mobilization briefs
November 17, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Nov. 15-16, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

Members of Putin's ruling United Russia party are preparing a bill to simplify the procedure for war veterans to purchase repeating or rifled firearms. The bill authors argue that this category of citizens "has sufficient skills for safe weapon ownership." If passed, war veterans would only need a permit to purchase firearms and could ignore the requirements for mandatory training and minimum experience.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The Serditaya Chuvashia [Angry Chuvashia] Telegram channel published the names of several more service members presumably killed in a strike on a column of the 1251st Motorized Rifle Regiment. They are Yevgeny Ivanov, Stanislav Dmitriev and Dmitry Pchelin. Thus, we presently know the names of 15 individuals killed on Oct. 29, including the ones published earlier.

The Presidential Administration responded to a collective appeal, previously submitted by the wives of mobilized soldiers. The response letter is signed by a representative of the President’s reception office. A dismissal from military service is only possible when combat activities end, wrote the government official, noting, however, that mobilized soldiers are entitled to leaves and may be rotated "if the situation permits." Olga Katz, who authored the appeal, commented that the "Presidential Administration decided to simply ignore the efforts of a hundred thousand people." The activist admitted that the matter of the collective appeal is closed, but vowed to continue the struggle.

Meduza [international Russian-language online media outlet] has prepared a publication discussing how regional authorities have initiated a suppression campaign against the wives of mobilized soldiers, who are demanding the return of their husbands from the war. Another piece on this topic was prepared by the Sibir.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet. Journalists managed to speak with several members of groups formed by the wives of mobilized soldiers. The women requested not to disclose their names and are extremely cautious in their choice of words, fearing consequences as many of them work in state-financed institutions, and "any association with this matter poses a threat to their employment."

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Magomedkamil Umarov from Russia’s constituent Republic of Dagestan, Denis Polozhay from the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region–Yugra [Russia’s federal subject], and Vladimir Zhukov from the Tver region.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

According to the Astra Telegram channel, in the occupied Oleshky, a 30-year-old mercenary named Yatsenko from the Novosibirsk region, affiliated with the Medvedi [Bears] private military company, has been detained on suspicion of murdering a civilian resident. Preliminary information suggests that the mercenary initially struck local resident Valery Khaiydarov several times in the head with an ax and then shot him with an assault rifle.

A mobilized resident from Chuvashia [Russia’s constituent republic] has been sentenced to five and a half years in a penal colony for going AWOL. In November 2022, the man left his unit without permission and was only apprehended in March 2023. In a news story on the national television of the republic, the man was accused of "prioritizing personal interests over state interests."

A court in Saint Petersburg has terminated the criminal case of going AWOL against the mobilized Aleksandr A. In December 2022, the man did not return to his unit after receiving medical treatment and instead went home to Saint Petersburg. After being discharged from the hospital, he contacted the investigative department to address the issue of continuing his service, but a case was still opened against him. Eventually, the Investigative Committee closed the case due to the absence of criminal actions by the soldier and recognized his right to rehabilitation.

A woman and her underage son attempted to set fire to the draft office in the town of Shakhunya, Nizhny Novgorod region. On Nov. 15, they threw a bottle with an incendiary mixture through the window of the draft office. The resulting fire was extinguished by draft office employees, and the arsonists—49-year-old Yekaterina and her 17-year-old son Maksim—were detained by the police. The woman claimed to have fallen victim to fraudsters who had previously swindled 400,000 rubles [$4,480] from her. Recently, she received a call from an individual claiming to be a police officer. He explained that the woman had transferred money to Ukraine, and at that moment, she was facing a criminal case. Additionally, her student son was at risk of being drafted into the army. To resolve the case and "save" her son, she was instructed to set fire to the draft office, with a promise of an additional 500,000 rubles [$5,600]. Criminal proceedings have now been initiated against the detainees. According to different sources, either for intentional destruction or damage to another's property or for an act of terror.

