mobilization briefs
May 27, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for May 25–26, 2023 CIT volunteer summary

Authorities and Legislation

Andrey Kartapolov, Chairman of the Defense Committee of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia], suggested the creation of the joint headquarters to coordinate all law enforcement agencies involved in protection of the border with Ukraine. In his opinion, there are enough of those in the Belgorod region, but they are not consolidated into a single system.

The bill to exclude the status of a police officer from the number of aggravating circumstances in a crime is proposed to be approved in the second reading by the State Duma. The initiators of the bill suggest this change would eliminate the discrimination of the internal affairs body employees in relation to those of other law enforcement agencies. However, they recommend rejecting the amendment which extends the rule of recognizing the status of other law enforcement agents as aggravating circumstances in a crime.

The bill on the mandatory involvement of schoolchildren in socially useful work was submitted to the State Duma. The examples of such work include planting trees and flowers in the school grounds, participation in decorating of the classroom or school grounds, assistance in the library and museum. According to the initiators of the bill, its adoption "will form the basis for improving the Handicrafts school program."

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

The Mozhem Ob'yasnit [We can explain] Telegram channel told the story of two conscripts from Moscow — 22-year-old Ivan Dubenko and 20-year-old Yevgeny Komarov. Law enforcers broke into their homes and took away their phones, brought the young people to the draft office where they were conscripted in one day, while being beaten and threatened with sexual assault. The medical evaluation board ignored the young men's health conditions, despite those rendering them unfit for military service. The conscripts' relatives intend to address the Military Prosecutor's office and the Chief Military Investigative Department, and meet face-to-face with Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin who is also heading the city draft board.

The Idite Lesom [Flee through the woods/Get lost you all] project has noticed that tourist information centers in Moscow are being redesigned to advertise contract military service. Banners advertising contract military service were noticed in Adler and Samara.

According to Governor of the Kaliningrad region Anton Alikhanov, the region has completed equipping a group of volunteer fighters for participation in the "special military operation". The governor has not disclosed the number of people in this group.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

Andrey Butskikh from the Volgograd region, Igor Shakhmatov from Yekaterinburg, Maksim Vostrukhin from the Omsk region, and Grigory Sebekin from the Astrakhan region were added to the lists of mobilized soldiers who were killed in the war.

Journalists from Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] and BBC News Russian, together with volunteers, have confirmed the death of 24,005 Russian soldiers in the war with Ukraine, including 2,293 mobilized soldiers, based on open sources. Over the past week, 719 names, including 64 names of the mobilized soldiers, were added to the casualty list. One-third of all Russian casualties are those who were not connected with the army before the start of the invasion: volunteer fighters, mobilized soldiers, convicts, and mercenaries.

Governor of the Belgorod region Vyacheslav Gladkov claims that Yury Gorevoy, Company Commander of the Preobrazhensky Local Self-Defense Battalion, was killed during the raid of the Russian Volunteer Corps [a paramilitary anti-government group of Russian citizens fighting for Ukraine] into the Belgorod region. Allegedly, Gorevoy was shot in the head. It is the first time that the existence of this battalion was acknowledged publicly.

Governor of the Kursk region Roman Starovoyt argued that members of the territorial defense brigades operating in the border regions should be permitted to use firearms. According to Starovoyt, civilian volunteers receive firearm training led by instructors from the Wagner Group at the training grounds of the Ministry of Defense and Rosgvardia [National Guard of Russia, an internal military force reporting directly to Putin]. The governor points out that access to firearms should only be granted to civilians who can demonstrate competence and solely in the event of an counter-terrorism operation or under martial law.

Complaints were received from mobilized soldiers from Budyonnovsk, Stavropol region, deployed to the "LPR" in May 2023, who had their military IDs taken away and were equipped with damaged bulletproof vests and defective firearms. The soldiers recorded a video appeal directly to Putin pleading with him to intervene.

Local activist Svetlana Chvanova tracked down a few mobilized men in the Vladimir region who dodge their military duty "staying at home and hitting the bottle" instead of fighting in Ukraine. She was outraged to find out that the dodgers are paid 200,000 rubles [$2500] monthly, half of which is being shared with their commanders. The woman admitted having already reported two of these men to the military police.

A resident of Bashkortostan [Russia’s constituent republic] complained that her son, who is participating in the war with Ukraine, is not receiving the promised payments. According to the woman, while he served in the republic's volunteer battalion, the money was being delivered properly, but problems arose after his transfer to the unit in Ulan-Ude.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings, and Incidents

Police in the Rostov region received information about several dozen fighters who fled on May 24 from Lysychansk (the occupied part of the Luhansk region). This information was confirmed to a correspondent of the 161.RU Telegram channel by a source in the military structure of the "LPR". The source reports that the deserters are 39 former prisoners who were serving in the Storm Z unit. Information about the recruitment of prisoners into similar units has been received before. During the escape, a soldier from the Ministry of State Security of the "LPR" was killed. There has been no official confirmation of the escape yet.

The Abakan Garrison Military Court sentenced a private to five years of conditional imprisonment for going AWOL. The soldier left the unit on Nov. 7, 2022, and was apprehended by the military commandant's office on Feb. 4 of this year.

On May 24, a show trial of a contract soldier was held at the Officers’ Club of the Vladikavkaz Garrison. The man was sentenced to five and a half years in a penal colony for failing to report for duty on time without just cause. That was not the first show trial of a serviceman in Vladikavkaz. Previously, a contract soldier was convicted on the criminal charge of absence without official leave.

