mobilization briefs
May 31

Mobilization in Russia for May 28-30, 2024 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

Vladimir Putin has signed a bill into law, granting both a monthly survivor’s benefit and an insurance pension concurrently to the families of military personnel killed in action in Ukraine. He also signed a second bill providing hand-operated cars to veterans of the “special military operation” with severe disabilities.

Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov announced that military pensions will be indexed by 5.1%. In December 2023, the federal government had approved a 4.5% raise, but the percentage had to be revised due to changes in the inflation forecast.

The federal government has restricted access to gasoline and diesel production data against the backdrop of Ukrainian drone strikes. The last three weeks saw gasoline production continually decline amid sustained attacks on Russian oil refineries.

The Ministry of Defense seeks to grant reservists security clearance to access state secrets, according to a draft resolution published on the federal portal of draft regulatory legal acts.

At a ceremony in the Kremlin, Putin presented Chalym Chuldum-ool with the Hero of Russia award. The First Lieutenant serves in the 55th Motorized Rifle Brigade, which, in March 2022, occupied the village of Yahidne in the Chernihiv region and held civilians in concentration camp-like conditions. Earlier, Chuldum-ool had attended the Victory Day parade. He also secured a nomination at a United Russia [Putin’s ruling party] primary in Tyva [Russia’s constituent republic] to run in September's elections for the Great Khural [regional parliament].

Spring Conscription Campaign

As reported by TV Rain [independent Russian television channel], according to a source familiar with the situation, conscripts illegally detained at the military collection point began to be distributed to military units in various regions on May 29. Some conscripts are being sent to serve in the Nizhny Novgorod region, while others are being sent to the Leningrad region. The Vot Tak [Like This] media outlet learned that on May 30, several dozen conscripts were sent to military units in Nizhny Novgorod, Saint Petersburg, the Murmansk region and other regions. The remaining conscripts are still awaiting a decision. Those seeking a draft deferral due to health issues were promised a medical examination after arriving at their assigned units. Lawyer Lyudmila Trifonova, who was at the Ugreshskaya Street military collection point in Moscow with the conscripts’ relatives, said that 65 people were brought to the collection point last week. According to Trifonova, at least 15 people voluntarily agreed to serve in the army. In an attempt to leave the collection point, one conscript cut his veins, but law enforcement officers wiped the blood from his arm and took him to a solitary cell without allowing relatives or medical personnel near him.

The Insider [independent Russian investigative media outlet] spoke with the girlfriend of a young man being held at a military unit. She explained that her boyfriend suffers from chronic severe asthma, yet the draft office deemed him fit for service, assigning him a "B" fitness category (fit for military service with minor restrictions). He is attempting to appeal this decision and has filed a lawsuit with a hearing scheduled for July. However, the draft office chose not to wait for the court's decision. The young man was detained near the metro, being told he was under criminal investigation. That night, he was taken from the collection point to a military unit, where he is being forced to sign documents for deployment to the frontline. The Idite Lesom! [Flee through the woods/Get lost you all] Telegram channel reports several more instances of illegal detention of conscripts right on the street. Additionally, the channel reports that a young man with a heart defect was conscripted in Crimea.

Moscow residents have begun receiving notifications of electronic summonses through the portal [official web portal of the Moscow government]. The notification contains a link to the summons with the military commissar's electronic signature and a requirement to report to the military commissariat [enlistment office] within the specified timeframe. Conscripts are also instructed to visit a clinic and undergo necessary tests. Lawyer Denis Koksharov explained that the nature of the notification is purely informational.

The Voyennye Advokaty [Military Lawyers] Telegram channel guides people on how to avoid being caught in a conscription raid and becoming a victim of illegal conscription.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

In May 2024, military investigators from the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation identified and registered 90 individuals who had obtained Russian citizenship. Three of them were conscripted into service, and four signed contracts. More than 350 former migrants were checked during the search for draft dodgers. In Podolsk, near Moscow, a joint raid by draft offices and the Federal Bailiff Service targeted draft dodgers and debtors. As a result of the raid, four men received draft notices. In the Kurgan region, more than 40 alimony debtors went to war to improve their financial situation and pay off their debts.

Governor of the Leningrad region Aleksandr Drozdenko has announced that the sign-up bonus for volunteer fighters has been increased by another 100,000 rubles [$1,120]. Now, the payment for signing a contract with the Ministry of Defense will amount to 1.1 million rubles [$12,300].

Dmitry Poludnitsyn, the head of the village of Pervomayskiy in the Nizhny Novgorod region, was caught driving under the influence of alcohol and has decided to resign from his position and join the war effort in Ukraine.

