mobilization briefs
October 20, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Oct. 18-19, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

In Russia’s constituent Republic of Tatarstan, the State Council [regional parliament] has prepared a bill to amend the Labor Code of the Russian Federation. If approved by federal authorities, it would allow teenagers aged 16 to 18 to engage in dangerous or hazardous work while undertaking a practical internship under a temporary contract of employment. Until now, the Labor Code forbade employers from engaging teenagers in work that is dangerous, hazardous, performed underground or adversely affecting their health and moral development. This is far from being the first legislative initiative seeking to address labor shortages. Besides, Tatarstan authorities have already initiated the involvement of teenagers in drone assembly in the Alabuga special economic zone.

Furthermore, the State Council of Tatarstan voted unanimously to support a federal bill, which would allow prosecution of citizens for "discrediting" the Armed Forces, even if they have left the country (more details).

Alexander Bastrykin, Head of the Investigative Committee of Russia, is calling for the revocation of citizenship for naturalized migrants who refuse to fight in Ukraine. It's worth noting that authorities have recently conducted numerous raids targeting naturalized citizens who fail to register for military service.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

In Vladimir, regional officials of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, specializing in migration issues, in collaboration with the city draft office, conducted a raid at a local bread factory, resulting in the temporary suspension of production. Presumably, the goal was to identify violators of migration law and draft dodgers.

Gennady Makarov, a human rights activist from Lipetsk, was summoned to report to the draft office, supposedly to have his personal details checked. Earlier, the mayor of Yelets, who sits on the town’s draft board, urged Makarov to voluntarily join the Russian forces fighting in Ukraine. Moreover, officials of the General Directorate for Countering Extremism of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, known as "Center E," fabricated accusations against Makarov in order to search his home twice. Meanwhile, Oleg Sheremetyev, an ex-member of the Moscow City Council, revealed he had been forced to have his picture taken while showing a military recruitment advertisement. According to Sheremetyev, he received a late-night home visit by two police officers armed with assault rifles who asked him to pose for a photo with a military recruitment ad in his hands.

The Voyennye Advokaty [Military Lawyers] Telegram channel and the Prizyv k Sovesti [Call to Conscience] coalition report that military commissariats [enlistment offices] and police are resuming raids on men of conscription age, forcing potential conscripts into draft offices, ordering accelerated medical examination and enlisting them into the army. Contrary to what’s happening now, such raids used to be conducted at the end of conscription campaigns. Lawyers and human rights advocates have put together some helpful tips and advice on how to avoid compulsory military service.

In Saint Petersburg, activists from the Volunteer Company, a pro-government organization that arranges youth actions in support of the war, reportedly distributed draft notices during the mobilization, according to the Sota media outlet, citing a source close to the organization's leadership. Allegedly, the leaders received from draft offices lists of those evading conscription or living at addresses different from their registration. The search for potential conscripts was conducted by staff members who had previously collected information from protest events in the interests of law enforcement.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war against Ukraine has been updated to include Alexandr Nazarov from the Volgograd region, Ilya Savinykh from the Kirov region, and Sergey Znachko from the Kursk region.

Mobilized soldiers from the Tver region have submitted complaints to the mayor of the town of Toropets. The men from the 1007th regiment, part of the 55th motor rifle brigade, are currently stationed near Avdiivka. According to the soldiers, they have been engaged in combat for over a year, and there are only 12 people left in their company.

The Bumaga [Paper] independent media outlet has noticed numerous reports about military commanders demanding payment from servicemen for the opportunity to go on leave. These messages frequently surface on social media and in chat groups of servicemen's wives. The requested bribes range from 40,000 to 200,000 rubles [$400-2,000]. Human rights activists contacted by Bumaga have stated that they have not been approached regarding these alleged bribes.

A mobilized soldier from the Volgograd region, who was wounded one year ago, still has not received the payments he is entitled to, nor have the promised subsidies been provided to him by the authorities. Officials in response claim that such subsidies are not provided in the region at all.

The Military Prosecutor's Office sent a response to someone else's appeal concerning an assault in a battalion to the mother of a deceased mobilized man. Human rights activists considered it a confirmation that complaints of violence in military units are not isolated incidents. Lawyers also pointed out the significant time taken for the Military Prosecutor's Office to respond to the appeal, which had been submitted in July.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

In the Khabarovsk region [Russia’s federal subject], an eighth-grader lost two fingers on his right hand as a result of a grenade fuse detonation. The teenager found a can with eight fuses in a garbage container, one of which exploded in his hand. A case of illegal trafficking of explosives has been initiated. The police suspect that the can may have been disposed of by servicemen of a nearby military unit.

A conscript from the city of Surgut failed to prove his right to alternative service in court. The young man claimed that military service contradicted his beliefs and faith and had gathered the necessary documents. However, the court deemed that the papers did not prove the claimed position and rejected the appeal against the decision of the draft board.

