mobilization briefs
November 18, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Nov. 16-17, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

The authorities in the city of Krasnoyarsk are threatening imprisonment for those who tear down military service advertisements. The city hall published a photograph of a torn leaflet and announced a search for individuals who vandalize the advertisements.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Pavel Sokolov from the Saratov region, Roman Milovanov from the Vladimir region, Denis Rusakov from the Irkutsk region, Vladimir Filippov from the Arkhangelsk region, Mikhail Mikhalyov from the Oryol region, Sergey Salnikov from Khakassia, Kamil Babaev from Dagestan, and Tsagan Badmayev from Kalmykia, as well as Valeriy Naumov from Yakutia.

Based on open sources, Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] and BBC News Russian, together with volunteers, have verified the names of 37,052 Russian fighters killed in Ukraine, including 4,401 mobilized soldiers. In the past week, the list has been updated with 727 military personnel, including 64 mobilized men. According to Mediazona, there has been a significant increase in obituaries recently, linked to the Russian Army's attempts to take Avdiivka. Journalists have noted dozens of obituaries specifying this location as the place of death. Additionally, over the past two weeks, the deaths of a considerable number of officers with the rank of lieutenant colonel and higher have been confirmed, partly due to strikes on Russian headquarters.

Olga Belanovskaya, the wife of a soldier mobilized from the Primorsky region [Russia's federal subject], says her husband could be held in an illegal basement for the wounded, even though he had earlier been reported as missing in action. Her information comes from fellow soldiers of her husband. Belanovskaya traveled to Moscow, in order to personally implore the Ministry of Defense to start looking for him after her requests to regional authorities did not yield any results. She brought with her statements from relatives of other soldiers, as well as videos that they themselves recorded. One of them features a pit where soldiers are held. Reportedly, they must pay their commander 400,000 rubles [$4,440] to be allowed out. Leaves of absence also require payment. The cost depends on the date and starts at 200,000 rubles [$2,220].

In the Kemerovo region, the wives of mobilized soldiers were planning a rally to demand their husbands’ return. Posting in chat groups dedicated to the cause, the women report they had visits from the police, who say they want to have a prophylactic talk and check their Telegram subscriptions. Vazhnyye Istorii [IStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet] covered this tactic earlier. In related news, law enforcement officials called the workplace of a Krasnoyarsk activist, who had applied for a permit to hold a rally to end mobilization. They urged management to warn her that unauthorized protests will not be tolerated. The city administration invited the activist, along with other relatives of mobilized soldiers, to meet with representatives of its mobilization department.

In Moscow, city authorities refused to grant permission for a rally to the wives of mobilized soldiers under the pretext of ongoing Covid-19 restrictions. The official statement notes that anyone who attends the protest in defiance of the government’s ban will be held accountable under the law.

On Nov. 19, representatives from 10 cities will gather for the first permitted by authorities rally in support of mobilized soldiers, which will take place in a closed-door format at the October Revolution Cultural Center in Novosibirsk. The represented cities include Yekaterinburg, Kemerovo, Tomsk, Novokuznetsk, Samara, Cherepanovo, Voronezh, Iskitim, and Irkutsk. Women have created a Telegram channel to coordinate the rally, through which participants and journalists can register to join.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

A resident of Yakutia [Russia’s constituent republic] burned his wife's legs with a kettle and left for the war without waiting for the court's sentence. Earlier, the man had already been convicted of the use of violence and fraud. The court sentenced him to a year and 5 months in a maximum security penal colony, but signing a contract with the Ministry of Defense exempts him from serving the sentence.

The Baza Telegram channel posted photos and videos of Sergey Khadjikurbanov, the organizer of the murder of Anna Politkovskaya [Russian journalist and human rights activist, who reported on political and social events in Russia, in particular, the Second Chechen War]. As it became known earlier, Khadjikurbanov was recruited from a penal colony at the end of 2022. The footage, presumably taken in the spring of 2023, shows a meeting with volunteers who presented him with an anti-drone gun. It was also reported that Khadjikurbanov was awarded the Order of Courage among other decorations and medals.

In the Saratov region, only after publications in the media, serviceman Dmitry Kiryukhin, who came on leave, was detained. He assaulted his neighbors the same day he was invited to a local school to conduct a "lesson of courage." The arrest took place three days after the assault.

Russian servicemen shot two civilians in the village of Maslovka in the Russia-occupied part of the Kherson region. The bodies of the victims were found in their own house. Servicemen from the 26th Regiment, Vitaly Filippov from the Moscow region and Andrey Safronov from the Russia-occupied Donetsk region of Ukraine, were later arrested on suspicion of murder. According to them, they shot unarmed Irina Baranova and Alexander Bondarenko due to a conflict. Reports of murders of civilians by Russian soldiers have been occurring quite frequently lately.

