mobilization briefs
November 20, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Nov. 17-19, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

Maxim Ivanov, member of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] from the Sverdlovsk region, stated that many lawmakers could oppose a bill, which aims to simplify the procedure for war veterans to purchase repeating or rifled firearms. Despite the rising crime rates when participants of the war against Ukraine return home, Ivanov voiced his support for the initiative. After casting doubt on the concerns of PTSD prevalence among veterans, he argued that “there will be questions in any case,” and concluded that they should be addressed “to the people who will be delivering certificates.”

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

In Ufa, residents have begun receiving data check-up draft notices en masse. In the Sipailovo district, for instance, 15 men aged 20 to 48 residing in the same apartment building were all served draft notices at the same time. In one case, both a father and his son received draft notices.

On Nov. 17, law enforcement officers conducted a raid on a mosque in Balashikha [city in the Moscow region], reported Novaya Gazeta Europe [European edition of the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta]. According to the imam and an additional unnamed source, armed people without identification marks surrounded the mosque at 1:30 p.m., once the traditional Friday Prayer had begun. Officers checked IDs before letting anyone out and detained some of the men, who allegedly needed to visit a draft office. On Nov. 15, in the nearby town of Reutov, two Russian nationalist movements collaborated with law enforcement officers to conduct a raid on migrants at a local market and the Reutovskaya Manufaktura [historic manufacturing company]. There, too, officers checked IDs and detained some of the men. How many were detained and where they were taken is not known at this time, but it is worth noting that authorities have been conducting regular raids on naturalized Russian citizens, serving them draft notices in order to force them into military service.

In Moscow, draft officers wasted no time in seizing a young IT specialist eligible for exemption from conscription service when he visited the draft office to present his health records. 22-year-old Artyom who suffers from chronic shoulder conditions visited the military commissariat [enlistment office] in Moscow’s Tushino district seeking to receive a referral for an additional medical examination needed to prove his exemption status. Coincidentally, a paddy wagon entered the gate of the office, after which the gate was locked to prevent anyone from leaving. Along with the other conscripts, Artyom was found fit for service and taken to a military collection point in Ugreshskaya Street. With his phone and other personal belongings confiscated while still in the Tushino enlistment office, Artyom cannot be reached by his family or friends. Artyom and his lawyers are preparing to appeal the decision of the draft board.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

Ural Khalimov from the Chelyabinsk region, Ragim Kurbansaidov from the Volgograd region, Andrey Kargin from the Krasnoyarsk region and Nadip Vagapov from Bashkortostan [Russia's constituent republic] were added to the list of Russian mobilized soldiers killed in the war.

Russia has suspended prisoner exchanges with Ukraine while camps, where Russian prisoners are held, are getting overcrowded, Ukrainian officials warned. The latest in a series of prisoner exchanges was carried out on Aug. 7, with 22 Ukrainian soldiers returning home. There was no comment from Russia on this exchange. According to Petro Yatsenko, spokesman for Ukraine's Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War, about one third of the prisoners are ex-convicts recruited into Storm-Z units by Russia’s Ministry of Defense. The number of Russian soldiers held prisoner in Ukraine was not disclosed, but the detention centers are almost "filled up." This was confirmed by reporters from The Times who visited the largest Ukrainian PoW camp to reveal how Ukraine "re-educates" captured Russian soldiers, making them observe a minute’s silence for those killed as a result of Russia’s invasion and study Ukrainian history to shatter beliefs shaped by Putin’s denial of Ukraine’s statehood. Russian prisoners of war work six days a week for $8 a month.

In his Telegram channel, Russian propagandist Vladimir Solovyev reposted two public reports on channels and media outlets that discuss the problems of families of mobilized Russian citizens. The authors of the reports refer to them as a "network of anti-war information resources," allegedly created by foreign intelligence services.

On Nov. 19 in Novosibirsk, a "closed meeting" was held for the families of mobilized soldiers. Earlier, authorities had allowed such a gathering in place of a public rally. About 30 people assembled at the event, outnumbered by police officers who only admitted those who had pre-registered and could prove their kinship with the mobilized men. Security also scrutinized the women's signs and checked their bags. Journalists from a dozen publications—including the Kommersant daily newspaper, the NGS.RU online media outlet from Novosibirsk, and Ren TV—were barred from attending, as police were instructed to allow only representatives from federal media outlets. Participation was limited to the Vesti news channel and regional OTS TV channel. The women themselves refused to communicate with non-accredited journalists and urged people not to trust media who had not undergone accreditation or were not present at the meeting. They asserted, "We were not intimidated, our voices were not silenced with payments, there were many more of us than 30 people, and we have no connection to the Put Domoy [Way Home] Telegram channel." According to authorities, the conversation was "open and substantive," and after the meeting, it was announced that "constructive individual work on each situation has commenced."

