mobilization briefs
November 23, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Nov. 21-22, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

The federal government has introduced new rail traffic regulations. Military cargo will now receive the highest priority, while cargo needed to deal with emergency situations will fall to second place. The latter category now includes cargo "intended for cleaning up the consequences of military actions or unlawful interference." Thus, cargo destined for the annexed territories and regions bordering Ukraine could be given priority.

The Federation Council [upper house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] approved a bill to extend insurance payments to the relatives of fallen soldiers, who raised them in the absence of their parents. Grandparents, older siblings and other de facto guardians will be able to file claims for any death that occurred after Aug. 11, 2020.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

In Yekaterinburg, police officers are encouraging citizens under their preventive supervision as a result of a previous conviction to sign a contract to fight in the war against Ukraine. Upon enlisting, the police remove the volunteer’s name from their watch list.

Law enforcement officers detained Andrey Lebedev during a lecture at Moscow State University. At the time of writing, the student was at a draft office and was expected to be taken to a military collection point next. In October, he had tried to extend the validity of his draft deferral certificate, which had expired after two years of academic leave. Despite receiving verbal assurances that it would be extended, Lebedev was taken to a police station on Nov. 22, where officers confiscated his documents, claiming that his certificate was no longer valid.

Authorities and Relatives of Mobilized Soldiers

The Tverskoy District Court in Moscow has rejected the lawsuit filed by the relatives of mobilized soldiers who contested the ban imposed by the city authorities on holding a rally on Nov. 26 in Theatre Square. The organizers filed the lawsuit on Nov. 21, and the court delivered its decision within a day.

Additionally, relatives of mobilized soldiers in Moscow have applied to hold an event in support of the families of mobilized men on Mother's Day. The women plan to organize the event on Dec. 16 in Theatre Square, aiming to "support the wives, mothers, and sisters of mobilized soldiers, defending their rights and freedoms."

Relatives of mobilized soldiers from the Samara region, during a meeting with Aleksandr Khinshtein, a member of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia], demanded the return of their men home. The women handed over relevant appeals to the Ministry of Defense through the State Duma member. According to Khinshtein, the documents will be forwarded to the ministry for consideration. Earlier, the women had approached various authorities and received standard responses.

The presidential administration has recommended regional officials to "quell protests [of mobilized men’s relatives] with money." Dissatisfaction within this social group is considered one of the main problems of the upcoming presidential election campaign, as reported by the Vyorstka media outlet with reference to two sources in the administration. Payments are recommended to be made "inn full, quickly, and without hassle." According to the presidential administration, "wives often wait not for their husbands from the war, but for their payroll cards."

Mobilized soldiers, volunteer fighters and contract soldiers

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Aleksandr Antonenko from Saint Petersburg, Oleg Bekeshev from the Saratov region, Viktor Kladko from the Irkutsk region, Konstantin Myakushkin from the Chelyabinsk region, and Aleksandr Molchanov from the Arkhangelsk region.

As the cold weather sets in, mobilized soldiers from several regions are complaining on social media about the lack of winter clothing, fuel, and medicine, as well as conditions in the trenches. Relatives send packages of winter clothes through volunteers, but quite often, the items do not reach the recipients.

The mother of a Storm-Z fighter claims that the command prohibits the evacuation of wounded and killed assault troops. Her son, 32-year-old Ivan Leschyov from the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region–Yugra [Russia's federal subject], signed a contract with the Ministry of Defense while in a penal colony. According to her son, the command of the 25th Motorized Rifle Brigade threatened the soldiers with execution by firing squad for disobeying orders, and the promised payments from the Ministry of Defense never reached the ex-convicts. Ivan was injured, but he was denied treatment and left on the frontline. In late September, fellow soldiers informed the woman that her son had been killed. Since then, Olga has not received any information about her son. According to fellow soldiers, the bodies of wounded and killed assault troops are not removed from the battlefield because of an unofficial order from the command.

The relatives of a mobilized soldier from the Kemerovo region have been unable to locate him for over a month. After being drafted, the young man was wounded twice and ended up in a military hospital both times. He hasn’t been heard from since Oct. 2 when he told the relatives he was about to leave on a military mission. It took six weeks and an in-person visit to his unit for the relatives to receive his MIA certificate.

