mobilization briefs
November 8, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Nov. 6-7, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

In the first reading of a bill, the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] unanimously voted to prohibit the assignment of debt to relatives in cases where a serviceman, who had acted as a loan guarantor, is killed in the war against Ukraine. Earlier, the State Duma had already mandated that loans be written off if the borrower is killed or severely wounded during the invasion.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

43-year-old Roman Bigotskiy, Head of the Kalinino District in the city of Krasnodar, departed for the frontline on Oct. 30. According to political strategist Yury Yankin, the mayor’s office will not terminate his employment contract. City officials told the local news portal that Bigotskiy was "mobilized for military service."

In Nizhny Novgorod, the police conducted a raid on migrants, during which it checked 34 foreigners and 47 naturalized Russian citizens, two of whom were taken to a draft office. As a result, one was registered for military service and fined for not having done so earlier. The other was served a draft notice. In recent months, similar raids have taken place all over Russia.

The Voyennye Advokaty [Military Lawyers] Telegram channel posted an article about roundups of potential conscripts. Migrants who have recently acquired Russian citizenship and students who have lost the right to draft exemption are particularly vulnerable. Military commissariats cooperate with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and a facial recognition system is also used. Detained conscripts are taken to military commissariats and to military collection points, where medical examining boards find young men fit for service without hesitation and adequate health screening. After that, the only effective way to challenge the decision of the draft board is to file a lawsuit immediately with a request to take preliminary protection measures suspending the implementation of the draft board's decision. Furthermore, the article provides information about how to avoid becoming a victim of a roundup.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Ruslan Akushkarov from the Tyumen region and Yevgeny Denisov from Chuvashia [Russia’s constituent republic].

During a communist rally dedicated to October Revolution Day [Nov. 7] at Teatralnaya Square in Moscow, about 30 relatives of mobilized soldiers raised posters demanding the rotation of servicemen. The picketing with posters saying "It's time for the mobilized to go home" and "No indefinite mobilization" lasted no more than 5 minutes, after which the police approached the women and "started talking" with them. According to the participants of the action, the security forces did not detain anyone, on the contrary, "showed sympathy." According to one of the organizers of the rally from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, the demand for justice for mobilized soldiers does not coincide with the theme of social justice, declared as the main theme of the rally.

In the city of Novosibirsk, the available burial spaces for military personnel at the Gusinobrodsky cemetery have been exhausted. The location of the new burial section has ignited indignation from Andrey Panfyorov, First Deputy Chairman of the Legislative Assembly of the Novosibirsk region. He had previously deployed to the war as the commander of the Vega volunteer battalion but soon returned to Novosibirsk. Similar issues related to the expansion of burial sites for military personnel have been recently encountered in the city of Perm.

Ukraine is set to open a new camp for Russian prisoners of war in the near future, and the launch of another camp is being prepared, as reported by the Hochu Zhit [I want to live] project. These steps are attributed to the increasing number of Russian prisoners of war and the refusal of the Russian side to engage in exchanges. The project also mentioned that the conditions in the new camp will comply with all requirements of international humanitarian law.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

In Bashkortostan [Russia's constituent republic], a former Wagner Group mercenary, 25-year-old Oleg Mikhailov, kidnapped and raped a female acquaintance who had agreed to give him a ride home. Criminal cases have been filed against Mikhailov under the articles of kidnapping and sexual violence. He had a history of attacking people and committing thefts even during his school years. In 2022, he was sentenced to 18 years in prison for murder. During his time in prison, he joined the Wagner Group and went to war in Ukraine, and in April 2023, he received a pardon.

The Vladimir Garrison Military Court in will consider a criminal case of murder against Valery Shumilov, a previously convicted serviceman from Suzdal.

On Sept. 14, the same court sentenced mobilized soldier Aleksey Borichevsky to three years in a penal settlement for going AWOL during mobilization. Borichevsky participated in the war until Jan. 16, 2023. On Jan. 20, he left the combat zone, and from Feb. 9 to March 20, he underwent treatment for PTSD. He was also diagnosed with alcohol dependence and a disorder related to the use of psychoactive substances. Despite that, the military medical board deemed Borichevsky fit for service, assigning him the service fitness category "A."

In October 2023 alone, the Vladimir Garrison Military Court issued 14 guilty verdicts for going AWOL. Approximately the same number of such verdicts were issued in September, compared to only six throughout 2022.

