conformed with those who recorded the previous one.

The Idel.Realii online media outlet [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] covered the story of the soldier from a volunteer battalion of the Republic of Tatarstan [Russia's constituent republic] who cannot terminate the contract due to the mobilization announced by Vladimir Putin in September 2022.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings, and Incidents

Vladimir Smailov, a draftee from the Samara region, was found guilty of going AWOL and was sentenced to six years in a penal colony. The man was mobilized in September 2022 despite his requests for a draft deferral for health reasons. On his first day on the training ground, he fainted and his body temperature rose to 40 degrees C [104 F]. According to him, military doctors were unable to conduct a comprehensive examination. At that point, the man asked to be released to a civilian clinic and promised to return. The commander agreed and in early December the draftee returned to his unit, but a criminal case was filed against him anyways.

The Federal Security Service (FSB) reported the arrest of a 25-year-old resident of the Orenburg region, who, according to the agency, was preparing terrorist attacks in a military commissariat [enlistment office] and one of the FSB buildings on the orders of the Ukrainian Special Services. The suspect was also allegedly planning to join Ukraine in the war.

A 14-year-old eighth-grader was detained on suspicion of setting fire to a railway battery box in the Tula region. The burning battery box was discovered two kilometers away from the Revyakino station on the afternoon of May 19. Two days later, investigators opened a criminal case, qualifying it as a "deliberate destruction of property." The teenager was arrested and reportedly confessed to everything.

A man, presumably wearing a Wagner Group sleeve patch, raped two schoolgirls (a four-grader and a fifth-grader) in Novosibirsk. The incident happened near the school. According to the victims, a man dressed in military uniform with a skull on a sleeve patch threatened them with a handgun and a grenade, saying he would "blow them up" if they did not comply. The suspect was arrested in Berdsk. If convicted, the man will face from 15 to 20 years in prison.

In the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region [Russia’s constituent subject], a local resident who stabbed his acquaintances has had his sentence commuted. Ivan Chistyakov attacked two acquaintances with a knife for criticizing the Russian army at dinner. The court considered the actions (criticizing the Russian army) of the victims unlawful and commuted Ivan's sentence, sentencing him to two years and four months in prison for intentionally inflicting light and grievous bodily harm.

The Idel.Realii online media outlet found dozens of cases submitted for consideration under the AWOL article on the court website. The Samara region (12 cases) and Bashkortostan (10) became the leaders in the number of cases received in May. The Nizhny Novgorod Garrison Military Court received five such cases, the Saratov Garrison Military Court — four, Ulyanovsk and Penza ones — two each, and Kazan and Orenburg — one each during the same month.

The source of the VChK-OGPU Telegram channel told about the huge police and FSB forces deployed to confiscate drones from citizens. Raids began in the Moscow metro. It also became known that in the metro, a passenger was detained with a drone, which he wanted to send as aid to the "special military operation" participants.

The Moscow City Court dismissed an appeal against the sentence of Aleksey Nechushkin, who was sentenced to four years in a penal colony for ramming a fence in a car with anti-war slogans in February 2022.

Assistance and Children

On May 31, a branch of the Special Military Operation Participants Support Fund will open in Ufa. The fund's employees will communicate with the "special military operation" participants and their families, helping to resolve issues related to providing medical assistance, rehabilitation, and prosthetics.

The authorities gave a baby stroller purchased from donations of local residents to the widow of a participant of the "special military operation" from Arkhangelsk, after she gave birth to twins.

10th graders of a gymnasium in Saratov arrived at the Avangard [Avant-garde] educational and methodological center for the military-patriotic education of youth to take five-days training courses. The young men will study military regulations, drill, military topography and engage in fire, tactical and first aid training.


The iStories [independent Russian investigative media outlet] have noted that now some participants in the war in Ukraine are trying to find work through popular online job boards like Avito and even mention their combat experience in their resumes. The journalists talked to them about their attempts to adapt to civilian life and find civilian jobs.

The Novosibirsk Opera House orders the repair of the entrance to the bomb shelter at a cost of 9.8 million rubles.

The Moscow branch of the Union of Artists of Russia opened an exhibition of visual art by propagandists, organized by the Agitfront project. The authors are invited to touch upon such topics as the reunification of the historical Russian lands, mobilization and a responsible attitude towards it, and the ideological and value confrontation of the worlds.

The Association of Entrepreneurs for the Development of Business Patriotism "Avanti" addressed the head of the Ministry of Labor of the Russian Federation, Anton Kotyakov, with a proposal to introduce a six-day workweek. Extending the working week, according to the authors, will help increase the strength of the Russian economy in the face of modern challenges and achieve the goals set by Russian President Vladimir Putin for 2023.

Insurance companies will not compensate for damage to the property and health of policyholders caused by hostilities, nuclear strikes, or civil war in accordance with Article 964 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation, as announced by a representative of the All-Russian Union of Insurers.