mobilization briefs
November 28, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Nov. 26-27, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

In Moscow, draft offices have begun sending notifications, in cases where the "distributing team" could not serve a draft notice. These notifications have no legal force. Moscow City Duma [Moscow legislative assembly] member Evgeniy Stupin published an example of such a notification. The worst case scenario for ignoring a draft notice is a 30,000 rubles [$338] fine, he noted, adding that the digital draft registry has yet to come online.

Also in Moscow, the Khoroshyovsky draft office conscripted a master’s student, ignoring his right to a draft deferral. 23-year-old Yan S. has recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree. At the end of October, officials served him a draft notice and deemed him fit for duty, even though he has been suffering from atopic dermatitis. He then enrolled in a full-time master’s program and transmitted a certificate delivered by the university to the draft office. On Nov. 24, however, the police detained the young man, whose name had been added to a list of draft dodgers. They took him to the draft office and, at the end of the day, transferred him to a military collection point. According to his mother, officials have already provided Yan with a uniform and scheduled a medical examination. They are not letting her into the building, while the military commissar is ignoring all documents confirming the young man’s right to a draft deferral. In the last few days, Moscow officials have been regularly detaining men of conscription age and forcibly dispatching them to military service, including from the Khoroshyovsky draft office.

Senior students and graduate students of the Ural Federal University are required to provide certificates of enrollment to draft offices. Previously, it was sufficient to submit documents for a draft deferral once at the beginning of their studies. However, one graduate student received a demand from the university on Nov. 24 to submit the certificate to the draft office the next day, and the university refused to issue the document by Nov. 27.

Advertisements promoting contract-based military service for transportation sector workers have appeared in the Moscow metro. Those who wish to sign a contract are promised, in addition to payments from the Ministry of Defense, an additional one-time sign-up bonus of 150,000 rubles [$1,685] and a salary from the employer amounting to 70,000 rubles [$768]. Previously, the practice of recruiting for the military through state-owned or state-affiliated companies was observed in several regions, including Moscow, Saint Petersburg and the Yaroslavl region.

Authorities and Relatives of Mobilized Soldiers

The Put Domoy [The Way Home] Telegram channel that brings together wives and mothers of mobilized soldiers released a plea titled "Appeal to the People" and launched a collection of signatures in support of the recently published manifesto calling against indefinite mobilization. In their appeal, the women are pleading with all people of Russia for help, admitting that "there is almost no hope left" because the state "has turned its back on those who were the first to respond to its call for help." The activists criticize the political leadership of Russia ("they f*cked us and will f*ck you"), referring to the president’s promises not to call up reservists that proved to be false. The women also express their dissent with the government’s failure to replace mobilized personnel with contract soldiers who joined the military forces voluntarily. What is even more frustrating, is that ex-convicts, once charged for gruesome crimes, receive pardon and return home after having fought just for six months, whereas mobilized civilians remain deployed along the frontlines indefinitely. The women aim "to achieve minimum legal guarantees for everyone" and argue that the nation is, first and foremost, about people, and not about some vaguely defined "public interests" that officials use to hide behind. "We will retreat only once our men are safe at home, permanently. We are not interested in rotation," the appeal concludes. "Here and now, we are creating the foundation of social solidarity against indefinite mobilization."

After the ban on rallies against indefinite mobilization in several regions, the wives of mobilized soldiers launched a flash mob: they are putting stickers on cars with the text "Vерните мужа! Я Zа#балась" ["Return my hubby, I'm sick of this sh*t."] Photos of cars with such stickers have been published in the cities of Izhevsk and Ufa. Stickers with this phrase started to be sold on Wildberries, but soon the product page was removed from the site. Anthropologist Aleksandra Arkhipova notes that since the summer, there has been an increase in the number of queries with the words "mobilized soldiers" and "home." In one month—from Oct. 26 to Nov. 26—Yandex [Russian search engine] recorded 934,000 such queries.

A court fined Lyubov Potapova from Russia's constituent republic of Sakha (Yakutia) 5,000 rubles [$56] for calling on relatives of mobilized soldiers to support the unauthorized protests planned on Nov. 19 in various regions of Russia and gather at Lenin Square in the city of Yakutsk. Potapova denied guilt, and Judge Valentina Tsykunova imposed a penalty below the minimum prescribed.

Mobilized soldiers, volunteer fighters and contract soldiers

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Artyom Kamotin from the Sverdlovsk region and Sergey Kozlov from the Volgograd region.

