mobilization briefs
May 6

Mobilization in Russia for May 3-5, 2024 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

On Oct. 1, 2024, military pensions will increase approximately by 4.5%. Currently, the average military pension amounts to over 41,000 rubles [$450]. Authorities had previously raised pensions for retired military personnel by 19.5% in 2022 and by 10.5% on Oct.1, 2023.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

Andrey Klychkov, Governor of the Oryol region, has introduced a 250,000 rubles [$2,730] sign-up bonus for individuals who conclude a contract with the Ministry of Defense to fight in the war against Ukraine. Initially, the bonus was paid to all, except those who enrolled from prisons. On April 25, however, a week after the decree was issued, the governor amended it to remove the exclusion. Until recently, Oryol remained one of the few regions whose authorities did not offer a bonus to facilitate the recruitment of contract soldiers.

Authorities and Relatives of Mobilized Soldiers

The Put Domoy [Way Home] Telegram channel has announced plans for a rally on Victory Day. Its administrators have called on followers to protest against the open-ended mobilization on Poklonnaya Hill in Moscow at midday on May 9, stating, "We are going to protest […] Put on your white scarves or hats, bring portraits of war veterans and join us." The organizers specifically demand a decree to end the mobilization. They have urged soldiers’ relatives residing elsewhere in Russia and abroad to rally in front of local monuments to the heroes of the Great Patriotic War and in front of consulates, respectively.

Mobilized Soldiers, Volunteer Fighters and Contract Soldiers

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Dmitry Bragin from the Perm region [Russia’s federal subject], Vasily Batsylev from the Bryansk region, Vitaly Izonov from the Volgograd region, Arsen Kuanyshev from the Astrakhan region and Pavel Glushchenko from the Tver region.

The family of Eduard Ulman, a GRU [Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation] special forces officer, who was sentenced to 14 years for the murder of civilians during the Second Chechen War, denies reports of his death in Ukraine. Previously, Sergey Simonchyuk, the former head of the public organization Union of Servicemen "Defense," and Natalia Korobenkova, the deputy head of the Ulan-Ude branch of Women of Buryatia, had reported Ulman’s death, allegedly citing his wife. However, Korobenkova denied this information the following day. Citing the serviceman's wife again, she informed the Kommersant daily newspaper that his relatives are unaware of his presence in Ukraine. The family believes that Ulman died as far back as 2007, but there is no confirmation of this. Vazhnyye Istorii [IStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet] found no record of Ulman's death in the National Probate Registry. Notably, the Siberian Express media outlet reports that Ulman remains on the wanted list.

Six members of the Storm unit within the 28th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 70th Division claimed to be openly disobeying their superiors’ orders. After a year spent on active duty along the Dnipro River, these soldiers recorded video addresses, complaining about the lack of rotation and medical care, denial of leave permissions and failure to receive compensation for injuries sustained on the frontline. The soldiers also stated that those who dare submit a formal leave request are being sent into missions that leave no hope for survival.

Mobilized resident of Chelyabinsk Aleksandr Strebkov who developed a mental disorder as a result of his military service and was medically disqualified from using firearms, is being deployed back to the frontline. The 25-year-old soldier was diagnosed with PTSD but was deemed to be "fit for military service with restrictions" (fitness category B). At some point while on leave, he was ordered to report to the draft office for military service register data check-up. Strebkov presented a hospital certificate attesting that he was prohibited from service involving the use of firearms. However, this did not stop the officials from taking the young man to the Luhansk region, where he is currently awaiting to be deployed to the war zone.

43-year-old volunteer fighter Vladimir Sedov from the village of Kavalerovo in the Primorsky region [Russia's federal subject] told the media he had received almost no training before being taken to the combat zone. After just a few days spent on the frontline, he sustained shrapnel wounds. In addition to that, while in the hospital, Sedov tested positive for hepatitis C. Nevertheless, he got locked up in a barrack in Ussuriysk along with other injured soldiers or those detained for absence without leave. All men were coerced to return to active duty. On April 29, Sedov managed to get in contact with his family, only to report that he was taken out of the unit and forcibly put on a bus, presumably heading to Ukraine. He was not allowed to take his ID, mobile phone and personal belongings.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

The Rostov regional court will review the criminal case of Pavel Nikolin, a former Wagner Group mercenary, who was sentenced to six years and eleven months in a special regime penal colony for firing at police officers in the Rostov region. In early December of the previous year, Nikolin opened fire on police officers, injuring one of them, and then fled the scene. Nikolin himself claimed that he had lagged behind his group and did not realize he had crossed the border of the Rostov region, believing the police to be Ukrainians. The appellate court determined that it is unclear from the jurors' responses which specific circumstances they considered proven.

Courts in the Southern Military District have issued new verdicts in cases of soldiers going AWOL.

  • The Garrison Military Court of the Southern Military District has upheld the verdict for contract soldier Vladislav Korneyev from the Rostov region, sentencing him to two and a half years in a penal colony. Korneyev signed a contract with the Ministry of Defense on May 4, 2022, but fled from his unit on May 12 and remained at home until mid-October. Despite appeals from both the defense attorney and the commander to return Korneyev to the frontline, the verdict stands.
  • Artyom Sluzhilov from the Krasnodar region has been sentenced to three years in a penal colony. He went AWOL from his unit twice: the first time he voluntarily reported to the commandant's office, and the second time he was apprehended by law enforcement officers.
  • Contract soldier Marat Khabalov deserted his unit in the occupied territories of the Zaporizhzhia region in February 2023 and returned home, where he remained until mid-April. The court has sentenced him to five and a half years in a penal colony.
  • The Maykop Garrison Military Court has sentenced contract soldier Aliy Khatit to six years in a penal colony. In October 2022, he did not report to his unit and remained home for three weeks. In January 2023, Khatit again went AWOL, and nine months later, he appeared at the military investigation department.
  • A court in Volgograd has sentenced contract soldier Sergey Gorbunov to four years in a penal colony. In January 2023, he deserted from the training ground and stayed at home until early March, after which he returned to his unit. Gorbunov stated that he had signed a contract for three months and was unaware of its extension, but he was willing to go to the war again. However, the Southern District Military Court has denied his request for commutation of sentence.

