mobilization briefs
May 29, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for May 26–28, 2023 CIT volunteer summary

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

The Mobilizatsiya [Mobilization] Telegram channel has noticed that the Kursk region’s Hygiene & Epidemiology Center initiated a public procurement of training in mobilization organization. Similar procurements were initiated by Saint Petersburg’s kindergarten No. 32 and the Vologda region’s authorities.

Promotion of signing a contract with the Ministry of Defense took place at a historical festival and an ice cream festival in Saint Petersburg. A mobile recruitment facility was set up in an old GAZelle minibus in Kasimov, Ryazan region.

According to the Idite Lesom [Flee through the woods/Get lost you all] project, mass texting is ongoing in Saint Petersburg with a requirement to report to the draft office for a "personal military registration data check-up."

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

Aleksey Davydenko and Aleksandr Yevseyev from the Novosibirsk region were added to the lists of mobilized soldiers who were killed in the war.

Mobilized soldiers from several Russian regions are complaining about problems with getting medical treatment and the imminent return back to the frontline. Thus, doctors did not remove a bullet from the leg of a serviceman from the Sverdlovsk region. The injured man is demanding an examination, out of fear that the military medical evaluation board would send him back to the frontline. A mobilized soldier from the Irkutsk region got injured as far back as January 23. He is now in a military hospital in Yekaterinburg, with a fragment stuck between his heart and lungs. The soldier is still waiting for surgery, as medical treatment is provided to the severely injured as a priority. His wife said that he would be sent back to war once the fragment is removed. Families of mobilized soldiers from the Samara region are complaining on social media about servicemen being declared fully fit for duty and sent back to war.

Residents of the Yaroslavl region complain to the Governor on social networks about the sending of conscripts from the region to the border with Ukraine. In response, the regional government said that according to the law, conscripts can perform tasks on the Russian territory near the state border.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings, and Incidents

The Astra Telegram channel received details of the escape of 39 former convicts from the Storm Z unit. In particular, an APB shows that the deserters were armed with automatic weapons and could drive two trucks: a Kamaz and a Mitsubishi L200. According to the Baza Telegram channel, police received descriptions of another ten cars, which could also have been taken by the escapees. According to a 161.RU source in the law enforcement agencies of the Rostov region, ten fighters were detained on their way to Kadiivka (Stakhanov).

Seven more former convicts escaped with weapons from a military unit near Soledar. According to the Channel One's [Russian state-owned TV channel] "war correspondent" Irina Kuksenkova, three of them were found drunk in one of the cafes in the occupied town of Brianka near Luhansk. At the same time, according to the escapees, they shot one of their own for wanting to surrender. According to the TASS [Russian state-owned news agency], two more deserters were detained later.

Note that the reports received are quite contradictory. It is not always clear to which group of fugitives certain detainees belong and whether the group of seven deserters is part of a larger group of 39 fugitives.

A video appeal by the soldiers of the Storm unit of the 72nd Motorized Rifle Brigade was published. The men claim that they were threatened with execution by firing squad by the brigade commander Roman Venevitin because the unit commander decided to withdraw people from the village of Otradivka, where they were sent to assault without any artillery support or communication with the command. Soldiers believe that the command purposefully sends them to be killed. The men also said that near Otradivka, they saw convicts from the Storm Z unit who suffered heavy losses as they were sent to position without any support. Retreating to the rear, the unit met several retreat-blocking units of Wagner Group mercenaries. After the retreat, the soldiers began to be threatened with execution.

In the Tambov region, former head of the Russian military-patriotic club Oleg Borisenko, who had previously recorded an appeal to his former students with a call not to participate in the war in Ukraine and another appeal to the mayor of the city, was arrested for 15 days. The unpaid fine for crossing the road in the wrong place became the reason for the arrest.

Roskomnadzor [Russia's internet censorship agency] has declared the public movement Council of Mothers and Wives and its coordinator, Olga Tsukanova, as "foreign agents." In a video statement, Tsukanova expressed her belief that the recognition of herself and the Council of Mothers and Wives as "foreign agents" is completely unlawful. Activists of the Council of Mothers and Wives have launched a campaign in defense of the movement. More information on the Council of Mothers and Wives and why it cannot be called an anti-war movement can be found in the article by Vazhnyye Istorii [iStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet].

Director of the Novosibirsk Novocollege Sergey Chernyshov, who opposes military propaganda in the educational institution, has also been declared a "foreign agent." According to him, the law is written in such a way that the "foreign agent" status will not hinder the institution's work.

According to the information from the VChK-OGPU Telegram channel, another high-profile trial of a serviceman accused of desertion (Article 337(5) of the Russian Criminal Code) took place in Tyumen. On May 19, a mobile session of the military court sentenced the serviceman to six years in a general regime penal colony.

The Vladimir Garrison Military Court sentenced a mobilized soldier to three years in prison for unauthorized leave (Article 337(5) of the Russian Criminal Code). The soldier fled the unit one day before being sent to the war in Ukraine. He explained his actions by citing the poor health condition of his partner. The court took into consideration the mitigating circumstance that the man had previously served in Russia’s constituent Republic of Chechnya.

