mobilization briefs
October 25, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Oct. 23-24, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov announced the completion of mustering for a new battalion, named after Sheikh Mansur [famous leader of the resistance against Russian imperialism during the 18th century]. The battalion will fight under the aegis of the Russian Ministry of Defense, despite a similarly named battalion already taking part in the war on the side of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Authorities continue to use the draft to put pressure on activists and oppositionists. The relatives of Ilya Melkov discovered a draft notice in his mailbox in Arkhangelsk. He is married to Olesya Krivtsova, who faces charges of justification of terrorism for her Instagram repost and anti-war stories. Both of them left Russia earlier this year.

Vazhnyye Istorii [IStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet] and CIT have discovered torture "pits" for punishing soldiers at two military training grounds in Russia. Read our joint article on what awaits volunteer fighters before they are deployed to war.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Artyom Verozub from the Tver region, Pavel Mironov from Chuvashia [Russia’s constituent republic], Pyotr Dorunov from the Volgograd region, Ivan Urazov from the Yaroslavl region, and Aleksandr Gala from the Omsk region.

Authorities in Yaroslavl plan to dig 564 additional graves for fallen soldiers at the military cemetery, all following a uniform design. In total, authorities have allocated 6.4 million rubles [$68,435] for the new graves.

The Astra Telegram channel reports that at least 173 Russian soldiers have been placed in illegal refusenik camps on the occupied territories of Ukraine over the past 10 days. This information is based on appeals from relatives to the editorial office. However, according to journalists, the actual number of refuseniks is much higher. Additionally, it is reported that around 50 Russian soldiers are currently being held at the military training ground in the village of Postoyalye Dvory, Kursk region. They were transported there on Oct. 23 from an illegal refusenik camp in the Russian-occupied Ukrainian village of Rozsypne, following a visit by a lawyer. According to Astra’s source, on Oct. 24, 150 soldiers who were detained at the training range started to be transported to the city of Voronezh. Their intended destinations are either the Pogonovo training ground or the Baltimore military airfield, Voronezh region. Subsequently, they are planned to be sent to the city of Rostov and then deployed to participate in the assault on Avdiivka, where Russian forces are currently advancing. Over 30 soldiers who have already arrived in Voronezh are refusing to board the plane. Moreover, approximately 100 refuseniks have already been transported to Rostov.

Ilya Khannanov, Deputy Head of the Government of Udmurtia [Russia's constituent republic], has been sent to the combat zone to address the concerns of the soldiers and check their leave schedules. Mobilized soldiers from the republic had made a public appeal during the summer, which they were subsequently compelled to publicly apologize for. Their appeal had raised issues regarding inadequate supply, leave unavailability, and payment problems.

The authorities of Yakutia [Russia’s constituent republic] have responded to an open letter addressed to the head of the republic, Aisen Nikolayev, by the wives and mothers of mobilized soldiers. The letter requested the return of their loved ones and the exclusion of Yakutia from the decree on "partial" mobilization due to its harsh climate. In their response, the authorities reassured the letter's authors that there is an ample supply of hay and silage and encouraged the women "not to lose heart."

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

In the Tomsk region, a man accidentally detonated a live grenade, mistakenly believing it to be a dummy. Four men were drinking alcohol in the village of Kopylovo when one, seeking to "play a prank on his friends," tossed what he believed to be a dummy grenade at them. The explosion resulted in the death of one man, while the one who tossed the explosive and two other men sustained minor injuries. A criminal case has been initiated for causing death by negligence, while the origin of the live grenade remains unclear.

According to preliminary reports, a 30-year-old OMON [riot police] medic who had recently returned from the frontline killed his wife and subsequently took his own life in Biysk, Altai region [Russia's federal subject].

The Krasnoyarsk Garrison Military Court has sentenced three servicemen to five years in a penal settlement for going AWOL. Private Denis Semyonov deserted his unit in April 2023, due to dissatisfaction with his superiors and voluntarily surrendered to the commandant's office in May. Lance Corporal Denis Forot left his unit in March to spend time with his family and presented himself to the military commissariat [enlistment office] in May. Another serviceman, Private Roman Nikolaev, was handed the same sentence after leaving his unit in April 2023 for similar reasons and turning himself in to the commandant's office in May.

