mobilization briefs
October 26, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Oct. 24-25, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

The Ministry of Emergency Situations prepared a new version of the "Principles of State Policy of the Russian Federation in Matters of Civil Defense for the Period until 2030." The document now includes the concept of "infrastructure and population defense during special military operations." It also states that local armed conflicts close to federal borders may escalate into local and regional wars.

During the second reading of a bill, the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] approved amendments to the electoral legislation allowing military unit commanders to form electoral commissions from military personnel, their relatives and other residents of military bases.

The State Duma will be considering a bill, which would halve the cost of bachelor and specialist programs for individuals, who completed their military service, either as a conscript or a contract soldier. The authors estimate the initiative will cost the taxpayer 7.4 billion rubles [$78.6 million] per year. Besides this, the bill would ensure that people who completed their military service would be entitled to enroll in master’s programs for free, even in the absence of state-funded places.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

Dmitry Medvedev [Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Security Council] asserted that 385,000 volunteer fighters and contract soldiers have enlisted since the beginning of the year. According to him, more than 1,600 individuals sign contracts every day. On Oct. 12, Medvedev claimed that 357,000 people had joined the ranks. Consequently, if he is to be believed, the recruitment rate in the last two weeks exceeded 2,000 people per day. He also announced that recruitment of contract soldiers would continue next year and that the Russian Armed Forces would muster one more army corps, seven divisions, 19 brigades, 49 regiments and one flotilla.

Chairman of the Kurgan Regional Duma [legislative assembly] Dmitry Frolov suggested sending alcoholics to the war or factories experiencing a shortage of labor. Furthermore, Elena Sitnikova, director of the regional department of social protection, reported that 48 percent of those visiting sobering-up stations are unemployed. She suggested hanging leaflets inside these institutions to inform people about military service.

Ruslan Geremeyev is set to become the commander of a new Chechen battalion named after Sheikh Mansur [famous leader of the resistance against Russian imperialism during the 18th century]. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has stated earlier that the formation of the battalion is complete. Geremeyev is believed to be the organizer of the murder of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov.

After an anti-migrant raid at a prayer house in Kotelniki, Moscow region, on Oct. 20, as a result of which some of the parishioners were drafted to serve in the army, riot police also detained Muhammad Negmatov, a 19-year-old member of the Russian national judo team. At the military commissariat [enlistment office], the athlete was forced to sign a contract with the Russian Ministry of Defense, but he refused. Currently, Negmatov is stationed in a military unit in Novo-Fominsk. Vazhnyye Istorii [IStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet] discussed how and why anti-migrant raids occur with lawyers and human rights activists. The Mojem Ob'yasnit [We can explain] Telegram channel learned about the legality of such actions and ways to avoid being sent to the frontline from lawyer Maksim Grebenyuk, creator of the Voyenny Ombudsman [Military Ombudsman] project, and Sergey Krivenko, head of the Grazhdanin. Armiya. Pravo [Citizen. Army. Law] human rights society.

Authorities have initiated the search for migrants and stateless persons with an outstanding criminal record or those under investigation, as well as people who have recently received Russian citizenship but did not report to a military commissariat. These individuals are being offered a salary, the clearance of a criminal record or closure of their case in exchange for signing up as volunteer fighters for the war. According to reports, approximately one hundred people have already been recruited.

Lawyer Ilya Demidov of the Military Lawyers Committee, a human rights organization in the city of Vladimir, describes how officials of the Vladimir regional draft office joined by inspectors of the regional office of the Federal Penitentiary Service conduct door-to-door home visits to registered offenders, seeking to recruit contract soldiers for the war against Ukraine. Military contracts are also being offered to all offenders who report to the inspection office for an in-person check-in.

The mayor's office of the city of Yaroslavl announced that an additional 100,000 ruble bonus [$1,064] promised by local businesses to employees who sign up for a military contract had already been awarded to two men. Thus, the total sign-up payout for these recruits will amount to 505,000 rubles [$5,372].

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Sergey Dolganov from the Chelyabinsk region.