A court in the Primorsky region sentenced a mobilized soldier to four years of probation for attempted murder of an acquaintance. According to court documents, the victim made derogatory remarks about the defendant and attempted to physically assault him. In response, the man took out a knife "and began stabbing her all over the body."

The Chelyabinsk Garrison Military Court sentenced a serviceman who, while intoxicated, drove into an underground pedestrian crossing, to three years on probation. The passenger in the car suffered serious injuries but has no complaints against the driver. Earlier, the Vyorstka media outlet reported an increase in instances where servicemen are driving under the influence and without a driver's license.

The Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Garrison Military Court sentenced serviceman Vladimir Zhuldybin to 4 years in penal colony for going AWOL. He fled from the combat zone in the "DPR" to Sakhalin and surrendered to the police a month later. Having minor children served as a mitigating factor for Zhuldybin.

In the Southern Military District, cases of going AWOL during mobilization and combat activities continue to be adjudicated:

  • Aleksandr Chechel, a contract soldier, was sentenced to six and a half years in a penal colony for going AWOL twice—once from June 14 to Nov. 29 and another time from Feb. 9 to June 17 when he was detained.
  • Roman Timoshkov, a mobilized soldier, received two years on probation. After treatment, he returned home but later voluntarily turned himself in to law enforcement agencies, promising to return to the frontline.
  • Isa Malsagov, a mobilized soldier, was sentenced to five years on probation. He went AWOL but several months later voluntarily appeared at the military investigative department after a call from a draft office.
  • Oleg Kozlov was sentenced to five and a half years in a penal settlement for going AWOL to his pregnant wife. He was detained three months later.
  • Sergey Varkulevich, a сontract soldier, received one year on probation for going AWOL for three days. Finally, he voluntarily appeared at the investigative department.

The Volgograd regional court ruled unlawful the military authorities’ refusal to substitute military service for an alternative for the pacifist conscript Pavel Abramov. In September 2022, Abramov petitioned the military commissariat seeking alternative service. District and regional draft boards initially denied his request, but he took legal action and emerged victorious. Despite the military commissariat's appeal, claiming a lack of evidence of Abramov's pacifist views, the regional court sided with the conscript. Consequently, the draft board is now obliged to reconsider his petition.

The Voyennye Advokaty [Military Lawyers] Telegram channel reported on first sentences to military servicemen pronounced by courts recently formed in occupied Ukrainian territories. For example, the Donetsk Garrison Military Court sentenced a contract soldier to two years in a penal settlement for a failure to follow an order. Starting Sept. 21, all new criminal cases against military service members for offenses committed within the occupied territories must be considered by these newly created local garrison courts.

In Novosibirsk, plastic doors at the main entrance of a draft office were set on fire. A suspect is already in custody. By the time firefighters arrived, employees had already extinguished the fire.

Saratov resident Roman Larionov, 18, is being charged with treason, aiding terrorist activities, and attempting to illegally cross the border.

In Khabarovsk, law enforcement detained a 15-year-old teenager who allegedly was preparing an act of terror on the territory of a military unit. It is claimed that the ninth-grader created a Telegram group where he "advocated for the overthrow of the authorities and taking power by his own movement," and also planned to throw Molotov cocktails at one of the military units. A case has been filed against him for undergoing training for terrorist activities.


In the Epifanskaya School in the Tula region, a homeschooled student received a "lesson of courage" right at home. He was introduced to military gear and methods of providing first aid.

In Udmurtia [Russia's constituent republic], a television story was shown about how the head and educators of a kindergarten have been weaving camouflage nets since last year, while children draw red stars and write letters to Russian soldiers.


In Hospital No. 4 in Ulan-Ude, the claim that from 2024 all equipment and personnel of the sanitary aviation would be redirected to assist the military in the combat zone was denied.

The head of Komi [Russia's constituent republic] Vladimir Uiba complained that he could not place what he considered to be a sufficient amount of the "special military operation" symbols in the city: the owner of the advertising structures took down billboards in support of the war, and carriers refused to put Z-stickers on their vehicles fearing broken windows.


A journalist from Govorit NeMoskva [independent media outlet], on condition of anonymity, spoke with one of the founders of the movement for the return of the mobilized soldiers home. She talked about how men, exhausted from many months on the frontline, are ready to risk receiving a gunshot in order to return to their families.

Holod [independent Russian media outlet] published a monologue by the wife of a mobilized soldier. She spoke about the nightmare that her life turned into after her husband was drafted.

Journalists from the Kavkaz.Realii [Caucasus.Realities, part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] media outlet collected stories of pardoned ex-criminals convicted in resonant cases and concluded that even a great public outcry does not prevent the Kremlin from releasing such criminals.