mobilization briefs
November 7, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Nov. 5-6, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

Saint Petersburg and Moscow region authorities are issuing electronic and paper notifications instructing recipients to report to draft offices. Idite Lesom! [Flee through the woods/Get lost you all], a Telegram channel run by human rights activists, published screenshots and photographs of the letters and reminded their subscribers that such notifications are not draft notices and have no legal force.

Singer Ivan Minaev, known professionally as Xolidayboy, was served a draft notice at the airport in Mineralnye Vody [town in the Stavropol region]. Earlier, Ekaterina Mizulina, Head of Russia’s Safe Internet League, had reported him to the police and urged organizers to cancel his concert tour, pointing to two videos, where Minaev calls himself a Ukrainian (he was born in Sevastopol) and describes how worried he was when Crimea was annexed.

In Irkutsk, city authorities are mass mailing residents, urging them to enlist to fight in the war against Ukraine. "Each day, dozens of Irkutsk residents decide to follow those who fulfill the duties of real men," they write, insisting that it is a voluntary choice. Each letter ends with a call to "join the ranks of the defenders of the Fatherland" and visit the city administration. As mentioned in a previous summary, city administration employees in Irkutsk will also be informing residents about the benefits of contract-based military service every Wednesday. Presumably, the city authorities are trying to meet volunteer fighter recruitment targets assigned to them from above.

The Ministry of Defense will pay 1 million rubles [$10,800] to residents of Moscow and the Moscow region who will join contract-based military service from Nov. 1 to 25 as part of a special recruitment campaign. According to the VChK-OGPU Telegram channel, the authorities of the Moscow region began actively recruiting people for the war with Ukraine. At the end of last week, relevant ads appeared on resources controlled by the Moscow region authorities. Residents are promised a sign-up bonus in the amount of 1 million rubles, as well as top grade training and gear, "a special level of interaction with the relatives and families of contract servicemen" and a free transfer to the Moscow region "from anywhere in the world." The volunteer fighters will sign a contract with the Ministry of Defense, and an additional sign-up bonus in the amount of 605,000 rubles [$6,540] will be paid from "funds provided by the Governor."

In Kemerovo, parents have complained about a school promoting contract-based military service. They had no previous issues with the school, but since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, teachers have started teaching 'patriotic education' and encouraging students to enroll in the Kemerovo Cadet School. They have also organized demonstration tours to this institution, where children are expected to quickly disassemble assault rifles. A contract service advertisement appeared at the school in early November.

In the city of Kazan, an advertisement for contract-based military service with the slogan "Join the BARS volunteer units to participate in the special military operation. We are waiting for you!" was placed on the doors of a store called "Myasnoj labaz" [Meat Shop].

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Igor Kovalyov from the Sverdlovsk region and Vladimir Dudarev from the Volgograd region.

It has become known about another conscripted soldier who was killed in the Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine. The 19-year-old Andrey Rastyapin was accidentally shot by a fellow soldier due to mishandling of a weapon. Currently, the relatives are in legal proceedings with the Ministry of Defense, seeking compensation for Andrey's grandmother, who raised and nurtured him. So far, all they have received from the state is the Russian flag and an honor guard at the funeral.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

Kamo Saakyan, a mobilized soldier from the Krasnodar region serving in the 392nd Regiment, was apprehended while attempting to sell an AK-74 M assault rifle for 100,000 rubles [$1,080]. He has now become a suspect in a criminal case related to illegal weapons trafficking.

In the Tula region, a fire was deliberately set to the railway infrastructure during the night at the 363rd kilometer of the Bobrik-Donskoy—Granki section. The arson completely destroyed the relay cabinet, making it irreparable. Train operations were reportedly unaffected by the incident. A criminal case has been initiated under the article of intentional property destruction by arson, with the perpetrators facing up to five years in prison.

For the protection of railway transportation in the Moscow region, fifty drones will be purchased. The Federal State Enterprise "Security of Railway Transport of the Russian Federation" has allocated 8.1 million rubles [$87,478] for the acquisition of 52 DJI Mavic civilian aerial reconnaissance drones. The Vyorstka media outlet brought attention to the tender published on the government procurement contracts portal. The contractor is expected to deliver the drones by Dec. 15. The documents do not specify the purposes for which the drones are needed, only stating that they are acquired for the "needs" of departmental security.


The Rossiya-1 [Russia-1] government-owned federal TV channel featured a story about children being trained in the arts of war in Crimea. The report covers the "School of Young Commanders" organized by the Young Army [pro-Kremlin youth organization]. Within this "school," children are taught skills such as navigating through forests, removing mine tripwires, conducting fire, and throwing grenades. Approximately 230 children participated in these "training sessions," including 70 from the regions of Ukraine occupied by Russia.

At the Start children's camp in the Stavropol region, Wagner group mercenaries conducted military training on the fundamentals of military affairs for schoolchildren. The NeNorma project drew attention to the report on the event. The training involved teaching schoolchildren skills in combat activities and battlefield medical assistance, with both boys and girls participating. The mercenaries trained the boys to "attack in a combat trio," and the girls to fire the Dragunov sniper rifle aka SVD.


Residents of Znamensk, together with the administration of the Lenin district in the Volgograd region, have raised funds to purchase drones, sleeping bags, tents and generators for participants in the war in Ukraine.

An ophthalmic surgeon from a private clinic in the Moscow region provided free laser eye surgery to a volunteer fighter when he learned that the man wanted to return to the frontline.


Govorit NeMoskva [independent media outlet] shared stories of several mercenaries who were ex-convicts and were killed in the war with Ukraine. Following their deaths, residents and authorities are raising funds for memorial plaques and organizing exhibitions about them in local libraries.

In the city of Izhevsk, the capital of Russia's constituent Republic of Udmurtia, a group of companies called "Unmanned Systems" will begin drone production in yet another shopping mall. The city has previously allocated two shopping malls for the production of unmanned aerial vehicles.

Authorities in Perm are planning to expand the Northern cemetery to include an honorary site for the burial of soldiers killed in the war with Ukraine.


Russian job search websites feature hundreds of resumes from former Wagner Group mercenaries. The Vyorstka media outlet has discovered 702 resumes on the website, at least 70 more on the website, and a few dozen more on the Avito [Russia's online marketplace] service. In the "work experience" section, many have listed only their participation in combat. Former mercenaries are considering roles as security service specialists, guards, police officers, OMON [riot police] fighters and drivers. Additionally, according to the media outlet, at least one-third of the job seekers on Avito have turned out to be former convicts. Only one of them mentioned in the resume that he had a prior criminal record and received a pardon.