mobilization briefs
November 15, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Nov. 13-14, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

The Federation Council [upper house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] is preparing to toughen the penalties for evading mobilization. It plans to add two more offenses to article 328 of the Russian Criminal Code. The first would hold reservists accountable, when they fail to appear after being called up. The second will provide grounds for prosecution of anyone who "incites others to evade mobilization." Additionally, senators discussed holding volunteer fighters accountable for "improperly fulfilling their contractual obligations," on the one hand, and government officials, on the other, for failing to provide support to participants of the war against Ukraine in a timely manner.

The State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] passed a bill to raise military pensions by 4.5% on Oct. 1, 2024, which will benefit 2.7 million individuals. Apart from members of the Armed Forces, the raise will apply to employees of the Ministry of the Internal Affairs, Federal Penitentiary Service, Federal Bailiff Service, Federal Customs Service and State Fire Service. In related news, RBC [Russian media group] notes that their salaries had already been increased by 10.5% on Oct. 1, 2023 and the 2024 budget proposal might include another indexation, despite earlier plans to skip it.

The Voyennye Advokaty [Military Lawyers] Telegram channel published a review of the potential impact on members of volunteer fighter units if the State Duma passes the bills in the legislative package introduced last week to hold them accountable for crimes against military service.

Saint Petersburg authorities will spend one billion rubles [$11.4 million] more than initially planned on financial compensation for participants in the war against Ukraine in 2023.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

As reported, a plane with pardoned prisoners who participated in the war in Ukraine has arrived in the city of Perm. Around 80 mercenaries, who left from prisons to fight, have returned home. It is unknown whether the pardoned men fought as part of the Wagner Group or in other formations.

In the Sverdlovsk region, a prisoner who went to war as part of a Storm-Z unit from a penal colony received a draft notice for regular conscription upon returning home.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Aleksandr Burtsev and Sergey Antoch from the Rostov region, Rinat Gumerov from the Kemerovo region, Aleksandr Martiuk from the Krasnodar region, Aleksandr Khozhainov from the Volgograd region and Igor Stechishin from Crimea.

It has also been reported that Stanislav Rybin from the Omsk region has died. Rybin volunteered to join the war but had a conflict with the commander in the mobilization camp, threatening him with a knife. As a result, he was sentenced to six years in a maximum security penal colony. While in prison, he signed a contract with the Ministry of Defense and went to war. He spent three months on the frontline before he was killed. The Novaya Vkladka [New Tab] media outlet provided detailed coverage of Rybin's story. Earlier, it was reported about the death in the war of the mobilized Ivan Martynov, who was sentenced to six years in prison in March 2023 for assaulting his commander.

New graves of Russian servicemen who died in Ukraine have been discovered in the cemeteries of the city of Novorossiysk and the town of Abinsk in the Krasnodar region. The graves include mobilized soldiers, regular military personnel, and presumably mercenaries from the Wagner Group.

The authorities of Chuvashia [Russia’s constituent republic], responded to the questions of the republic’s residents regarding losses in the war with Ukraine, particularly the number of casualties resulting from the attack on the column of the 1251st Regiment. Chuvashia’s head, Oleg Nikolayev, evaded a direct answer about the losses. While acknowledging the existence of casualties, he refused to provide an exact number, citing a lack of information due to not being in the hierarchy of the Russian Ministry of Defense.

During the broadcast, Nikolayev was also asked about the rotation of mobilized soldiers participating in the war with Ukraine from October 2022. He did not provide a clear answer, stating that mobilized soldiers have the option to sign “terminal contracts.” Yury Zaytsev, the head of Russia’s constituent republic of Mari El, also answered questions about leaves for soldiers from the republic. He stated that out of 1748 mobilized men, 1228 had taken leaves, and the decision to grant leave is the responsibility of the commander.

On Nov. 12, an anonymous Telegram channel announced that a sanctioned rally of relatives of mobilized soldiers with at least three hundred participants would take place in Novosibirsk on Nov. 19. Women from several of Russia's federal subjects, the Irkutsk, Kemerovo, and the Altai regions, planned to attend. Protesters aimed to demand the establishment of a maximum one-year deployment period for mobilized soldiers, the commissioning of all wounded, and an expansion of the list of illnesses subject to commissioning. Initially, the Novosibirsk city administration reported receiving a rally application but did not grant permission. Later, authorities published an official refusal, stating that the rally’s purpose violated the principle of legality. It is worth noting that the day before, Andrey Travnikov, Governor of the Novosibirsk region, proposed prohibiting rallies in almost 40 locations in the region. In light of the official refusal, organizers decided to hold the rally indoors with posters, press coverage, and representatives of authorities willing to convey information to those concerned and "those directly related to mobilized soldiers." Allegedly, the city administration agreed to the new format of the event.

According to the Sibir.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet, families of soldiers from Krasnoyarsk have been prohibited from gathering on Nov. 19 and cautioned about consequences for engaging in unsanctioned events. Meanwhile, representatives of the local authorities managed to acquire administrator permissions in the group chat where the relatives of local mobilized soldiers were organizing a rally for the rotation and homecoming of their loved ones. After several messages about the harm of rallies and the advantages of appealing to the authorities, the group chat was deleted.

While negotiating with the relatives of mobilized soldiers, Chelyabinsk authorities suggested extending the soldiers' leave from 28 to 56-60 days, as well as provide the mobilized with access to military medical boards closer to home, and reimburse them for the cost of tickets home. However, the authorities refused to approve the rally for the return of the mobilized soldiers.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

In Khabarovsk, a private has been sentenced to five years in a penal colony for going AWOL. The soldier was initially sent to a hospital, but then failed to return to his military unit, instead traveling to Khabarovsk and later to the Zabaykalsky region [Russia's federal subject]. Two months later, the soldier arrived voluntarily at the commandant's office.