Furthermore, the Krasnoyarsk Garrison Military Court sentenced private Viktor Novosyolov to seven years in a maximum security penal colony for going AWOL. In October 2022, the soldier failed to return to his unit after his leave, and he only applied to a military commandant's office in February 2023. In October, according to the court's database, at least seven soldiers were sentenced under Part 5 of Article 337 of the Criminal Code. In Krasnoyarsk, 27 verdicts for going AWOL were handed down during the first 10 months of 2023, marking a significant increase compared to 2022 when there were three such cases, nine in 2021, and five in 2020.

The Voyennye Advokaty [Military Lawyers] Telegram channel clarified the various military offenses for which individuals can be held accountable aside from Articles 332 and 337 of the Russian Criminal Code for evasion of service.

In Crimea, a Belarusian citizen was detained, accused of attempting to murder a Russian soldier on Sept. 23 in Dzhankoi. On that day, a bomb detonated beneath the vehicle of soldier Andrey G., but no one was injured. On Oct. 24 in Sevastopol, 61-year-old Vyacheslav P. was detained. A case was initiated against him on charges of attempted murder, illegal arms trafficking, and deliberate damage to someone else's property.

In the Vladimir region, a resident of the Krestnikovo village has been detained on suspicion of setting fire to a power supply cabinet for surveillance cameras on the railway section. According to investigators, the man received a task from Ukrainian handlers on Telegram who promised him a reward for committing the arson. A terrorism case has been initiated in connection with the incident.

On Oct. 23, in the Moscow region, unknown individuals damaged the fence of the military unit where the 9th Radio-Technical Regiment is located. They threw 11 bottles with flammable liquids and a gas cylinder onto the premises.


Maxim Ivanov, member of the State Duma from the Sverdlovsk region, reported the delivery of the first electronic warfare stations to the 55th Motorized Rifle Brigade, intended for protection against UAVs.


In a school in Buryatia [Russia's constituent republic], "patriotic education" lesson was held. Military personnel and Wagner Group mercenaries, the majority of whom had their faces concealed with balaclavas, visited the students. The children took photos with these men against a flag bearing the words, "Nothing personal, we were paid."


The killers of 34-year-old Irina Sinelnikova from Berdsk have been released after serving six months with the Wagner Group. She was murdered in 2019 while trying to sell her car. Although her killers were originally sentenced to 39 years in prison collectively, they were released after only four years. Dmitry Fursov and Stanislav Belousov spent several months at war and returned home after being pardoned. A former convict has returned in the village of Gurulyovo in Buryatia. He had been sentenced to 10 years for murder in late November 2022. Journalists from the Lyudi Baikala [People of Baikal] independent media outlet visited the village and spoke with local residents.

A resident of the Kabansk district, Buryatia, who joined the Wagner Group, went to war, and was wounded, has been declared dead. He learned about his own death after being discharged and demobilized. It turned out that his name had already been engraved on the memorial honoring the soldiers who were killed in the war against Ukraine. He had to annul the death certificate through legal proceedings.

The Presidential Administration has asked Russian propagandists not to report on crimes committed by Russians returning from Ukraine, including mercenaries and ex-convicts. Previously, state-controlled media were happy to publish such news. This decision was made to prevent Russians from viewing the fighters as potential criminals and to reduce fear of their return.

The Moscow government will purchase 150 mobile biometric complexes for 225 million rubles [$2.4 million]. These complexes are designed for facial recognition in areas with large crowds of people.

Aleksandr Sokolov, Governor of the Kirov region, has announced a shortage of employees in the defense industry. Currently, 850 workers are undergoing training, but over 1,900 positions remain vacant. Previously, labor shortages were reported at the Ufa Engine Industrial Association and the Ulyanovsk Aviastar aircraft factory.


The Insider [independent Russian investigative media outlet] published a report on Russian authorities organizing raids on mosques together with nationalist groups. Journalists talked to migrants who were prevented from practicing namaz and attended events involving far-right movements.

The Vot Tak [Like This] media outlet described the system of sending seriously wounded and under-medicated mobilized soldiers back to the frontline: even individuals with unhealed wounds and shrapnel in their body can end up on the forward positions.

The Vyorstka media outlet published an article on how the war and mobilization have exacerbated child abuse in Russian families. Even before the war, in almost half of the families, fathers were not actively involved in raising their children, and after the invasion of Ukraine, Russian mothers found themselves in an even more difficult position, increasingly struggling to cope alone.