War participant Aleksandr Kruglov from the Orenburg region has filed a complaint with the prosecutor's office in Rostov-on-Don stating that after his return home from the frontline, the draft office did not return his documents. He also complained about lack of provisions, rotations, and leaves during the war. The assistant on duty refused to register the complaint, stating that "he is not allowed to do so."  

War participant Aleksandr Kruglov from the Orenburg region has filed a complaint with the prosecutor's office in Rostov-on-Don stating that after his return home from the frontline, the draft office did not return his documents. He also complained about lack of provisions, rotations, and leaves during the war. The assistant on duty refused to register the complaint, stating that "he is not allowed to do so."  

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

In the town of Kuybyshev, Novosibirsk region, a local ex-convict Ilya Averchenko, who was recruited by the Wagner Group, has been declared wanted. According to local accounts, he roamed the city armed with a gun and fired at people, allegedly causing serious harm to an individual or even killing him. It is reported that a namesake of Ilya Averchenko has six previous convictions on various charges, with the most recent one dating back to September 2022.

In Novosibirsk, on the evening of Nov. 17, an attempt to set fire to a military commissariat occurred, only causing damage to the plastic door of the facility. The fire was extinguished before the arrival of firefighters, and the arsonist was detained on the same day—it turned out to be a 74-year-old woman who claimed that her actions had been motivated by scammers.

Another attempt to set fire to a military commissariat took place in the Kaliningrad region. In the town of Sovetsk, a woman tossed a bottle of flammable liquid into the local draft board's building, recording her actions with her phone. In the video, filmed by an eyewitness, a voice on the phone asks the woman if she has any more bottles of flammable liquid and encourages her to approach military personnel. According to TASS [Russian state-owned news agency], the woman has been detained.

An attempted arson attack on railroad infrastructure took place in the Sverdlovsk region. On the evening of Nov. 17, an electric train driver discovered a burned relay cabinet at the Kedrovka station, located 23 km outside of Yekaterinburg. The incident was reported to have no effect on train traffic. Earlier, on Nov. 13, unidentified individuals set fire to a relay cabinet at a railway section in the village of Monetnyy near the machine-building plant close to Yekaterinburg.

In Tyumen, unknown individuals set fire to an electric locomotive at the local depot. The 112 Telegram channel, associated with Russian security forces, reports that there were three arsonists. They walked along the tracks to the electric locomotive, took an unknown object from their bag and put it into the electric locomotive, which then caught fire. The arsonists are being sought.


The Sota media outlet reports that there was a conflict between women making trench candles to help Russian soldiers. The cause of the controversy turned out to be pine and fir cones, which some volunteers began to use in making trench candles. Now opponents and supporters of "cone technology" are blocking each other on social networks and threatening to file complaints.

Residents of the village of Tayozhny in the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region–Yugra [Russia's federal subject] collect warm clothes and food, weave camouflage nets and make trench candles for Russian servicemen. Meanwhile, members of the Voyennaya operatsiya [Military Operation] Autonomous Non-Commercial Organization from Orsk bring provisions, equipment and personal belongings to war participants every month. The most necessary things, according to them, now are trench candles, metal camp stoves, shovels, axes, hacksaws, nails, gloves, and socks.


Seventeen-year-old Bohdan Ermokhin, an orphan abducted from Mariupol, has left Russia. According to the Vyorstka media outlet citing Ermokhin and his lawyer, he reunited with his cousin who became his legal guardian, in Belarus. Earlier, the young man attempted to escape from Russia, but he was caught at the border. In November 2023, he received a draft notice from the Russian military commissariat.  Bohdan appealed to President Zelenskyy to help him return home to Ukraine. Later, Russia's children's commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova stated that Ermokhin's return to Ukraine had been approved. On Nov. 19, according to the head of the Ukrainian Presidential Office Andrii Yermak, it became known that the young man had returned to Ukraine.

The Vladimir branch of the Rokot-Center, a private security company that offers military training, has launched the project "Our Own Hero." As part of the project, war participants will visit educational institutions in the Vladimir region and share their experiences of combat activities with students. Additionally, in the school in the occupied Mariupol, soldiers from the Russian Armed Forces' mine-clearing unit conducted a lesson on the Fundamentals of Life Safety for the students.