mobilization briefs
May 29

Mobilization in Russia for May 27-28, 2024 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

The federal government decided not to endorse the bill introduced by the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) [right-wing populist and ultranationalist political party], which would have allowed potential conscripts to work in enterprises of the military-industrial complex in lieu of statutory military service. The government noted that the initiative "would require an increase in the number of citizens, who perform their military service voluntarily (under a contract), leading to additional expenditures from the federal budget."

Spring Conscription Campaign 

Authorities have dispatched Tula resident Nikita Khakhel to a military unit, despite him being unfit for duty. Aleksey Ritter, Head of the Tula branch of the Memorial human rights organization, told the Astra Telegram channel that Khakhel is currently in Naro-Fominsk, at the base of the 4th Tank Division. Khakhel was last heard from on the evening of May 27. On that day, he indicated that officials were transferring him to Moscow under a false pretext. Earlier, on May 24, the police had detained the young man and taken him to a military collection point in the Tula region, where he was held until the evening of the next day.

Authorities are forcibly conscripting 22-year-old Aleksandr Ugulava from Moscow. In 2021, a draft office had deemed him "unfit for military service" due to several diagnosed conditions, but a month ago, a medical evaluation board changed the classification to "fit for military service with minor restrictions." Ugulava appealed the decision, but on May 22, before the appeal could be heard, authorities served him with a draft notice summoning him to the Unified Military Recruitment Center. Although a draft office representative called him on the same day to tell him there was no need to report in, criminal investigators paid a visit to his mother two days later, so the young man went to the military collection point later that day. According to his mother, the officials are not letting him leave the building and are planning to send him off to perform his military service in the Rostov region.

Mothers of conscripts gathered outside the Moscow draft office to campaign against the ongoing wave of police roundups targeting young men in the streets. They sought to meet the Moscow military commissar, who did not make himself available. According to the women, since May 24, police have been snatching men of conscription age from the streets of the Russian capital and taking them to the military collection point on Ugreshskaya Street. The conscripts who are still being held at the collection point or have already been taken to military units are trying to appeal the decision on their conscription, but so far without any success. Many of these conscripts have serious health issues or other legitimate grounds for exemption, prompting their relatives to take legal action and seek legal advice. The lawyer assisting the families revealed the unlawful conscription techniques and warned potential conscripts against accepting or signing conscription papers. Instead, the lawyer recommends appealing to the Moscow draft board immediately, as well as lodging complaints to the Moscow City Health Department whenever a disqualifying health problem is being ignored. Independent Russian media outlet Mediazona describes how parents in Moscow are going above and beyond to help their sons avoid conscription, provides an insight into conscription practices in Moscow, and offers advice on how to evade conscription.

In the Perm region [Russia’s federal subject], last-year school students reported receiving phone calls from draft offices summoning them for an in-person medical examination. Graduation exam commitments are not accepted as a valid excuse for failing to report to the draft office. The regional Ministry of Security claimed that draft offices routinely summon school students every year for military registration or personal data check-up. It should be noted that the law does not allow draft offices to summon high school students for medical examination during the spring conscription campaign. The medical examination can only be conducted with the voluntary consent of the school students. A draft office is authorized to summon a last-year school student only for the purpose of a personal data check-up and strictly by sending a formal summons.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

In the city of Krasnodar, the city council has introduced a bonus payment of 250,000 rubles [$2,810] for signing a contract with the Ministry of Defense. According to Mayor Yevgeny Naumov, this payment will be effective from June 1 to Oct. 1. Together with the regional payment, which was increased to 1 million rubles [$11,200] in April 2024, the federal payment of 195,000 rubles [$2,190], and an additional 200,000 rubles [$2,250] for service in a named unit, those signing contracts can receive up to 1.65 million rubles [$18,500]. This is the highest amount in Russia, 28 times the average salary in the region, as noted by Vazhnyye Istorii [IStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet]. In 2024, 14 Russian regions have increased sign-up bonuses for contract soldiers.

