mobilization briefs
May 28

Mobilization in Russia for May 26-27, 2024 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

Since the fall of 2022, members of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] have introduced 17 bills which would have expanded the grounds for deferral or exemption from mobilization, but none of them have been approved, notes the Voyennye Advokaty [Military Lawyers] Telegram channel. The bills that have been voted down would have provided, among others:

  • Exemptions for individuals who have never served in the military;
  • Deferrals for individual entrepreneurs, sole participants of a legal entity and farm heads;
  • Deferrals for those whose close relatives have died in the line of duty;
  • Deferrals for parents and guardians of disabled children.

Only two bills remain without rejection from the relevant committee of the State Duma: the first seeks to loosen deferral requirements by considering dependents up to 18 years of age instead of 16, while the other would grant mobilized soldiers the right to be discharged if their family is formally recognized as having many children.

Authorities and Relatives of Mobilized Soldiers

In Novosibirsk, the mayor’s office denied permission for a rally planned by relatives of mobilized soldiers on the Day of Protection of Children in Russia [June 1]. The authorities’ response states that the rally’s goal lends itself to "arbitrary, ambiguous and vague interpretation" and "does not reflect the intended result." It also includes a reminder of the legal consequences of organizing an unsanctioned event.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

The authorities of Russia’s constituent Republic of Tatarstan have increased the sign-up bonus for volunteer fighters signing a contract with the Ministry of Defense by 200,000 rubles [$2,230]. Now, those willing to go to war will receive 505,000 rubles [$5,640] from the region. Additionally, 195,000 rubles [$2,180] will be provided by the federal government. Thus, the total sign-up bonus could reach up to 1 million rubles [$11,200] when including support measures from cities, districts, and enterprises within the republic. The new payments apply to those who signed the contract in Tatarstan, regardless of their actual place of residence. The same amount will also be paid to foreigners. Recently, the sign-up bonus was also increased to 505,000 rubles [$5,640] in the Voronezh region.

In the city of Angarsk, Irkutsk region, an exhibition featuring photographs of soldiers killed in the war was held on City Day. According to the independent media outlet Lyudi Baikala [People of Baikal], the gallery showcased only those soldiers who were posthumously awarded orders or medals. Next to the photo exhibition, the Ministry of Defense set up a tent where attendees could sign a contract.

In a Moscow clinic, a student was denied medical care and sent to undergo an examination at the draft office, where after waiting in line for eight hours, he was tricked into signing a waiver of his draft deferral. The young man signed it without reading it. In court, in response to a complaint by his relatives, it was stated that he would not be detained. In the evening, however, the police arrested him as a draft dodger and took him to a military collection point on Ugreshskaya Street.

Nikita Khakhel, a 24-year-old resident of the city of Tula, who was detained on May 24 and held at a military collection point in the Tula region, was transferred to Moscow. This was done under the pretext of a trip to the Military Prosecutor's Office of the Tula garrison in the private car of an employee of the military commissariat [enlistment office].

According to parents of conscripts (whose stories were shared by the Astra Telegram channel), those who were illegally detained over the weekend at a Moscow military collection point on Ugreshskaya Street and refused to wear military uniforms have been released. However, several young men remain at the military collection point, while others are at a unit in Mosrentgen [a neighborhood of Moscow]. According to the mother of one of the detained young men, they are awaiting the arrival of representatives from various units for further deployment. More details about the forcibly detained conscripts were covered in our previous summary.

The Mozhem Ob'yasnit [We Can Explain] Telegram channel spoke with Sergey Krivenko, head of the Grazhdanin. Armiya. Pravo [Citizen. Army. Law] human rights society, about the ongoing roundups in Moscow. Krivenko noted that the police roundups are illegal—officers do not have the right to take conscripts to the draft office. They can approach them to deliver summonses or take them to a station to file a report for failure to appear. Krivenko advises against succumbing to pressure at the draft office and recommends refusing the medical examination by the medical evaluation board, which could lead to being sent to a unit the same day. The human rights advocate also suggests publicizing these events, as the authorities "are wary of dealing with enraged mothers."

