mobilization briefs
November 10, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Nov. 8-9, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation 

The working group formed by the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] Committee on Youth Policy to "strengthen the patriotic education system" held a meeting to consider a proposal to update the goals of the national youth policy, reportedly aiming to "enhance the prestige" of military and law enforcement service.

The State Duma will be considering a bill to grant private security companies the legal right to neutralize drone threats. It would amend the Law on Private Detective and Security Activities, which lawmakers split into two in 2022, with one law focusing on security activities and the other on detective work. Thus, the changes address outdated legislation, as noted by the Sota media outlet.

In the Zabaykalsky region [Russia’s federal subject], the government submitted its 2024 budget proposal to the legislative assembly. The budget projects a deficit of 7.7 billion rubles [$83.7 million], with 3 billion rubles ($32.6 million) allocated for the support of the "special military operation." Another 400 million rubles [$4.3 million] are expected to be spent on the Starobesheve district of the "DPR," for which the Zabaykalsky region has been tasked to "provide assistance."

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

Dmitry Medvedev [Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Security Council] asserted that 410,000 individuals had enlisted since the beginning of the year, adding that recruitment for contract-based military service will continue next year. If he is to be believed, around 1,600 individuals joined the military ranks each day since Oct. 25, when Medvedev claimed a total of approximately 385,000 recruits in 2023. However, as mentioned in our previous summary, regions are competing by markedly increasing financial incentives for volunteer fighters to meet the recruitment targets assigned from above.

In late October, eighty Cossacks from the Orenburg region departed to the combat zone to join the ranks of unit BARS-6 of the Forstadt Cossack Special Operations Assault Battalion. Prior to their departure, the Cossacks spent two days completing a refresher course and performing joint combat training exercises. It is also reported that contract soldiers who had served for six months would be returning to the region in line with the existing rotation procedure.

According to the human rights activists with the Crimean Tatar Resource Center, approximately 3,000 residents of Crimea have been forcibly mobilized since September 2023, with 1,000 of them enlisted into the Russian Armed Forces and another 2,000 joining "private military companies." In general, in 2023 the Russian authorities failed to reach the recruitment target of 60,000 Crimean residents by a large margin, having managed to enroll only 23,000 men.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The last tribute to Anatoly Skvortsov was paid in the village of Chirsh-Khirlepy in Chuvashia [Russia’s constituent republic]. According to the Syerditaya Chuvashia [Angry Chuvashia] Telegram channel, Skvortsov, who presumably lived in Chuvashia prior to mobilization, was killed on the Zaporizhzhia axis on Oct. 29, when a column of the 1251st Motorized Rifle Regiment was hit by a strike. Earlier, news emerged on the death of Yevgeny Denisov from the settlement of Ibresi, also believed by Syerditaya Chuvashia to be a member of the 1251st Regiment. Meanwhile, the Idel.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet released an interview with a soldier who survived a strike launched from a HIMARS MLRS. The source, who preferred to remain anonymous, admitted that at least 20 service members of his regiment lost their lives hit by the four deadly rockets. He went on to say that the number of casualties was likely to have increased as more soldiers might have succumbed to their injuries. Following the fatal strike, the regiment commander, Colonel Vladislav Matuzas, was suspended from his position pending the results of the investigation launched by the prosecutor’s office. The source believes that Matuzas’s deputy, who was also killed in the strike, will be held liable for the casualties.

On Nov. 8, as a result of a mortar shelling in one of the border villages of the Kursk region, four Russian soldiers, including a mobilized deputy chairman of the Orlov City Council, Vladimir Stroev, sustained injuries.

Against the backdrop of authorities' statements that mobilized soldiers will not return home until the end of the war, relatives of mobilized men have started to actively fight for their return, making their presence more visible in the media. For instance, wives of mobilized soldiers in the city of Novosibirsk told journalists that for a whole year, they have been trying to bring their husbands back home or at least secure the promised leave. Despite injuries and health issues among the servicemen, the command does not grant leave even when requested by the prosecutor's office. Additionally, a mother from Saint Petersburg, whose son was drafted despite lacking combat experience and having poor eyesight, shared with the Rotonda ​​media outlet how the family is coping with her son's mobilization. The woman, along with other relatives of soldiers, met with the Commissioner for Human Rights in Saint Petersburg, Svetlana Agapitova, and now plans to address the authorities with a request to limit the length of military service.

Authorities in the Chelyabinsk region have persuaded the wives of mobilized soldiers not to stage protests demanding the return of their husbands from the war. Officials reached an agreement with activists to hold a meeting with representatives from the city hall, the draft office, and the local Combat Brotherhood [All-Russian public organization of veterans] on Nov. 14. If the meeting does not yield results, they promised to arrange a conversation with the governor. Apparently, they convinced the activists not to organize public demonstrations similar to the one in Moscow. It's possible that coordination of such appeals is happening in the Pyty Domoy [Way Home] Telegram channel, where relatives of mobilized soldiers are assisted in drafting appeals to authorities. Chat groups related to the movement are emerging in various regions of Russia, including Vladimir, Omsk, and about 25 other regions, as well as in annexed Crimea.