After enduring being held in a pit, tied to a tree, and not allowed to leave the "LPR," a Russian service member is now being held in the notorious illegal basement in the village of Zaitseve. The Astra Telegram channel reported the story quoting the soldier’s wife.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

A court in Komsomolsk-on-Amur sentenced draftee Roman Yegorov to 10 years in a maximum security penal colony after finding him guilty of desertion and going AWOL. According to the court, Yegorov left his unit three times which made the prosecution conclude that he "opted to evade military service entirely." Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] points out that this is the harshest sentence to date related to draftees going AWOL.

A hearing of the first case of sabotage in Saint Petersburg started in the Saint Petersburg city court. Investigators believe that the accused, a Saint Petersburg resident Vyacheslav Zaitsev, set fire to a relay cabinet near Gorelovo station on March 17, 2023, for a reward of 10,000 rubles [$110]. Zaitsev faces up to 20 years of imprisonment. He admitted his guilt and volunteered to fight for Russia in Ukraine to get out of pre-trial detention.

Law enforcement officials have released footage from the day a draft office in the town of Zhigulevsk was set on fire by a 67-year-old pensioner Nadezhda Gridneva. The first video features Gridneva seated in a police car and talking on the phone with an unidentified man who asks if she succeeded in setting fire to the building. In the second video, Gridneva was filmed while apologizing at the police station. The woman explained that she became a victim of a hoax.

In the Khabarovsk region, a 49-year-old woman was detained for attempting an arson attack on a draft office. Police officers on patrol outside the building rushed out to stop the woman before she could start the fire. Upon closer inspection, she was found to be carrying a few Molotov cocktails. The woman was taken to the police station and her motives are being investigated.

A court in Moscow has arrested a man who, according to law enforcement officials, spent six months approaching the draft office and staring at the building for long periods. The defendant's lawyer insists that the man visited a veterinary clinic located near the draft office. This is confirmed by a document from the clinic, which the defense submitted to the court.

In Samara, a court has arrested Valentina Tagirova, a 33-year-old resident of Donetsk, on charges of "preparing an act of terror." According to the court, the case was registered on Oct. 12, but Tagirova had already been added to the list of terrorists and extremists on May 5. Human rights activists reported that Tagirova spent six months in solitary confinement in a pre-trial detention center at the â„–15 penal colony in Samara.

Yegor Balazeykin, a 17-year-old teenager, was sentenced to six years in a penal colony for attempting to set fire to the draft office in the city of Kirovsk. He had been charged with three arson attempts following his uncle's death in the war. None of these attempts resulted in a fire, casualties, or injuries. Initially, the teenager was charged with deliberate property damage; however, the case was later reclassified to articles related to an attempted act of terror and undergoing training with the aim of committing such an act. Since March, Balazeykin has been held in a pre-trial detention center, where the teenager’s autoimmune hepatitis and liver fibrosis have worsened.


The Russian Ministry of Defense is setting up consultation centers in its military hospitals for providing housing for war participants. Such centers have already been created in the central medical institutions of the Ministry of Defense, and it is planned to open more centers in other hospitals in the near future.

A draft office in Yekaterinburg began collecting donations in the form of blankets and bedding for wounded soldiers. The collection is organized by a charity organization in the Church of St. George the Victorious which is connected with the draft office of the Chkalovsky district. The organizers report that blankets are needed to wrap the wounded during evacuation, since "50% of [the wounded] die of hypothermia" during transportation from the battlefield.


The Nizhny Novgorod regional education department stated that local principals will have the right to introduce a total ban on criticizing the Russian Armed Forces in their schools. Earlier, Nizhny Novgorod Lyceum No. 82 introduced a school-wide ban on any public actions discrediting the Russian Armed Forces.

Students from Nizhnekamsk were involved in making paracord bracelets that can stretch up to 300 cm. In emergency situations, such bracelets can supposedly be used as a tourniquet. In the occupied town of Yalta, children were engaged in making trench candles, and in the village of Kolyshley in the Penza region, schoolteachers organized a collection of sweet New Year’s gifts for soldiers.


In the pro-government media of Chuvashia [Russia’s constituent republic], an anonymous survey "only for residents of Chuvashia" was launched. Under the guise of a regional survey on issues in the republic, it serves as a way to gauge dissatisfaction with President Putin and the "special military operation."


The Istorii i Fakty [Stories and Facts] independent media outlet spoke with a radio operator from the Urals and a combat medic from Buryatia [Russia's constituent republic], who left Russia, about their attitudes toward the army, the war, and their motivations for deserting. One of them signed a contract during mobilization, but later learned about the possibility of escape after watching a report by Vazhnyye Istorii [IStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet]. The other, a combat medic, fled shortly before being sent to Ukraine.