Mobilized Soldiers, Volunteer Fighters and Contract Soldiers

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Tagir Abdulkhakimov from Russia’s constituent Republic of Dagestan, Aleksey Frolov from the Stavropol region, Andrey Steshenko from the Krasnodar region, Aleksandr Lepyoshkin from the Chelyabinsk region, Nikolay Boronikhin from Russia’s constituent Republic of Chuvashia, Daniil Zhurikhin from the Amur region, Pyotr Zarovnyatnykh and Maksim Urazbakhtin from the Sverdlovsk region, as well as Aleksey Tabakov from the Moscow region.

Following the emergence of a video featuring Yakut military personnel allegedly being held in a pre-trial detention center for refusing to go to the war, Anatoly Nogovitsyn, the head of the branch of the Yabloko party [a social liberal political party in Russia] in Russia's constituent Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), has appealed to the prosecutor’s office to investigate the conditions of the soldier’s detention and to stop the mistreatment. Nogovitsyn reported that he had visited the pre-trial detention center and had been met by a military man who claimed that the servicemen were indeed being held there, allegedly for drunkenness.

On the premises of a military unit in Yekaterinburg, several dozen soldiers who have returned from the "special military operation" zone either for medical treatment or to undergo a medical examination are currently being detained. According to a serviceman who spoke with the Astra Telegram channel, the men are being beaten, threatened with imprisonment, and forced to return to the front. He claims to have been held in an armory room for 10 days, during which time 50 people passed through the same cell. He eventually managed to escape and is now in hiding. The serviceman said that law enforcement officers have already searched his home and his wife's workplace in his hometown. He also mentioned that he had not been to Ukraine, as he decided to refuse military service during his training phase in Orenburg.

In Yekaterinburg, authorities are also attempting to send a mobilized single father back to the frontline. Thirty-two-year-old Andrey B. is the father of a five-year-old girl, whose mother is not allowed to see her due to alcoholism. By law, he should be granted a draft deferral as a single father, but he has not yet received a response to his discharge report. Furthermore, the authorities are trying to send a 50-year-old aviation engineer from Yekaterinburg to the war as part of the assault troops. The soldier has reached the maximum age for service and submitted a discharge report back in December. However, it was not approved, and he has been handcuffed several times in attempts to forcibly take him to the frontline.

Servicemen recorded a video address demanding the resignation of the head of the Altai Republic [Russia’s constituent republic], Oleg Khorokhordin. The soldiers cited reports from their relatives of lack of access to basic medical services, difficulties in buying firewood, and dissatisfaction with public transportation.

A Moscow resident has been accused of going AWOL and is being held in a military unit in the village of Mosrentgen. In October 2022, 26-year-old Nikolay D., a native of the Donetsk region, voluntarily joined the separatist Sparta Battalion of the "DPR" People's Militia but returned home three months later due to concussions. In March 2024, he was detained by military police while attempting to register in the capital. His girlfriend was told that he was detained for going AWOL and could face up to 10 years in prison or 1.5 years on probation if he signed a contract. However, according to his lawyer, Nikolay was not officially registered in the unit and did not sign any contracts, so there are no grounds for his detention.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

The Ministry of Internal Affairs has started concealing monthly crime statistics, according to the Mozhem Ob'yasnit [We Can Explain] Telegram channel. Recently, the ministry's web site only provided a brief summary with selective information for January-April. Previously published statistics indicated an increase in serious crimes and crimes in the frontline zone. Other agencies have also started to classify crime data.

In Saint Petersburg, mobilized soldier Dmitry Grigoryev has been sentenced to 12 years in a maximum security penal colony for the murder of his pregnant ex-wife. According to investigators, on May 17, 2023, Grigoryev was drinking alcohol with his ex-wife when she told him she was pregnant by another man. Grigoryev flew into a rage and stabbed the woman 26 times.

The Southern District Military Court has begun hearing the case of the brutal murder of 23-year-old Valentina Davronova, a local female resident of the annexed city of Luhansk. 28-year-old Senior Lieutenant Aydyn Zhamidulov and his subordinate, Private Aleksey Dorozhkin, have been accused of this crime. The military personnel were charged with kidnapping, murder and desecration of the victim's body. Zhamidulov stabbed the woman about 20 times and then "ordered his subordinates to finish her off." It is worth noting that in November 2022, the Ministry of Defense twice published posts about Zhamidulov on its Telegram channel, calling him a hero and quoting his poems about the war in Ukraine. In them, he mentioned that two daughters and a wife were waiting for him at home, "proud of him." The murdered woman left behind a young daughter.