In the Tyumen region, migrants are being encouraged to join the war. Those who sign a contract in the region are promised an additional payment of 100,000 rubles [$1,120], as well as expedited Russian citizenship. Meanwhile, authorities in the city of Cheboksary have opened a mobile recruitment point for contract-based military service in Lakreevsky Forest Park.

Mobilized Soldiers, Volunteer Fighters and Contract Soldiers

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Nikolay Lyashenko from the Tula region, Andrey Morozov and Aleksandr Nilogov from the Perm region, and Aleksandr Gribanov from the Arkhangelsk region.

Four soldiers from the Bashkir Vatan volunteer unit killed by their commander Ramil Ulmasbayev, known by the call sign "Samurai," were buried as "heroes of the special military operation." Mediazona identified the deceased using the National Probate Registry and an obituary database. The soldiers—Igor Popov, Salavat Rafikov, Aidar Akhtaryanov, and Ilshat Nabiullin—were buried as having died in the line of duty. In December 2023, a "Hero's desk" was dedicated to Nabiullin's memory in a lyceum. Earlier, the Vot Tak media outlet reconstructed the chain of events leading to the murders and reported on the specific customs prevailing among Russian troops on the frontline. An eyewitness interviewed by the outlet recounted that in August 2023, an engineering reconnaissance commander with the call sign "Artist" began beating a fellow soldier after smelling alcohol on him. The fellow soldier responded by executing "Artist." A few days later, Ulmasbayev, the commander of the volunteer unit, decided to "eliminate" three witnesses to the murder. The obituaries do not mention the circumstances of their deaths.

A volunteer from Moscow and father of ten children, four of whom are disabled, is being denied leave. Aleksey Karavaev signed a contract with the Ministry of Defense in January 2023. In a year and a half, he has had only nine days of leave, while his superiors have withheld the remaining 76 days he is entitled to. Due to these violations and the lack of rest, the serviceman sought to terminate his contract early—a request his wife made in a letter on his behalf. In response, the Ministry of Defense representatives stated that contracts remain in effect until the end of the "partial" mobilization.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

Soldiers of the 108th Air Assault Regiment are suspected of torturing and murdering a 53-year-old resident of the Mykolaiv region. This was reported by the Ukrainian police. According to investigators, Araltan Mandzhiev, Viktor Klimenko, and Konstantin Makin may have been involved in the murder. The crime allegedly took place in March 2022. The soldiers captured a man with a "principled active Ukrainian stance," tied his hands, "filed his teeth with a rasp, and cut off his fingers." He was later shot. It is noted that the man had been collecting and transmitting information about the movement of Russian military vehicles and transmitted it to the Ukrainian side.

In the Ivanovo region, a veteran of the war attempted to kill his ex-wife and mother-in-law. Nikolay Merzly inflicted 13 stab wounds on his ex-wife Darya and several more on her mother. Both women are now in intensive care. According to witnesses, the man had asked his wife to withdraw a previous police report of domestic violence. Merzly has been detained, and a criminal case has been initiated against him for attempted murder of two people. In April, the man assaulted his ex-wife and their daughter and threatened them with a knife, and in May, he attempted to strangle Darya. On both occasions, the police did not respond to the woman's complaints. According to Darya, Merzly has a history of criminal convictions, including murder. He was recruited to the war effort in Ukraine from a penal colony.

In Voronezh, an ex-convict who had returned from the war assaulted a woman and her disabled son. According to the victim, the so-called veteran didn't like her son's appearance. After the assault, the man and his friends began destroying the furniture in the woman's apartment. It took the police two hours to arrive on the scene, but they did not apprehend the assailant. The victim does not believe he will be punished.

Wagner Group mercenary Vladimir Bazanov accused of being involved in a shooting incident in Chelyabinsk, has been placed under house arrest until July 26. He is prohibited from leaving his apartment or using communication devices and the Internet.