A mobilized serviceman, Vladimir Konstantinov, has been sentenced to five years in penal colony for evading service. He went AWOL from the tent camp of a military unit in the Novosibirsk region on Dec. 29, 2022, and came back home to his family. Konstantinov has pleaded guilty and stated during interrogation that "it is better to go to jail than to the frontline."

The Crimea Garrison Military Court has sentenced a contract soldier to two years in penal colony for going AWOL. The serviceman had departed for home on Oct. 6, 2022, and never reported back for duty at the unit. He was arrested in December.

In the Tomsk region, a person convicted of death threats and illicit possession of weapons had his sentence deferred as he enlisted for the war against Ukraine. The court ruled that signing the contract is an exceptional circumstance that inhibits the execution of the sentence.

On the night of May 26, unknown persons set fire to a relay cabinet near the Chukhlinka station in the Eastern district of Moscow. The fire was extinguished in 30 minutes. According to the Baza Telegram channel, three persons are wanted for arson. Another relay cabinet was set on fire in the daytime in Saint Petersburg, on the Borovaya—Ligovo stretch. In both cases, nobody has been arrested so far.

A resident of Gelendzhik was arrested for preparing an explosion at a law enforcement facility in the region. A criminal case has been opened in preparation for a terrorist attack. According to the Federal Security Service (FSB), the arrested person is a Russian citizen born in 1981; an improvised explosive device was seized from a cache.

The spouse of a military serviceman deployed in the combat zone has threatened to detonate the administration office building in the Kirov region. 32-year-old Maria F. went to meet with the deputy head of the Pizhansky municipal district administration. At some point, a conflict ensued: Maria threatened to bring a grenade, which her spouse had brought from Ukraine, and blow up the administration building if her demands were not met. Police officers were called to the scene, and the woman faces criminal charges for knowingly making a false report of an act of terror with the intention of destabilizing the activities of the authorities.

Traffic police officers in Moscow have been instructed to inspect vehicles for the presence of suspicious drones. If the capital city officers find an unmanned aerial vehicle, they are required to determine the purpose of its use by the driver and where it is being transported.

Member of the Ulyanovsk City Duma [regional assembly] Vladimir Ozhogin has filed a complaint against journalists over the publication of a document confirming that he refused to participate in combat operations two weeks into the war. Ozhogin stated that the published fragment of the document is fake and demanded an investigation into the authors of the publication on charges of "discrediting the Russian Armed Forces."

Igor Sandjiev, the Russian who fled from mobilization to Kazakhstan, as we reported yesterday, has been given a month to voluntarily leave the country. However, Sandjiev is unable to leave as his passport remains in the military unit in Russia from which he escaped. His only available option now is to illegally cross the border of yet another country. In Russia, he faces up to 10 years in prison or a suspended sentence and deployment to war.


Participants of the Young Army [pro-Kremlin youth organization] House, opened at school No. 18 in Kansk town in the Krasnoyarsk region, cleared the area near the mobilized soldier’s family's house. In future, the activists are ready to take responsibility for those who need regular assistance.

The Ministry of Defense stated that the servicemen are fully provided with all personal belongings, heat retaining materials, as well as weapons, and the department itself has all the necessary resources to supply the servicemen. At the same time, the Ministry of Defense believes that all voluntary collection of aid does not indicate a low level of support for the servicemen, but rather reflects the "level of civilian solidarity" with the participants of the war.


The Donbas. Children and War exhibition is taking place at the Novosibirsk State University. According to the organizers, the exhibition showcases drawings made by children from the Donetsk region of Ukraine who have been living in Russia since 2014. In their drawings, children depicted coffins, tanks, servicemen, and wrote words of gratitude to Russia.

Lyubov Sobol [Russian anticorruption activist and opposition politician] reports that a Moscow school distributed Wagner Group, Russian Airborne Forces, and "LDPR" flags to fresh grads during their graduation ceremony.

After analyzing state procurement data, journalists from the Polygon media outlet found out that since 2022, Russian authorities have spent at least 122 million rubles [$1,540,000] from the state budget to buy mock assault rifles, machine guns, and grenade launchers. The items are then sent to schools, universities, patriotic clubs, and even retirement homes.


Towns and cities in the Zabaykalsky region have started erecting memorial complexes in honor of "special military operation" heroes. Four cities in the region are planning to construct such sites this year using a presidential subsidy. Meanwhile, in Syktyvkar in the [Russian constituent] Republic of Komi, authorities are planning to open a "Z-Park" dedicated simultaneously to World War II veterans and those killed in the war in Ukraine.

The Moscow Department of Mass Media and Advertising allocated 380,000 rubles [$4810] to produce "printed material addressed to residents of landmine-contaminated areas." Among others, the material targets children living "on territories subject to danger presented by landmines." The 4,000 print run will be distributed among the capital libraries, educational institutions, and public organizations.

According to the Baza news outlet, Rosaviatsia [Russian air-transport agency] hosted a meeting with representatives of the major airlines. Initially, airlines were asked to bump civilian passengers from flights in order to board military personnel. The airlines stated that they were not allowed to do so under the law. As a result, an agreement was reached where the airlines would reserve five seats on each flight for the military personnel heading on leave from the combat zone or going back to their units.