mobilization briefs
November 11, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Nov. 9-10, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

Russian President’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov commented on Putin’s pardon of Vladislav Kanyus, who had been sentenced to 17 years in prison for the murder of a female student, but who has since been released to fight in the war against Ukraine. Peskov stated that convicts can be pardoned in one of two ways. They can "admit their guilt and wait for consecutive decisions of the Federal Penitentiary Service, region, federal district and Central Commission, before their file is submitted to the President." Alternatively, they can "atone for their crimes with blood on the battlefield, serving in storm brigades under flying bullets and shells" [reference to a Stalin decree during World War II].

A group of members of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia], led by Andrey Kartapolov, Chairman of the Defense Committee, introduced a bill to hold volunteer fighters serving in Ukraine accountable for crimes against military service, including, but not limited to, voluntary surrender, failure to execute orders, refusal to carry out combat tasks, going AWOL, loss or intentional damage to military equipment and violation of weapons handling rules. A companion bill seeks to confer upon military tribunals the authority to adjudicate cases involving volunteer fighters.

The Legislative Assembly of Saint Petersburg is considering amendments to the 2024 budget proposal. Expenditures on financial compensation for participants in the war against Ukraine would increase by 2 billion rubles [$21.7 million], whereas education spending would shrink by a similar amount. Meanwhile, the city might see the introduction of an experimental legal regime, in order to enable the testing of drones in urban environments.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

Seventeen-year-old orphan Bohdan Ermokhin, who was evacuated from the city of Mariupol to the Russian Federation and received a draft notice from Russian authorities, has appealed to President Zelenskyy to help him return home to Ukraine. His lawyer, Kateryna Bobrovska, posted the appeal. Later, Ukraine's Commissioner for Human Rights Dmytro Lubinets published a statement from Ermokhin in his Telegram channel, where the teenager rejected the apartment provided to him in Russia as an orphan. Lubinets also announced that Russia and Ukraine have reached an agreement for the teenager's return to his homeland.

In Udmurtia [Russia's constituent republic], authorities are actively promoting contract-based military service. According to local residents, advertisements are being distributed in mailboxes and posted on bulletin boards at every entrance and in elevators. In addition to the address and phone number of the draft office, the promotional materials provide information about financial allowances, benefits, and a 30-day leave period, excluding travel time.

Authorities attempted to serve draft notices to Dmitry Kuzmin and Maksim Solopov, activists from the city of Saint Petersburg and the Krasnodar region, respectively.

As highlighted by the Voyennye Advokaty [Military Lawyers] Telegram channel, following the government introduced special military registration for those serving sentences in detention facilities, there are no longer any obstacles to the mobilization of convicts sentenced to real terms. Mobilization exemptions apply only to those convicted of certain serious offenses and those with fitness categories "D" or "G." However, in a penal colony, the sole grounds for deferment is having four or more children.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters 

Based on open sources, Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] and BBC News Russian, together with volunteers, have verified the names of 36,325 Russian fighters killed in Ukraine. This includes 4,337 mobilized soldiers. Over the last two weeks, the list has been updated with 545 military personnel, including 105 mobilized soldiers.

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Aleksey Shchuko from the Yaroslavl region, Aleksey Mukhin from the Tyumen region, as well as Denis Sarakeev and Viktor Buyandaykin from Chuvashia [Russia’s constituent republic].

According to the Serditaya Chuvashia [Angry Chuvashia] Telegram channel, another funeral of mobilized soldiers who were killed during the attack of the column of the 1251st Motorized Rifle Regiment in the Zaporizhzhia region took place in Chuvashia. Apart from Anatoly Skvortsov, whose funeral we reported on yesterday, Denis Sarakeev, Viktor Buyandaykin and Vladimir Orlov were also buried on the same day.

An injured mobilized soldier from the city of Makiivka is being held in a basement in Donetsk, forced to sign a contract, and threatened with being sent to assault, according to his acquaintance. Additionally, she states that the man needs to have his arm amputated because he was discharged from the hospital too soon after the injury.

Six mobilized soldiers from Siberia were held in a military unit in Omsk for a year due to health issues. They were not allowed to go home, as the military unit refused to conduct a medical evaluation board required for release from service. After the men complained to the media, their relatives informed the Agentstvo.Novosti [Agency News] Telegram channel that they were subsequently sent to Ukraine. According to diagnoses, at least two draftees could have been exempted from service, as confirmed by lawyers and a doctor. One of them, Kirill Aleksandrov, was previously mentioned in our summaries.

Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] has compiled all available information to date on the organized movement advocating for the return of mobilized soldiers, following the Nov. 7 rally at Teatralnaya Square in Moscow. In addition to the Put Domoi [Way Home] Telegram channel, whose administrators refuse to comment but state that relatives have opted for "more radical" methods such as protests or pickets, there is the "Let's Bring Back the Guys" group. This group advises against attending rallies, as they "can spoil everything." The Vyorstka media outlet spoke with participants from these groups to understand why some have decided to take to the streets while others are not yet ready, and what those who not only want to bring back their loved ones but also oppose the war have to say.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

In Kamchatka, two servicemen who refused to participate in combat in Ukraine were convicted. Vladislav Kovalenko was sentenced to 2 years and 3 months in a penal settlement, while Valery Ilyin received a 2-year and 1-month prison sentence. Both, stationed in military units in the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, refused to obey the commander's order to fight in Ukraine.

The Garrison Military Court in Novosibirsk sentenced contract soldier Ivan Polovnikov to five years of probation for desertion during mobilization. Polovnikov signed a contract with the Ministry of Defense in the summer of 2022 after his father was killed in March 2022 in the war. In early April 2023, he went on leave, originally scheduled to end on May 2, but he chose to stay with his mother and brother. In late July, after a call from an investigator, Polovnikov voluntarily went to the Investigative Committee. The court considered his voluntary contract enlistment "against the backdrop of his father's death during the special military operation" and his desire to continue participating in the war as mitigating factors.

Attempted arson at the draft office occurred in the town of Yelets, Lipetsk region, on the night of Nov. 10. A 60-year-old local female resident, employed as a guard at a vocational school, poured flammable liquid onto the window of the first floor of the draft office and set it on fire. The fire was quickly extinguished, and the woman was apprehended. During interrogation, it was revealed that the woman had become a scam victim. Meanwhile, in the Sverdlovsk region, attempts to set fire to draft offices occurred twice in one day. In Asbest, a 69-year-old retiree mistakenly set fire to the porch of a polyclinic instead of the draft office due to confusion in addresses. The fire was extinguished by a guard, and the woman was detained. Meanwhile, in Kamensk-Uralsky, law enforcement officers detained a woman planning to set fire to a building. The Federal Security Service (FSB) claims that in all cases, including the one in Yelets, scammers manipulated these individuals into committing arson. It has also been reported that draft offices in Krasnoyarsk are being equipped with surveillance cameras—regional authorities are procuring 75 cameras and related equipment for a total of 7.5 million rubles [$81,360].

In another incident, Aleksey Gribanov, a graduate student from Saint Petersburg, was sentenced to three years on probation for attempting to set fire to the Historical and Literary Museum in the town of Pushkin. Gribanov admitted guilt and revealed that unknown individuals had informed him over the phone about a military draft notice issued in his name, urging him to seek revenge by committing arson at the draft office. Allegedly refusing, Gribanov attempted to set fire to the museum instead. His charge was reclassified from hooliganism committed with the use of weapons or by conspiracy to simple hooliganism.

In Petrozavodsk, a search was conducted at the residence of Olga Tuzhikova, a City Council member who assisted mobilized soldiers. She became a witness in a case involving calls for "activities against the security of the state."

A court in Krasnodar sentenced a 49-year-old resident with dual Russian and Ukrainian citizenship to six years in a maximum security penal colony on charges of intended treason. In June 2023, a man, whose name was not given, allegedly decided to join the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Security forces detained him at a railway station.

A defendant in a treason case named Blinov was arrested in Moscow. Details of the case are unknown.

Irina Izmaylova, an environmental activist from Samara and a friend of Russian Volunteer Corps fighter Aleksandr Kudashov, admitted to making explosives because of threats to relatives in Ukraine. Read more about her case in the article by Idel.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet.


Social activists in Saratov are urging the authorities not to revoke the status of large families if one of the children fighting in Ukraine is killed in the war.

The Irkutsk Zvezda [Star] foundation has temporarily stopped paying for the funerals of soldiers due to a reduction in donations from companies and residents of the Irkutsk region.


Parents of students from one of the schools in Saint Petersburg were demanded to enlist their children in Dvizheniye pervykh [Movement of the First], a youth organization engaged in what is commonly known as "patriotic education."


Volunteers in Nefteyugansk are offering courses for men willing to go to the "special military operation" zone. Registration is open for individuals as young as six years old. The courses cover physical training, tactical medicine, weapon assembly and survival skills.

As reported by the Mozhem Ob'yasnit [We can explain] Telegram channel, participants in the invasion of Ukraine had their awards received in the summer taken away, only to be ceremoniously presented again in the fall by Putin's niece, Anna Tsivilyova. For example, on Oct. 18, Governor of the Nizhny Novgorod region Gleb Nikitin and Tsivilyova presented the medal "For Valor" to former Wagner Group mercenary Sergey Ataullin, which he had originally received in July.


The article from the Sibir.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet continues to tell the story of how the war releases murderers and rapists, detailing criminals whom the Russian authorities have pardoned for their participation in the war in Ukraine.