The mother of Andrey Kazakov, a mobilized soldier from the Kemerovo region who went missing in action two months ago, has received confirmation of his death. We reported his story in one of our previous summaries.

The Ministry of Defense of the United Kingdom, relying on data from the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, has suggested that during the past six weeks of the offensive in the Avdiivka direction, the Russian Armed Forces may have suffered their heaviest losses throughout the entire war. It is worth noting that earlier, Mediazona, an independent Russian media outlet, highlighted an increase in the number of recorded obituaries, with journalists linking that to the fighting for Avdiivka.

Soldiers from the evacuation brigade in the Dnipro area have recorded a complaint about the situation at the front. On paper, those fighting on the frontline are listed as "being on Russian territory." They face severe shortages in medical supplies, ammunition and fuel. They do not receive promised payments, and injuries are not officially documented. A similar complaint was previously recorded by soldiers from the 26th Regiment stationed in the same area.

Yury Shvytkin, a serviceman from the Krasnoyarsk region, also faced problems receiving the money he was entitled to. He only managed to obtain payments for his injuries and delayed salary after submitting an inquiry to the Ministry of Defense and the Military Prosecutor's Office.

Ilya Andreyev, the former journalist for the Russian state news network Channel One, who was sent to an illegal basement prison in the "LPR," managed to contact his wife and report that he was released from the basement. According to the Astra Telegram channel, 80 people have been released from the basement along with Andreyev and transported from the village of Zaitseve, part of the Russian-annexed Luhansk region of Ukraine, to a military unit in the city of Voronezh. Previously, a different group of refuseniks was reported to be held at the Pogonovo training range near Voronezh. Meanwhile, the remaining 110 people detained in the Zaitseve basement may have also been relocated—this is suggested by Astra's article where a wife of one of the refuseniks tells that her husband has been transferred to an assault unit.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

The Tomsk Garrison Military Court has found Senior Sergeant Ivan Kostarev guilty of two thefts and attempted theft, going AWOL and selling large quantities of drugs. Kostarev left his military unit on Nov. 28, 2022, and was detained only on June 1, 2023, by Main Directorate for Drugs Control officers, after the man had acquired a bulk quantity of drugs and begun making stashes. Moreover, Kostarev was accused of stealing a TV and a portable speaker. The court sentenced him to a total of 13 years in a maximum security penal colony.

Cases involving three mobilized residents of the Pskov region have been filed in the Pskov Garrison Military Court. Ilya Gavrilov, Ruslan Zhelyabovsky and Denis Markus are accused of going AWOL. According to investigators, all three did not report for duty for over a month. Gavrilov had previously been sentenced to two years of probation for the same offense.

In Novosibirsk, the police arrested two local residents, aged 17 and 20, on suspicion of sabotage on the railway. According to law enforcement, the young men attempted to set fire to a relay cabinet on the railway section between Kleshchikha and Chemskaya. Unknown individuals allegedly promised the perpetrators 20,000 rubles for committing the arson. A criminal case has been initiated for sabotage, and both detainees have been placed in custody.

The Federal Security Service (FSB) has initiated a criminal case for high treason against a woman accused of persuading Russian military personnel participating in the "special military operation" to switch sides to the AFU, allegedly using internet resources to discredit the Russian Army.

In Russia, over 15,000 websites and links have been subjected to military censorship, marking a "new record." This information is reported by Roskomsvoboda, which conducted monitoring of blocked links.


The government of the Novosibirsk region has reported that 415 participants in the war with Ukraine from the region have received rehabilitation certificates. Rehabilitation programs are also being launched in other regions, such as the Krasnodar region, where 3.7 billion rubles [$41.5 million]areplanned to be spent on the rehabilitation of veterans of the war in Ukraine.


After the scandal surrounding the Penza mayor's statement regarding memorial plaques for those who were killed in the war with Ukraine, the video recording of the Penza City Duma session on Nov. 24, during which the mayor presented his initiative, was removed from the City Duma's YouTube channel and the official website.

In the Zabaykalsky region [Russia's federal subject], an exhibition dedicated to the "special military operation" has opened at the Faculty of History and Philology of the Transbaikal State University. Among the exhibits are mannequins in gear, fragments of mines, and a deflated soccer ball painted in the colors of the Ukrainian flag. However, the exhibition, which cost over 14.2 million rubles [$159,415], did not generate enthusiasm among the students. According to their opinion, it would have been better if these funds were spent on renovating the building.