Twenty-one graduates of a college in Gorno-Altaysk, Altai’s capital city, have been killed in the war against Ukraine. The youngest of them graduated in 2021. The Book of Remembrance, recently presented in Altai, commemorates them as well as other war participants from the republic. Yet, among all Siberian regions, Altai has the lowest number of casualties. According to Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] and BBC News Russian, as of Oct. 19, Altai has lost 141 of its citizens to the war. Over the last month, the casualty count for Altai increased by almost 10 percent.

35 soldiers from the 488th, 283rd, and 254th regiments who refused to board the plane to Rostov in Voronezh have been taken back to Voronezh, as reported by their relatives to the Astra Telegram channel. They are currently located at the Pogonovo training range, where their commanders are using threats to persuade them to return. Meanwhile, those who did board the plane have already departed. According to messages from their families, they will be sent to the area near Avdiivka. Additionally, it has been revealed that three of the soldiers who refused to board the plane to Rostov have escaped.

It has also been reported that a 24-year-old mobilized soldier named Anton managed to escape to Armenia. He had come to Moscow for leave and, a week later, informed his parents that he was going to visit friends. He took 300,000 rubles [$3,190] in cash with him and then disappeared. Law enforcement agencies discovered that on the day of his escape, Anton purchased a train ticket to Minsk, from where he flew to Yerevan.

Victoria Dolganova, the widow of Sergey Dolganov, a resident of Chelyabinsk who was killed in the war, has been grappling with bureaucratic hurdles for seven months to claim the payments of 9 million rubles [$96,310] as stipulated by the law. Despite her appeals to the unit headquarters, the regional draft office, the Military Prosecutor's Office, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, and various officials, she has encountered "dismissive responses" everywhere.

The mother of the killed mobilized soldier, Viktor Petrov, from the city of Irkutsk, is suing the commander of his military unit. The mother is demanding the letter from the commander to the head of Sosnovka village in the Irkutsk region be declared unlawful. In the letter, the commander alleges that Petrov regularly consumed alcoholic beverages (including dissolving dry fuel tablets in water), before he was found hanged. The woman suspects that her son's death may have occurred due to the actions of the military police rather than the reasons stated in the letter.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

In the Zaporizhzhia region, the commander of the Storm-Gladiator unit (formerly known as the Storm-Z unit) and his deputy have been arrested on charges of murdering two of their subordinates. On Sept. 18, the bodies of two shot service members of the 503rd regiment were discovered at a bus stop in the village of Zelenyi Yar: 60-year-old Shakir A., who had a previous conviction for drug-related offenses, and 57-year-old Andrey L. who had been convicted for theft, robbery, burglary and illegal arms trafficking. On Oct. 24, 39-year-old company commander Aleksandr O. from the Tyumen region, previously convicted of theft, robbery and burglary, was arrested alongside his deputy, 29-year-old Magomed M. from Russia's constituent Republic of Dagestan, who also has previous criminal records for burglary and robbery.

Russian law enforcement authorities have launched a criminal case concerning an act of terror and the storage of explosives. This case follows a car explosion in the Ukrainian city of Berdiansk, which is under Russian occupation. Preliminary findings indicate that a bomb was placed under the driver's seat of a vehicle driven by Maksim Frolov, a 33-year-old serviceman of the 36th Army, leading to his death.

In Dagestan, a military serviceman from Chechnya is being sought. On Oct. 24, traffic police officers attempted to stop his vehicle, but he ignored their demands and struck an inspector. Following this, he rammed the police vehicle and fled the scene. Later, the serviceman's car was found, and he was declared wanted, facing criminal charges for assaulting a government official.

In Tyumen, a participant in the war with Ukraine assaulted a musician, causing a broken nose and thumb. The victim believes the conflict arose from the soldier's dislike of his appearance, while the attacker claims that it began after he stumbled, and the musician allegedly laughed, taunted him and used pepper spray. A court will soon hold a hearing on the fight, after which the serviceman will return to the combat zone.

A military court in Irkutsk has sentenced Corporal Nikolay Karpov to five years in a penal colony for going AWOL. According to the court, Karpov left his unit on April 18, 2023, and was detained by the police on June 20.

Additionally, in Stavropol, a contract soldier whose name remains undisclosed has been sentenced to six and a half years in a penal colony for going AWOL. According to the court, the serviceman has been absent from his unit since June 21, 2022. However, on April 15, 2023, he voluntarily reported to the law enforcement for unknown reasons, but the military commandant's office detained him only on July 31.

