mobilization briefs
May 27

Mobilization in Russia for May 24-26, 2024 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

The DumaBingo open data project, which investigates the lobbying interests behind the bills originating in the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia], in collaboration with the Vyorstka media outlet, has published an analysis of legislative initiatives for the month of April. During this period, State Duma members introduced 60 bills and passed eight. The authors note, inter alia, that Rosgvardia [the Russian National Guard] could become the operator of state information systems, while Rus Outdoor, a company holding 40% of the country’s outdoor advertising market, could see 10% or more of its billboards used in the next 10 years for a propaganda campaign promoting combat operations.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

In the city of Lyubertsy, Moscow region, authorities conducted a raid on a mosque during the Friday prayer. The Ostorozhno, Moskva [Caution, Moscow] news outlet has reported that police officers and military commissariat [enlistment office] officials rounded up all the men and took them to a draft office in five buses. Witnesses say that, on the same day, authorities sent off to a military collection point all those who met the criteria for conscription, even if they were attached to draft offices in other regions. Subsequently, they were dispatched to military units to perform their statutory military service.

The Sota media outlet spoke with a representative of the Prizyv k Sovesti [Call to Conscience] coalition, who said that Moscow authorities have been actively rounding up conscripts for the past ten days. Contrary to the law, they have involved the police and have been using facial recognition cameras. For instance, police officers used such a camera to detain 24-year-old Boris at the Oktyabrskaya metro station in the city center. From the police station, officials forcibly transferred him to a military collection point, confiscated his mobile phone and compelled him to appear before a medical evaluation board. Currently, they are preparing to dispatch him to a military unit. Earlier, Boris had been served with a draft notice and reported to the Unified Military Recruitment Center, where a commission found him fit for duty despite a spinal fracture. As this condition is not compatible with conscription, Boris appealed the decision. However, instead of granting him legal protection until the court hearing scheduled for June 18, authorities declared him a draft dodger and ordered his detention.

According to the lawyers, raids and roundups targeting men of conscription age are becoming standard practice in Moscow. Their basic rights are routinely violated, with medical evaluation boards manipulating diagnoses to qualify conscripts as fit for service without additional examinations. The draft board in Moscow fails to review complaints within due time limits, and the courts decline requests for preliminary legal protection. Meanwhile, the system of facial recognition cameras installed in all metro stations is made available to the police to track down, detain and transport potential conscripts to military collection points.

Another distinctive feature of the spring 2024 conscription campaign is the alarmingly low number of approved applications for alternative civilian service to be performed in lieu of statutory military service. So far, only one such case has been reported. Other conscientious objectors who opted out of military service were told their applications would be reviewed once it is clear if the targeted number of conscripts for Moscow has been reached. Finally, there is a particular focus on last-year college students, who receive call-up notices for June and July, leaving them just enough time to complete their program before the end of the conscription campaign.

At least 15 young men with health issues qualifying them as unfit for military service are being unlawfully held at a Moscow military collection point on Ugreshskaya Street. According to the men, there can be as many as 60 conscripts held at the collection point in total. Their parents are campaigning outside, claiming that their sons are being wrongfully detained. Half of the young men have already been examined by the medical evaluation board and assigned to specific military units. They have been issued uniforms and told to get ready for departure. Human rights activists have reported incidents of physical harassment and intimidation, including some conscripts having their heads forcibly shaved. On the night of May 25, some of the detained men were transported to designated military units.

In Tula, 24-year-old Nikita Khakhel, who was initially deemed fit for limited military service by the city's military commissariat, is being forced to join the army. On May 23, Khakhel visited a regional military collection point to have his health-related draft exemption confirmed through a control medical examination. However, his service fitness category was changed to "fully fit," and he was issued a draft notice appointing him to a military unit on the same day. From that point onward, Khakhel was illegally held at the military collection point and subjected to threats from the employees, who confiscated his passport. Despite this, he managed to file a lawsuit through a lawyer to appeal the decision of the draft board, and he also lodged complaints to the Military Prosecutor’s Office, Commissioner for Human Rights and the governor. On the evening of May 25, Khakhel fell ill and was brought to a military hospital by ambulance, even though he was not yet a serviceman. Khakhel left the hospital on the same day, but on the morning of May 26, he was detained by police and returned to the military collection point.

The Kiborg [Cyborg] group of soccer fans from Tula, known for openly endorsing neo-Nazi ideology, has joined the war against Ukraine. This decision was made in response to the Tula prosecutor’s office demanding that their group be recognized as an extremist organization and banned in Russia. Although the hearing of the lawsuit was scheduled for June 5, all Kiborg members have already left for the war. They have joined the Moskva [Moscow] Reconnaissance Unit of the 106th Airborne Division, which is sponsored by Konstantin Malofeev, a far-right oligarch.

Mobilized Soldiers, Volunteer Fighters and Contract Soldiers

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Purbo-Dorzho Bazarov, Aleksey Larionov, Aleksey Bekker and Konstantin Karbainov from Russia’s constituent Republic of Buryatia, Mikhail Prudnikov from the Irkutsk region, Sergey Akimenko from the Tomsk region, Aleksandr Ostrov from the Vladimir region, as well as Ilya Maspanov and Pavel Yershov from the Moscow region.