The Vazhnyye Istorii [IStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet] has discussed the ongoing conscription campaign in Moscow with human rights activists. The Idite Lesom! [Flee through the woods/Get lost you all] project attributes the aggressiveness of the conscription campaigns to the "pursuit of the plan" and anticipates that the current campaign will be no less harsh than the 2023 fall conscription campaign. The main feature of the current conscription campaign in Moscow is the use of the Unified Military Recruitment Center, whose medical personnel systematically disregard health conditions that, by law, are grounds for exemption from service.

Mobilized Soldiers, Volunteer Fighters and Contract Soldiers

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Aleksandr Aleksashin from the Belgorod region, Oleg Morozov and Aleksandr Kurbatov from the Irkutsk region, Nikolay Lapyshev from the Nizhny Novgorod and Aleksandr Grigoryev from the Chelyabinsk region.

In the town of Kuvandyk in the Orenburg region, with a population of 23,000 people, more than 40 individuals have been killed in the war, as was discovered at the opening of a memorial square. Furthermore, the Pepel [Ashes] Telegram channel has estimated that at least one out of every 27 mobilized soldiers from the Belgorod region has died in the war in Ukraine. Moreover, last week alone, Pepel published the names of 20 soldiers missing in action.

According to the Vyorstka media outlet, the number of mobilized soldiers coerced into signing contracts with the Ministry of Defense has increased in Russia. Several sources among the mobilized and their relatives reported that after refusing to sign the contract, the mobilized were placed in so-called "pits" and, after a few days, were transferred to assault brigades. Draft office employees interviewed by the Vyorstka believe that such coercion aims to meet the quota for contract soldiers.

The Free Yakutia Foundation independent media outlet published a video with wounded "special military operation" participants. According to the explanation, those who refuse to return to the war against Ukraine are being held in a pre-trial detention center in Yakutsk. Human rights activists report that about 28 people are being held in one cell, without being allowed to go to the toilet.

Several individuals recruited from penal colonies have been reported killed in the war. Aleksey Ishkin was sentenced to 16 years in a maximum security penal colony for murdering his girlfriend and her mother. He was supposed to be released in 2032, but signed a contract and was killed. In Udmurtia [Russia's constituent republic], 34-year-old Dmitry Galanov, who had smashed a woman's head with a hammer to rob her, was buried with honors. In 2019, he received nine and a half years in a penal colony for this crime. A "farewell to the hero" ceremony was held in the town of Ust-Kut for 44-year-old Anatoly Kharitonov, who was killed in March. In 2013, he was sentenced to 10 years in a maximum security penal colony for rape and murder.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

Andrey Ashcheulov, the leader of the Kuraginskaya criminal group, who was sentenced to 18 years in a high security penal colony in 2019, has been detained on suspicion of murdering Anatoly Khokhlov, a father of four from the Krasnoyarsk region. According to the victim's relatives, the criminal authority shot Khokhlov point-blank in the head while he was riding his bicycle, because Ashcheulov "did not like something." The accused has been detained. Ashcheulov, who had been recruited into the Wagner Group, was pardoned for participating in the war and then returned to the Krasnoyarsk region. He is the 12th criminal authority recruited for the war, of which only three have survived.

The Novosibirsk Garrison Military Court has sentenced serviceman Dmitry Gorbachev to five and a half years in a penal colony for going AWOL. Gorbachev left his unit on Feb. 8, 2023, but returned voluntarily on Dec. 2.

The Tomsk Regional Court sentenced a 17-year-old local resident to four and a half years in a juvenile correctional facility for sabotage on the West Siberian Railway.


According to representatives of the Federal Bailiff Service of the Krasnoyarsk region, confiscated property from residents of the region, including cars, watercraft, and chainsaws, is being sent to support Russian soldiers.

Children and Educational System

On May 24 and 25, Last Bell ceremonies [analogous to Leavers' Day] and other festive events were held across Russia. The Ne Norma [Not a norm] Telegram channel notes that participants in the war with Ukraine were honored guests at these events.


The veterans of the "special military operation" failed in the United Russia primaries: they lost almost everywhere in the country, and in Moscow, not a single front-line soldier was selected. The exceptions were Perm, where three military personnel won, Chelyabinsk—five war participants, and Volgograd—two out of three. In Tomsk and Tatarstan, only one participant in the invasion passed the selection.

Governor of the Belgorod region Vyacheslav Gladkov has warned residents that authorities may refuse compensation for injuries, the death of a relative, or the destruction of vehicles as a result of an attack if it occurred in a locality where a state of emergency has been declared.