The Krasnoyarsk Garrison Military Court has sentenced Private Roman Nikolaev to five years in a penal settlement for going AWOL. In April 2023, dissatisfied with the command of his unit and "desiring to take a break from service and spend time with his family," Nikolaev left his unit. At the end of May, he voluntarily reported to the military commandant's office.

In the city of Tyumen, the court reduced the punishment for a man convicted of purchasing drugs due to his participation in the war with Ukraine. According to court documents, the defendant ordered drugs in a large quantity, retrieved the package, and was apprehended by the police. In the courtroom, he admitted his guilt, which resulted in a six-month suspended sentence.

Two individuals, a 22-year-old mechanic from the Smolensk Aviation Plant and his friend, have been detained on suspicion of arson attack on two relay cabinets on the railway section between Safonovo and Milokhovo stations in the Smolensk region, which occurred on Oct. 17. According to the authorities, the men were offered 20,000 rubles [$200] each by "Ukrainian handlers" to commit the arson.

The FSB [Federal Security Service] has announced the detention of a 35-year-old resident of Vladivostok suspected of treason. The security forces reported that "following the instructions of handlers from the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, the man collected and passed information about military facilities and the military-industrial complex enterprises in the Primorsky region [Russia’s federal subject]." The suspect may potentially face 20 years behind bars.

In the Moscow region, Aleksey Sivokhin was detained. Since 2016, he had been fighting on the side of Ukraine, and in 2019 he was granted Ukrainian citizenship through a special decree by President Zelenskyy. In January 2022, Sivokhin arrived in Russia. According to the Investigative Committee, he planned to retrieve Molotov cocktails from a hidden location with the intention of setting buildings on fire.

Andrey Trofimov, a resident of the Tver region, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for his involvement in cases related to war "fakes," calls for extremism, and an attempt to join the "Freedom of Russia Legion." Trofimov was arrested in Konakovo in May 2022. Initially, he was charged only with calls for extremism. The Vyorstka media outlet had previously covered Trofimov's story.

Valeria Zotova, a 20-year-old, has been sentenced to six years in prison for attempting to set fire to an administration building. Her mother, Svetlana, will be tried for calls for terrorism and extremism due to her comments on posts in pro-Ukrainian Telegram channels. The Bereg [Waterfront] independent journalist cooperative spoke with Svetlana Zotova about her and her daughter’s case.

Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet], after studying 100 case files related to terrorism on military court websites for the years 2021-2023, for which verdicts have been delivered, concluded that cases under the article on terrorist acts are processed significantly faster. While previously it took six months to consider such cases, now it takes only one month.


The government of the Zabaykalsky region [Russia's federal subject] is planning to spend over 3 billion rubles [$30 million] to support those fighting in Ukraine and their families, and another 300 million [$3 million] rubles to support a municipality in one of the "DPR" regions. At the same time, the region’s revenue in 2024 will amount to about 104 billion rubles [$1.04 billion], with 111 billion rubles [$1.11 billion] allocated for various expenses.


During a national meeting with parents, Anzor Muzaev, Head of the Federal Service for Supervision in Education and Science (Rosobrnadzor), announced that foreign languages tests will no longer be held on a federal level.

In March 2024 the Voin [Warrior] center for physical training, military drill, and "patriotic education" for youth will be opened in Chuvashia [Russia’s constituent republic]. The center aims to teach children safety skills and the basics of military training.

In the Kurgan region, an armored personnel carrier was brought directly into the schoolyard for a "Lesson of Courage." Tables with combat weapons, including assault rifles, machine guns, and grenade launchers, were also set up there.


In Izhevsk, activists are protesting against the placement of military facilities amid urban development. People are drawing green sights as a sign of protest. Three shopping centers in Izhevsk are planning to be converted into factories for the production of drones.

In a village in the Ulyanovsk region, a memorial was opened to commemorate those who died in local wars and conflicts, including those killed in the war against Ukraine. In Ivanovo, a monument dedicated to the eight crew members of the plane shot down on June 24, 2023 by members of the Wagner Group was unveiled. Disabled war veterans have submitted an application to the Presidential Grants Foundation to create a "Heroes of special military operation" park in Belgorod for 26.6 million rubles [$266,000].


Vazhnyye Istorii [IStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet], has published the stories of two families from Kaluga. Their daughters were murdered in 2014, and the murderers were sentenced to 18 and 19 years in a penal colony. However, the convicts did not serve out their sentences; they signed up as mercenaries for the Wagner Group, and are now at large and live in the same city as the families of the murdered young women.

The ROMB project tells the story of Irina Demyanova from Yelabuga, Tatarstan, who is raising four children while trying to bring her husband back from the war. Her lawyers confirm that the man was taken there illegally.

The Groza [Thunderstorm] student media outlet writes about the militarization of higher education—from lectures about the "collective West," to military personnel among university management.