Another attempt to set fire to a draft office occurred in Zhigulevsk in the Samara region. On Nov. 15, at around six in the evening, elderly woman Nadezhda G., threw a bottle containing a flammable liquid into the draft office. The fire area was only 0.5 square meters, and the woman was detained. During interrogation, she explained that unknown individuals convinced her over the phone to take this step to keep her apartment. Allegedly, the apartment documents were stored in the draft office.

Additionally, there was another attempt to set fire to a draft office in Ufa. On the morning of Nov. 16, an unknown person threw a homemade burning mixture into the building. The Regional Offices of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Federal Security Service (FSB) declined to comment.

An elderly woman who set fire to a van in front of a draft office in Saint Petersburg thought she was fulfilling an assignment of an FSB officer. The woman told investigators that an unknown person asked her for help over the phone in the detention of a corrupt draft office employee and a fraudster. After the arson, he instructed Ivanova to shout "Glory to Ukraine." A criminal case for intentional destruction of property was initiated against the woman.

In Perm, a woman detained while attempting to set fire to the local draft office has been placed under house arrest for two months. She is accused of intentional destruction of property.

A fifth-grader was detained in Ulyanovsk for allegedly setting fire to relay cabinets along the railway on Nov. 12. According to the Baza and Shot Telegram channels, the child admitted to receiving instructions to set fire to the relay cabinets via Telegram. Supposedly, Ukrainian intelligence services threatened his family with physical harm.


Residents of the Far Eastern Federal District will be left without medical services due to the war in Ukraine. Starting from 2024, all equipment and personnel of the district's air medical service will be redirected to assist the military in combat zones.

On the occasion of National Unity Day, School No. 1 in the city of Bodaybo, Irkutsk region, organized a "Solidarity Fair," during which students and parents raised 200,000 rubles [$2.170] to purchase an anti-drone shotgun for the military.

In Volsk, Saratov region, members of the regional movement "Young Friend of the Police" produced a batch of trench candles to send to the 1199th Regiment, where local mobilized soldiers are serving.


War participants are starting to teach in schools. For example, Andrey Kochubeev, a participant in the "special military operation," is preparing to become a teacher of Fundamentals of Life Safetyin one of the schools in the Novosibirsk region. He completed training at the State Novosibirsk Institute for Advanced Training and Retraining of Education Workers. Kochubeev mentioned that he returned from the war in early April 2023 after completing his contract and joined the Ministry of Emergency Situations. Another war participant had previously completed the retraining institute, and two more are studying in the Organization Management program, with the potential to become school principals, according to the region's Minister of Education, Maria Zhafyarova.

Oleg Kozhemyako, Governor of the Primorsky region [Russia’s federal subject], has instructed schools in the region to organize five-day military training to prepare students for the army.

A labor brigade is being formed from underage schoolchildren at the Kameshkovsky Mechanical Plant in the Vladimir region. When they are not in school, children are invited to work in weapon production facilities for up to 30,000 rubles [$330] per month.


The Vyorstka media outlet has discovered dozens of job vacancies for assembling body armor posted on the largest Russian classified advertisements website Avito. Most positions are open in Moscow and the Moscow region, with a work schedule of 12 hours per day and an average pay of 3,500 rubles [$38] per shift.

In view of labor shortage, the Russian Railways [Russian fully state-owned railway company] will employ convicts in addition to migrant workers. The company is negotiating the matter with the Federal Penitentiary Service.

By analyzing biographies of 224 occupational administration employees, Vyorstka discovered that Russian functionaries implicated in wrongdoing are being posted in Ukrainian regions occupied by Russia as their punishment. Their source in the government called this a "chance to restart their careers from a blank slate." Such cases are common in the Vladimir region. The ex-mayor of Suzdal, Sergey Sakharov, was assigned the role of deputy head of the town of Dokuchaievsk while the court was hearing his drunk-driving case. Roman Borovkov, previously convicted of corruption, became the official war correspondent from the Vladimir region.

Authorities in the Vladimir region will allocate an additional 320 million rubles [$3.5 million] from the regional budget to the Avangard military-patriotic center. Avangard became famous for providing military training to school children. Earlier, financial irregularities were uncovered during an audit of the center’s activities.