A military academy graduate has been sentenced to two years and nine months in a penal settlement for refusing to take a position for which he was not trained. Senior Lieutenant Artyom K., after graduating from the Naval Academy, served under contract-based military service in a position unrelated to his military occupational specialty and attempted to transfer to a unit corresponding to his training. In March 2023, the command issued an order to deploy the Senior Lieutenant to a combat zone, but he refused, citing a lack of sufficient training and skills. Two months later, the command decided to transfer him to another unit which also did not match his specialized training. The serviceman refused again and appealed the decision to the court. During the appeal process, a criminal case was initiated against him, and the court found him guilty of two counts of disobeying orders.

A court in Kislovodsk has sentenced a local resident to five years in a penal colony for participating in the activities of an extremist organization and the deliberate destruction of property by setting fire to the inscription "KisloVodsk." According to the court, in January 2023, the man contacted the administrator of the Right Sector [a loosely defined coalition of right-wing to far-right Ukrainian nationalist organizations] Telegram channel and expressed his desire to join the organization. To this end, he recorded a video message and received an assignment to set fire to symbols of the "special military operation." The man doused the letter V on the stele at the entrance to the city with gasoline and set it on fire.

A court in the Chelyabinsk region has sentenced a 36-year-old woman to one and a half years of probation for attempting to set fire to the draft office of the Verkhneuralsk district. According to the court, unknown individuals threatened the woman with financial problems. Succumbing to the blackmail, on Aug. 1, 2023, she threw a bottle with a flammable liquid at the draft office building. The fire spread to only one square meter and was quickly extinguished by arriving Rosgvardia [the Russian National Guard] officers, who also detained the woman.

A local resident was arrested in the "LPR" for participation in the activities of a terrorist community. According to investigators, the man was a member of the Aidar assault battalion of the Armed Forces of Ukraine from February to September 2021. The suspect faces up to 15 years in prison.


Employees of the Higher School of Economics are being urgedto donate drones to the fund of Vladimir Solovyev [Russian propagandist].

The administration of the Svechinsky district of the Kirov region will spend nearly 380,000 rubles [$4,270] on firewood for mobilized soldiers and their families as an "additional measure of social support."

Children and Educational System

A nationwide Young Army [pro-Kremlin youth organization] Forum is taking place in the Moscow region. Visitors can try out master classes in engineering, physical training, tactical medicine, and flying an FPV drone.


According to the Sirena [Siren] Telegram channel’s count, 50 Russian soldiers secured first places in primaries of the United Russia party [Putin’s ruling party], despite their poor showing in the vote. Six war participants won the primaries in the Irkutsk region and Tyva [Russia’s constituent republic], and seven in the Chelyabinsk region. Some of the winners are known for their criminal backgrounds and war crimes.

Saint Petersburg authorities introduce fines of up to 5,000 rubles [$56.2] for individuals and up to 500,000 rubles [$5,620] for legal entities for non-compliance with the governor's decrees. The decrees include prohibitions on sharing information about the location and deployment of military forces, as well as information about communication systems, security systems for fuel and energy complexes, industrial facilities, bridges, and ports.


Journalists from the Lyudi Baikala [People of Baikal] independent media outlet spoke with sociologist Svetlana Erpylyova about how Russians' attitudes toward the war have changed since the invasion of Ukraine began. Researchers have divided Russian society into those who justify the war, convinced and doubtful supporters of the war, "new patriots," and war opponents.

In the village of Ilkino near Murom, according to local residents, there are almost no men of conscription age left—they have been mobilized. The men have been on the frontline for a year and a half, and no one is planning to bring them home. Life now depends entirely on women. Mediazona covered their stories in the documentary "Mistresses."

Relatives of many missing in action soldiers have been unable to find the bodies of their loved ones for months. The Okno [Window] media outlet shared several stories of mothers searching for their sons in Ukraine.