The Ukrainian Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War has responded to the Dovod independent Russian media outlet, stating that they have no information on Aleksandr Kholev being held in captivity. Kholev's wife has allegedly recognized him as one of the prisoners of war shown in a video.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

Wife of the deceased Lieutenant Colonel Sergey Savenok, who was mobilized from the town of Usolye-Sibirskoye, Irkutsk region, was informed that her husband died from a wound caused by "a shot with undetermined intentions." It was unofficially disclosed to his wife that he had committed suicide, although this was not documented. However, Savenok’s wife and her lawyer believe that Sergey may have been killed by a fellow soldier, rather than committed suicide using an assault rifle. Yakov Iontsev, a lawyer with the Public Verdict Foundation, is seeking to initiate a criminal case. He is already working with two cases of "suicides" of mobilized soldiers from the Irkutsk region—Viktor Petrov and Aleksandr Tirskikh, who were mentioned in our previous summaries.

According to the Astra Telegram channel, in the Russian-occupied village of Lyubymivka, Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, Russian law enforcers detained Oleksandr Borisenko, a 15-year-old vocational school student. The teenager was allegedly detained due to the discovery of ammunition, grenades, and their fuses in the shed attic, which were left behind by the RuAF servicemen who previously lived in his house. Borisenko's current whereabouts are unknown.

The Kommersant media outlet has confirmed the information previously published by the VChK-OGPU Telegram channel about the detention in the Perm region [Russia’s federal subject] of a former Wagner Group mercenary on charges of sexually abusing a 12-year-old schoolgirl. The media outlet, with reference to the regional Investigative Committee, reported the initiation of a criminal case under the article "Sexual violence."

The Vladivostok Garrison Military Court sentenced Fyodor N., a mobilized soldier, to two years and nine months in a penal settlement for refusing to participate in combat activities. According to investigators, in May 2023, the private refused to execute the order to go to a combat zone, given by the commander of a military unit, citing poor health.

Since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine began, the Vladimir Garrison Military Court has received 65 criminal cases initiated against mobilized and contract soldiers under the article on going AWOL. Guilty verdicts have already been handed down in 56 of them (including 14 in October). However, for the entire 2022, the court considered only eight such cases.

At least 17 people convicted of high-profile murders were released from penal colonies in 2022 and 2023 due to Putin's pardons, according to the Agentstvo.Novosti [Agency News] Telegram channel. All of them had participated in the war in Ukraine and then regained their freedom. Some of them committed new crimes after their release.


In the Zabaykalsky region, authorities allocated 4,000 rubles [$44] to the families of mobilized soldiers for purchasing firewood. However, this amount is not sufficient even for a truck of firewood, which costs 5,500 rubles [$60].

The Moscow Oblast Duma has passed a law expanding the categories of beneficiaries eligible for payouts for the families of deceased participants in the "special military operation." Previously, payments were only provided to parents, widows, children under 18, and children under 23 if they were still in school. Now, if these family members are absent, children over 18 years old (regardless of their educational status) can receive a payout of 3 million rubles [$32,700], and in their absence, full and half-siblings are eligible to receive it.


Aleksey Domrachev, a participant in the war in Ukraine, met with children at a school in the town of Yuryev-Polsky, Vladimir region. Earlier, Domrachev had his driver's license revoked for driving under the influence and was prosecuted for disorderly conduct.

The Russian Ministry of Defense reports that kindergarten students in Nizhnekamsk, Russia's constituent Republic of Tatarstan, wrote letters to the participants of the "special military operation" under the guidance of teachers. Additionally, a career guidance tour was held for children at Kurganmashzavod, where infantry fighting vehicles are assembled.


The authorities of Saint Petersburg have developed a program for the drone production industry development.

The Gumpomosch Omsk [Humanitarian aid Omsk] Telegram channel complained that people have ceased helping the mobilized. According to the channel administrator, the amount of donations has dropped to a minimum, and some former donors argue that those who urged the mobilized to go to war should be the ones supporting them. The demoralization of the community is further exacerbated by difficulties in purchasing drone parts due to sanctions.

An open-cast coal mine in Buryatia [Russia's constituent republic] is hiring female drivers for their haul trucks. The job advertisement does not specify why they decided to employ women to operate BelAZ trucks. However, authorities have reported a personnel shortage in the industry due to the ongoing war and mobilization.


The 7x7—Gorizontalnaya Rossiya [Horizontal Russia] news outlet has released an extract from the book titled "U Fashistov Malo Kraski" [The Fascists Lack Paint], published in August 2023. In this book, the author analyzes the history of anti-war protests within the Russian Federation.