A 37-year-old previously convicted participant in the war with Ukraine attacked a 71-year-old woman with a knife in a military hospital and attempted to rape her. The woman managed to fight back and scream, after which the on-duty doctor knocked the soldier’s weapon away and tied him up. However, the attacker managed to wound the doctor with the knife. The man was detained. According to Fontanka [pro-Russian media outlet of the Leningrad region], a person with the same full name as the detainee was sentenced to five years of imprisonment in September 2022 for attempted rape and threats against a 56-year-old woman.

According to the ASTRA media outlet, two Russian soldiers took a resident of the Kharkiv region to the forest near Svatove and executed him. 

Ruslan Shingirey, a participant in the war with Ukraine who killed an eight-year-old girl in the village of Olginskaya, died in a pre-trial detention center. This was reported by the Rostov-on-Don city online media outlet 161.RU citing four sources. According to the publication, he died the day after his arrest on May 20. One version suggests that he committed suicide, while another version claims he was allegedly killed by cellmates after they learned the reason for his arrest. The regional Federal Penitentiary Service claims that Shingirey is alive.

A court in Vladimir sentenced contract soldier Maksim Beryoza to 10 months of corrective labor on charges of causing grievous bodily harm. The court recognized his participation in combat as a mitigating factor. The incident occurred on Oct. 15, 2023, in a shopping center in Murom. While intoxicated, Beryoza got into a fight with a passerby. During the altercation, the soldier pulled out a knife and stabbed the man in the abdomen, causing grievous bodily harm. Beryoza then fled the scene.

A court in Novocherkassk in the Rostov region found contract soldier Anatoly Sartakov guilty of causing minor bodily harm and released him from criminal punishment, imposing a fine instead. In January 2024, Sartakov stabbed a hotel guest during a conflict. The court took into account his participation in the war against Ukraine, his remorse, and his reconciliation with the victim, while the prosecutor's office did not object. It imposed a fine of 50,000 rubles [$560] instead of a possible two-year prison term.

A court in Vladimir sentenced private contract soldier Danila Shcherbin to one year of probation for purchasing and possessing drugs within his military unit. The court considered his participation in the war as a mitigating circumstance. In 2023, the Vladimir Garrison Military Court heard seven drug-related cases, compared to only one case in 2022 and another in 2021.

A court in Chelyabinsk, despite positive references from veterans' organizations and awards for the "special military operation," sent Wagnerite Dmitry Zaitsev to a pre-trial detention center for a shooting incident in Chelyabinsk. Earlier, another mercenary, Vladimir Bazanov, wasplaced under house arrest. Both Zaitsev and Bazanov joined the Wagner Group from penal colonies.

In the Altai region [Russia’s federal subject], serviceman Eduard Barkovsky was sentenced to seven and a half years in a penal colony for desertion. According to the court, on July 22, 2022, the man left his duty station without permission and went home. Only on Jan. 12, 2024, did he voluntarily appear at the military investigation department. In March 2024, the same court found him guilty of illegally acquiring large quantities of drugs. It is likely that he was initially detained on this charge, and later the desertion case was initiated.

A resident of the Bryansk region, 41-year-old Dmitry Podstrigaev, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for "treason" and "aiding terrorism." The details of Podstrigaev's case are not disclosed.

The court sentenced Mikhail Lazakovich to 11 years in a penal colony on charges of committing an act of terror. He was arrested after setting fire to a draft office in Likhoslavl, Tver region, on the night of May 8. The fire damaged the wall of the wooden building; a police officer extinguished the blaze, and no one was injured.

In Melitopol, 50-year-old local resident Viktor Bondarenko was detained on suspicion of blowing up a pumping station and a power pylon. According to Astra, he is being held in a pre-trial detention center.

The Federal Security Service (FSB) of Russia announced the detention of four residents of Crimea who allegedly planned to sabotage the peninsula's railway facilities. Law enforcement officers claim that another resident of Crimea died when an explosive device he was trying to retrieve from a cache detonated.

In the Moscow region, a 20-year-old man from Luhansk was detained on May 29 on suspicion of setting fire to a cell tower in the Ramenskoye district.

A Saint Petersburg resident was sentenced to 13 years in prison on charges of "treason" for allegedly attempting to join the "Russian Volunteer Corps" or the "Freedom of Russia Legion."

Polina Yevtushenko, a resident of Tolyatti, was accused of six criminal charges, including preparing to commit high treason and calls for terrorism, due to the actions of a provocateur. Holod [independent Russian media outlet] identified him as 36-year-old Nikolay Komarov from Samara. During his meetings with Yevtushenko, Komarov often initiated conversations about the war in Ukraine. It was later revealed that he secretly recorded these conversations, which formed the basis of the charges. We have written about Yevtushenko's case several times (1, 2, 3, 4).