A mobilized man from Novosibirsk robbed a microlender's office in between court hearings on the charge of going AWOL. The Novosibirsk Garrison Military Court has sentenced mobilized Andrey Ivanov to seven years in a penal colony for both the armed robbery and going AWOL.

In the Volgograd region, Igor P., a mobilized soldier, was detained in a case of sexual violence against a second-grade girl. The suspect lived in the same house as his victim—an 8-year-old girl.

The Baza Telegram channel reported on the premature release of Sergey Hadzhikurbanov, sentenced to 20 years in prison for organizing the murder of Anna Politkovskaya [was a Russian journalist and human rights activist, who reported on political and social events in Russia, in particular, the Second Chechen War]. His term was supposed to end in 2034. According to Baza, Hadzhikurbanov went to the war from a penal colony at the end of 2022. Allegedly, he started serving as the commander of a reconnaissance unit, later becoming the battalion commander, and after six months of service, he was pardoned. Afterward, he extended his contract with the Ministry of Defense. The Mozhem Ob'yasnit [We can explain] Telegram channel recalls convicts who committed high-profile crimes and are now pardoned by Putin.

It has been revealed that along with the pardon, President Putin released Vladislav Kanyus, the murderer of 23-year-old Vera Pekhteleva, from paying moral compensation to the murdered woman's family.

In Bashkortostan [Russia's constituent republic], relatives of those detained in the case of setting fire to relay cabinets demand a fair investigation. One of the 11 detainees in this case turned out to be the son of E.V. Kolpakov, a criminal investigator of the Federal Security Service (FSB) in Bashkortostan. Initially, the investigator's son was subjected to pretrial restrictions in the form of a recognizance bond, while the rest of the accused were taken into custody. Later, the criminal prosecution against him was terminated.

In the Kaluga region, a schoolteacher has been detained on suspicion of attempting to set fire to the draft office. On the evening of Nov. 13, unidentified individuals threw a Molotov cocktail into the window of the ground floor (where other offices are located, while the draft office is on the third floor) in Obninsk. No property was damaged, and the fire was quickly extinguished. A passerby captured on camera an elderly man, later identified as 70-year-old technology teacher Oleg Elmanov from the town of Balabanovo, walking away from the draft office after the fire started. As the teacher later explained, he saw the fire in the window and wanted to put it out. The man was detained by the police and is under travel restrictions.

Before we reported attempts to set the draft office in the Moscow suburb of Podolsk on fire. There was the fourth attempt during the night of Nov.13 to 14. A 66-year-old man, Aleksandr Ch., approached the draft office and threw a Molotov cocktail at it.

Matvey Melnikov and Yury Mikheev, accused of preparing an act of sabotage in a military unit in the Moscow region, have been arrested. We reported earlier in this incident.

A 15-year-old schoolboy from the Kherson region has been detained and accused of state treason. Allegedly, he sent pictures of military vehicles to a former employer, with whom he worked in the summer of 2020, and who is currently serving in the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Twelve residents of the Sverdlovsk region have been accused of terrorism since the beginning of the "special military operation." The FSB claims that the accused were preparing acts of terror on transportation infrastructure under direction of Ukrainian intelligence services.

The FSB reported on the detention of a resident of the Chelyabinsk region who allegedly planned to commit an act of terror in one of the administrative buildings in Chelyabinsk under the guidance from Ukrainian handlers.

Aleksey Arbuzenko, a resident of the Samara region who has been accused of vandalizing posters depicting Russian military personnel has been sentenced to six years in a general regime colony by the appellate court. The defendant threw stones and clods at the posters along with his son.

The SHOT Telegram channel reports on the detention of a 24-year-old resident of the Leningrad region in the Bryansk region. The publication claims that he planned to cross the border to "join the assault troops of the Armed Forces of Ukraine as part of the 'Freedom of Russia Legion." Initially, he was allegedly arrested for 11 days due to being caught with drugs.  After being released from custody, he continued his journey to the border on foot, but was detained again.

Samara resident Polina Yevtushenko, arrested for "preparing to commit high treason," has spoken about new charges against her. She is now being charged with a fourth offense, incitement to extremism.


Students from the branch of the Military Medical Academy in Moscow donated blood for Russian soldiers, while volunteers in the Stavropol region organized the production of camouflage nets.


Children with impairments from the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region–Yugra [Russia's federal subject] will be taught marching and talked about "patriotism." In Russia’s constituent Republic of Tatarstan, students collected aid for the Russian army after a visit of a war participant to their class.

The Mozhem Ob'yasnit Telegram channel noted that during the "Talking About Important Things" lessons for high school students, they will learn about "future professions" related to prosthetics manufacturing and drone development.


Belgorod region authorities published a post with a link to a bot named "Search for Bad People," launched by the FSB, encouraging citizens to report individuals with "anti-Russian sentiments." However, the post containing the bot link was later removed without explanation.

For over two months, the family of a military serviceman from the Kaluga region, who was killed in action, has been trying to retrieve his body. Meanwhile, a pregnant woman from the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region has been appealing to the authorities to locate her husband, missing in action for four months.


The 7x7 online media outlet published an extensive analysis of the Put Domoy [Way Home] Telegram channel, where relatives of soldiers fighting in Ukraine self-organize, demanding the demobilization of their loved ones.