The Omsk Garrison Military Court will hear the case against 25-year-old mobilized soldier Maksim Vikhorev from the Kemerovo region. He is accused of desertion during mobilization and fleeing from arrest. This is the first such case since the beginning of the war. Due to severe weather conditions, the soldier could not return from leave to his unit on time. When he was finally preparing for the flight, it turned out that he was declared wanted, leading to charges of desertion.

In the Rostov region, a 50-year-old man was detained for attempting to set fire to a draft office. He threw three Molotov cocktails at the building, but no fire occurred. According to RIA Novosti [Russian state-owned news agency], the man attempted to set fire to the draft office because he wanted to "help catch criminals" who were hiding in the building.

The Cheremushkinsky District Court of Moscow sentenced a local resident to two months in a pre-trial detention center on charges of attempting to detonate a draft office. The man was charged with hooliganism involving explosive devices. The court’s press service did not provide details of the criminal case, but MSK1.RU [Moscow news online media outlet] and the Baza Telegram channel reported that on the evening of Nov. 1, an object resembling an explosive device was found near the draft office in the Akademichesky District of Moscow.

The Military Court of Appeals upheld an eight-and-a-half-year sentence for anti-war activist Igor Paskar. In June 2022, he set fire to a banner with the inscription "We don't abandon our own," and two days later, he threw a Molotov cocktail at the Federal Security Service (FSB) building in Krasnodar. Paskar faced charges of "committing an act of terror" for the arson of the FSB building and "vandalism" for setting fire to the banner. In total, he faced up to 15 years of imprisonment. During the investigation, Paskar was subjected to severe pressure, including torture.


Russian authorities have launched a large-scale propaganda campaign aimed at schoolchildren. According to the Mozhem Ob’yasnit [We can explain] Telegram channel, the collection of letters and parcels for the military, which was previously reported in one of our summaries, was organized and coordinated from the federal center. Deputy Minister of Defense of Russia Viktor Goremykin was actively involved in the process, while Russian regions reported on the progress of the initiative to both the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Education.


In the town of Balashov, Saratov region, employees of kindergartens, libraries and schools are being pressured to donate one day's salary in support of the "special military operation." Moreover, transferring funds does not require individual consent, as unanimity is assumed among the entire staff. Those who do not wish to contribute were advised to communicate their decision in a group chat, but as of now, no one has publicly spoken out against the initiative. The head of the district, Pavel Petrakov, stated that "no one is forcing anyone." The Idel.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet has reported that medical workers in the city of Engels, Saratov region, are subjected to a similar method of fundraising, as contributions for the military are being deducted from their salaries.

A "volunteer atelier" has been set up by residents of the Stavropol region to sew various items of clothing like balaclavas, T-shirts and thermal underwear.

Wounded soldiers from Chuvashia need socks, underwear, bed sheets and diapers. After the Syerditaya Chuvashia [Angry Chuvashia] Telegram channel drew attention to the donation drive, the hospital stated that they no longer require additional donations.


In Yakutsk, the city administration and the draft office will reward organizations as part of a competition for the best execution of mobilization efforts. To determine the winners, officials and draft office employees will conduct assessments to identify which organizations have most effectively drafted individuals for war and maintained records of equipment for potential military use.

During a recent meeting of the Belgorod region government, it was revealed that local officials are requesting funds for the restoration of houses that were not damaged during attacks by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. These houses were claimed as "included by mistake" in the registry of destroyed houses. Meanwhile, the company that gifted the Belgorod region administration two cars worth 26 million rubles [$282,000] was awarded contracts for the reconstruction of the "LPR."


A musician from Mordovia [Russia’s constituent republic] shared with Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet], how FSB officers attempted to recruit him after suspecting him of being involved in the arson of a military draft office.

The Re: Russia project has published an overview article on how Russian authorities manage to recruit "volunteer fighters" without announcing a new wave of mobilization. The main incentive for the recruits is money. It is not known exactly how many people can be recruited, but, apparently, not enough to replace those who were mobilized a year ago. At the same time, according to experts, the recruitment rate will be sufficient to meet the needs of the frontline before the presidential election.

The E1.RU media outlet tells the story of a 45-year-old woman whose mobilized son is considered missing in action. Searching for her son, the woman joined the Committee of Soldiers' Mothers of Yekaterinburg and is now helping other mothers.