The Central District Military Court has upheld the sentence of Rishat Rakhimov, a mobilized resident of Bashkortostan [Russia's constituent republic]. In November 2023, the Ufa Garrison Military Court sentenced him to five years of imprisonment for going AWOL. According to the case files, Rakhimov left his unit and went home but then voluntarily appeared at the military commissariat [enlistment office].

The Investigative Committee is currently probing the embezzlement of 2 billion rubles [over $21 million] related to the supply of bulletproof vests for mobilized soldiers. Under the contract, the GK Picket company supplied the Russian Army with 20,040 bulletproof vests intended to equip mobilized soldiers. However, when the vests reached the frontline, military personnel complained about their quality. As a result, the Investigative Committee initiated a case of large-scale fraud and declared the 2 billion rubles allocated for the purchase as embezzled. The company's management is expected to face charges related to money laundering. However, the defense claims the case is fabricated and insists that the defendants were framed by former employees fired for fraudulent activities.

In Bryansk, a ninth-grader has been detained for participating in the activities of the "Freedom of Russia Legion." According to the Federal Security Service (FSB), the 15-year-old teenager was filming the location of critical infrastructure objects for "Ukrainian handlers." The SHOT Telegram channel reports that the schoolboy was recruited into the "Freedom of Russia Legion" in March. Now, a criminal case has been initiated against the teenager for his participation in the activities of a terrorist organization.

A court in Rostov has upheld the sentence of Yevgenia Maiboroda, an elderly woman who was sentenced to five and a half years on charges of "fakes" about the army and calls for extremism for reposting two videos on the VKontakte social network. During the trial, Maiboroda explained her actions by recounting how her brother in Dnipro was buried under rubble after an attack. According to her lawyer, the 72-year-old woman needs medication and may not survive the prison sentence. In her final statement, Maiboroda appealed to the judge for mercy. However, the judge left the sentence unchanged. The case of Maiboroda was previously detailed by the Govorit NeMoskva [NonMoscow Is Speaking] Telegram channel.

A case of spreading "fakes" about the army against pediatrician Nadezhda Buyanova was brought to court after a complaint from a military widow. Later, the charge against Buyanova was escalated, accusing her of disseminating "fakes" about the Russian Army motivated by political, national or ideological hatred. The 67-year-old Buyanova faces up to 10 years of imprisonment. Russian doctors have recorded a video address in support of the pediatrician and have also published an open letter demanding Buyanova's immediate release. The letter has garnered signatures from more than 150 doctors. Additionally, an online petition has been launched, inviting anyone to sign in solidarity with Buyanova.

A new defendant in the "Baymak case," Zaki Ilyasov, fell into a coma after being beaten during his arrest, as reported by his daughter to the OVD-Info independent human rights project. Law enforcement officers detained Ilyasov at around 7 a.m. on April 24 as he was leaving his apartment in Ufa, and an hour later, he was hospitalized. Ilyasov fell into a coma, and doctors had to connect him to a mechanical ventilation device. He regained consciousness on April 26, and on April 28, he was transferred to a pre-trial detention center.


A significant number of students from the Kovrov State Technological Academy named after V.A. Degtyarev donated blood for soldiers wounded in the war with Ukraine. Meanwhile, in Syktyvkar, the "Together We Are Strong" concert, aimed at supporting the war effort, failed to attract even half the expected audience despite tickets being priced at 300 rubles [$3.28]. attendees were encouraged to visit a fair to donate "humanitarian aid" and had the opportunity to take pictures with Cheburashka [a character in the Soviet children's literature] dressed in military attire.

Children and Educational System

UAV operation clubs will be opened in 17 educational institutions across the Saratov region. These institutions are expected to have designated areas for training flights. In addition, a center for training drone operators will be created at the Polytechnic University in Engels. It is planned to allocate 304 million rubles [$3.32 million] for training programs on UAV operation within the region's schools.

In a school in Berezniki, Perm region, a "Hero's desk" has been unveiled in honor of a graduate who was killed in the war with Ukraine. However, the Sirena media outlet reported that the deceased had previously been convicted of theft and drunk driving. Additionally, in the Zabaykalsky region [Russia's federal subject], a school has been named after a former student who was killed in the war.

The administration of the Vurnarsky municipal district in Chuvashia [Russia’s constituent republic] has responded to an incident where a "lesson of courage" was conducted at a school on April 27 by a military officer, Mikhail Vakhidov, who had previously been convicted of assaulting his wife and mother-in-law. The administration has promised to take charge of the situation at the school.

The Mozhem Ob'yasnit [We Can Explain] Telegram channel has consulted experts on strategies to protect children from pro-Kremlin propaganda. The channel has also reported that in several major Russian cities, up to 10% of schoolchildren have been taken out of school by their parents and are receiving homeschooling to reduce exposure to pro-military teachers.


Among the exhibits brought to Saint Petersburg by a showcase train organized by Russia's Ministry of Defense are "patriotic" comics created using artificial intelligence by the team behind Rybar, a prominent pro-Russian Telegram channel. The comics demonize Ukrainian military personnel and highlight the successes of the Russian Armed Forces on the frontline.