The Vladimir Garrison Military Court sentenced a mobilized soldier to seven years of maximum-security penal colony for fatally stabbing a drinking companion during a conflict that arose "in the context of events related to the special military operation." He was convicted of intentionally causing grievous bodily harm resulting in death of a person (Article 111 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). The court considered it an aggravating factor that the crime was committed during mobilization, as imprisonment “allows avoiding military service.”

Another act of sabotage occurred on the railway in Domodedovo, Belye Stolby neighborhood, Moscow region. Unknown individuals set fire to four relay cabinets and fled the scene. A criminal case has been initiated under the article "impairment of communication routes."

Two residents of the Leningrad region have been arrested for setting fire to relay cabinets in the Krasnogvardeisky district of Saint Petersburg on the night of May 25. According to preliminary information, 31-year-old Miroslav P. and 26-year-old Alexandr G. committed the crime for 20,000 rubles [$250].

During the proceedings of a criminal case in Norilsk regarding the deaths caused by an avalanche in January 2021, the accused municipal employee Yevgeny Panfyorov left to join the war and the consideration of his case was suspended. As a result, the court found other officials guilty, while the case against Panfyorov may now be dismissed.

Valery Yevlakhov, former director of Stavropol's Vodokanal Municipal Unitary Enterprise and a current aide to the regional governor, will avoid the sentence in a strict regime penal colony and a fine of 22 million rubles [$275,000]. Instead, he will go to the war in Ukraine. Yevlakhov had faced accusations of extorting a bribe from the CEO of the AK Stavropol-Avto company in exchange for approving the operation of a water pipeline.


In Buryatia [Russia’s constituent republic], the Association of Entrepreneurs in Tourism has allocated 100 complimentary trip vouchers for families of participants in the war.

The Russian Orthodox Church continues to provide spiritual and material support to the "special military operation" participants. In Tambov, a senior priest blessed two UAZ vehicles prepared for deployment to war. Workers in the sewing shop at the Krasnoyarsk church of John the Baptist crafted over 10,000 balaclavas for "special military operation" participants.

In the city of Lipetsk, a business focused on preparing vehicles for off-road racing has turned to producing a high-performance off-road vehicle intended for participation in the "special military operation."

On May 27, in Moscow, a ceremony was held where 50 vehicles were presented to the families of law enforcement and military personnel who were killed during the "special military operation."


War propaganda continues among children in Russia. In Lipetsk, on the eve of Children's Day [International Day for Protection of Children, Jun. 1], the city mayor, Yevgenia Uvarkina, honored children who contribute to supporting the war participants: school students sew items for soldiers, make tents and trench candles, weave camouflage nets, assist loading, and write letters. Additionally, in the region, 150 officers and veterans will conduct lessons of courage for students. The authorities plan to organize seven "dialogue platforms" where young people will be informed about military service. The Presidential Grants Foundation supports the events.

In the Belgorod region, teenagers are being sent to the Armata camp for training. According to the information from the Govorit NeMoskva Telegram channel, schoolchildren and college students will undergo an express course of military training over five days. The camp will operate in seven municipal districts of the region until Aug. 25.

In Severodvinsk, Arkhangelsk region, children from a correctional boarding school are being taught how to knit camouflage nets for the military. Meanwhile, a kindergarten in Nizhnekamsk has collected "dry showers" and "survival bracelets" for the Tatarstan's Alga volunteer battalion.

SOTA [independent news outlet] obtained a new Russian history textbook for 10th-11th graders, which includes a chapter dedicated to the war in Ukraine. Students will study from this textbook starting from the next academic year. For more detailed information on the contents of the chapter, you can refer to the publication by Meduza [international Russian-language online media outlet]. The editors of the Russkoe Slovo publishing house informed journalists from the Pod'yom media outlet that the use of this textbook is not mandatory.

Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] reports that ultra-patriots lashed out with accusations against one of the public schools in the city of Perm for having refused to invite "special military operation" participants to meet with the students.


Started six months ago, the Idite Lesom project has helped several thousand Russian citizens flee abroad to avoid being sent to the war in Ukraine. Those unable to leave Russia have received legal assistance in seeking refuge from the draft in the country. The project founder, coordinators and one of the men who has managed to dodge mobilization describe how the project works and what difference it makes to the lives of its clients.

Environmental scientist from Komi [constituent republic of Russia] Aleksey Semyonov staged an anti-war performance he titled "Izhma Rehearses Welcoming Its KIAs" at the local community center on Sep. 24. He called for sabotage of the mobilization campaign and launched an online poll asking if members of the local community would condemn their fellow countryman who chose to avoid mobilization.

The Astra Telegram channel published comments outraged residents of the town of Shebekino, Belgorod region, had left under the posts made by Governor Gladkov announcing the death of a civilian due to a fire at the Khimteks chemical plant. The residents are shocked and appalled by the constant shelling of the town.

Although the Yekaterinburg city authorities had forbidden the car rally in support of the Wagner Group due to security reasons, 50 to 100 cars gathered regardless, parading in convoy with Wagner flags and banners towards the cemetery that contains a large number of graves of the mercenaries. No police presence was noted at the scene. The Ministry of Public Security of the region reported that an application against those who orchestrated the rally was lodged to law enforcement agencies.