The 35th Garrison Military Court sentenced two servicemen, whose names have not been disclosed, to penal settlements for refusing to fight against Ukraine. One of them received a sentence of two years and two months in a penal settlement, and his fellow soldier received a sentence of two and a half years for a similar case.

A student of the Chita Medical Academy took an academic leave to go to war in Ukraine but, after being wounded, attempted to revoke the decision for mobilization. He justified his position by referring to the president's decree regarding the right to draft deferment for students. However, the court rejected the lawsuit, stating that by voluntarily submitting a conscription report, the plaintiff "voluntarily waived the right to deferment granted to him."

A case of draft evasion may be initiated against Nazifkhon Babaev, a 30-year-old native of Tajikistan. According to investigators, Babaev became a Russian citizen in 2020 but did not register for military service. He could face up to two years of imprisonment.

In Sterlitamak, someone drew a cross and the number "200" on the car of the military commissar Maksim Nemchenko. An insider, who is close to those involved, explained to the Astra Telegram channel, "Friends had a son killed in the "special military operation." The military commissar is involved. This is an act of revenge." The police are currently searching for the perpetrators.

A serviceman from Pskov was awarded 100,000 rubles [$1,070] as compensation because the Ministry of Defense stamped his documents with "unwillingness to fight in Ukraine." The court recognized that soldier Aleksandr Kostin suffered moral damage.

In the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region–Yugra [Russia's federal subject], a Ukrainian native has been detained on charges of treason. She is accused of participating in a campaign in support of one of the "pro-Ukrainian terrorist organizations." The specific organization that the Federal Security Service (FSB) considers "terrorist" is not specified.

The Supreme Court of Republic of North Ossetia–Alania [Russia's constituent republic] has sentenced Savely Frolov from the Moscow region to six years in a maximum security penal colony under the charge of preparing to commit high treason. According to investigators, he attempted to leave Russia for Georgia and then enter Ukraine to join the "Freedom of Russia Legion." Frolov was detained in October 2022 on the border with Georgia for "using offensive language in public."

The Mozhem Ob'yasnit Telegram channel discovered that the war has led to an acute increase in domestic crime. In 2023, the number of people convicted of assault increased by 2.5 times and the number of sentences for sexualized violence increased by 1.5 times. The surge in domestic aggression may be related to post-traumatic stress disorder among the tens of thousands who have returned from the war.


The United Russia party [Putin’s ruling party] has launched the "Warmth from Home" campaign to support participants in the war with Ukraine in 28 regions of the country. As part of this campaign, pupils from a residential school for hearing-impaired children in Abakan were involved in the production of trench candles.


The family of a resident of Kabansky district in Buryatia [Russia's constituent republic], who participated in the "special military operation" and was mistakenly declared dead, received almost 6 million rubles [$64,210] as compensation. It turned out that in 2019, the man had been sentenced to 15 years on "serious charges."

Residents of the Nizhny Novgorod region are promised a two-fold increase in their salaries during business trips to the occupied territories of Ukraine.

Researchers from the European University Institute in Florence concluded that more than 15 percent of those who left Russia following the invasion of Ukraine may have returned. Some came back permanently, while others returned to finalize personal matters. The exact number of participants in the study is not specified.


Meduza [international Russian-language online media outlet] shares the story of a girl and her brother who went to war as a volunteer fighter in the spring of 2022. He was seriously injured near Kherson and tried to leave the service, but due to mobilization, he was returned to his unit. Upon his second return from the war, he became aggressive and killed his grandmother in the spring of 2023. The Novaya Gazeta Europe [European edition of the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta] presents the biography of Aleksandr Raspravin, a Wagner Group mercenary, who killed his own grandfather 13 years ago and, upon his release, beat his drinking companion to death. Recently, Raspravin was invited to a patriotic meeting with seventh-graders.

The Vyorstka media outlet interviewed two servicemen who left Russia because they did not want to participate in the war. Human rights activists reported a significant increase in the number of requests from Russian soldiers seeking to desert the army in the fall of 2023.