Fighters from the disbanded Kaskad military unit, who were not paid for their participation in the war, are planning to sue their command. The servicemen, who had previously recorded a video address complaining about the lack of payment, have decided to file a lawsuit in the so-called Supreme Court of the "DPR."

Yevgeny Gusakov, a mobilized soldier from the Volgograd region, has been denied discharge from the army. Gusakov cited the disability of one of his three children, who requires medical treatment, and mentioned his own serious neurological condition. However, the court sided with the command, stating that this exemption only applies to conscripts, not to mobilized soldiers.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

In the city of Belgorod, a soldier detonated a grenade in an apartment. The soldier was unharmed in the explosion, and surveillance cameras showed him calmly exiting the building afterward. Meanwhile, in Saint Petersburg, a local resident was detained in the metro with a grenade fuse, which he claimed to have brought from the frontline.

In the Leninsky district of Chelyabinsk, a mass brawl occurred between former mercenaries of the Wagner Group and local youth. According to Telegram channels, the conflict began over an 18-year-old girl, whose companion was assaulted by her ex-boyfriend. The girl's father, 42-year-old former mercenary Aleksandr, stepped in to defend her. He arrived at a meeting with the ex-boyfriend and his friends, accompanied by several fellow mercenaries. During the ensuing mass brawl, the mercenaries initially had the upper hand, but soon reinforcements armed with traumatic pistols arrived to support the youth. The Wagnerites fled, with one former mercenary sustaining injuries. Police officers who arrived at the scene detained three young men, including one minor. A source from the VChK-OGPU Telegram channel reported that the former mercenaries have announced the gathering of all their fellow Wagnerites with the intention of dealing with the offenders. Subsequently, special forces units from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Rosgvardia have been put on duty in the city.

Another brawl involving war veterans occurred in Bashkortostan [Russia's constituent republic]. According to Telegram channels, the fight involved members of a local diaspora and military personnel on leave. Approximately 150 people participated in the brawl. The Investigative Committee reported that the mass brawl began after an attack on two participants of the "special military operation," for whom local residents then stood up. The head of the district stated that the conflict arose "on domestic grounds in a cafe amid alcohol consumption." A criminal case has been initiated on charges of hooliganism.

Last May, a Russian soldier assaulted a passerby for wearing colored glasses. The incident resulted in the victim suffering a broken nose and finger. However, the court released the perpetrator from criminal liability, classifying the harm to health as moderate. The soldier pleaded guilty and paid 100,000 rubles [$1,110] as moral compensation. The court also fined him 40,000 rubles [$450].

ATESH [a military partisan movement in the occupied territories of Ukraine and in Russia] has claimed responsibility for the destruction of a relay cabinet on the railway in Yaroslavl. This act led to malfunctions at the nearest railway station. They also stated that their aim was to disrupt the transportation of military goods from local companies.

Courts in two Russian cities have denied Baptists the right to perform alternative civilian service. German Strelkov from Khanty-Mansiysk and Zakhar Asmalovsky from Krasnodar received refusals and will appeal the court decisions. This is not the first time Asmalovsky has attempted to secure the right to perform alternative civilian service.


A hospital in Belgorod is overcrowded with wounded Russian soldiers. Civilian hospitals in the region are being used to treat both military personnel and local civilians, whereas the local military hospital is not accepting the wounded.

Children and Educational System

Vladimir State University has inaugurated a propaganda exhibition titled "Ordinary Nazism," dedicated to the war with Ukraine and the "crimes of Ukrainian neo-Nazis."


Authorities in Murmansk plan to construct a 70-meter cathedral on a site unsuitable for such a structure, alongside opening a museum dedicated to the "special military operation." Architects, builders and active citizens oppose the construction, while the governor and the church support it. The outcomes of the public hearings held online have not been published.

Ex-convicts who have enlisted from penal colonies into the Wagner Group or signed contracts with the Ministry of Defense continue to be hailed as heroes in reports. Memorial plaques and stands dedicated to them are featured in libraries. Another collection of such "heroes" and their "deeds" is showcased in the Govorit NeMoskva [NonMoscow Is Speaking] Telegram channel. Meanwhile, the Sirena [Siren] Telegram channel highlighted that a resident of the Irkutsk region, sentenced to 17 years in a penal colony for murder, enlisted in the Wagner Group, received a pardon for participating in the war, and is now meeting with schoolchildren.


Novaya Gazeta Europe [European edition of the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta] has reported that the quality of the organization of the educational process and teaching at top Russian universities has been seriously affected since the beginning of the war in Ukraine. Dovod [independent Russian media outlet] has prepared a piece on how the pressure of propaganda in Russian schools has intensified since the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Novaya Gazeta Europe has also released a piece on how people live in Belgorod, where the administration is not expediting the relocation of citizens from semi-destroyed homes.

Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] interviewed the mother of Vladimir Malina, who was sentenced to 25 years for arson of a relay cabinet, including about threats and beatings during interrogations. The woman believes she will not live to see her son's release.