mobilization briefs
October 28, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Oct. 26-27, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

The federal government introduced a bill into the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia], which would require relatives of soldiers missing in action to provide DNA samples. The explanatory note states that the measure is needed because of the large number of unidentified bodies.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

A message posted in the Nadezhnyi Tyl [Reliable Rear] Telegram channel invited former Wagner Group mercenaries to sign a contract with a newly formed unit of Rosgvardia [the Russian National Guard]. Two independent Russian media outlets, Sirena and Vazhnyye Istorii [iStories], took note of the message. It was later deleted, but a snapshot remains accessible. In a reply to Vazhnyye Istorii, the channel administrator clarified that the post is being reworked with further details. The offer also extends to individuals who have not served in the army or fought in Ukraine, as well as people with HIV or Hepatitis. It promises candidates "a full set of social benefits and compensation, recognition of time served, state awards and everything else that regular servicemen are entitled to." The contract duration would be six months, while the monthly salary would range from 240,000 to 380,000 rubles [$2,548-4,034].

Governor of Bashkortostan Radiy Khabirov announced that one more battalion composed of volunteer fighters departed for war. It is named after Salawat Yulayev [Bashkir national hero]. Khabirov presented the unit its battle flag after the completion of joint combat training exercises in the Nizhny Novgorod region.

The Yaroslavl mayor’s office reported that nine employees of municipal enterprises took up a recently announced offer, which provides an extra 100,000 ruble [$1,062] bonus for signing a contract with the Ministry of Defense. One of the employees had just started to work as a laborer, only to enlist straight away.

The Voyennye Advokaty [Military Lawyers] Telegram channel explains the responsibilities and liabilities imposed on employers after the amendments come into effect, significantly increasing fines for draft dodging and failure to fulfill military registration duties.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Yevgeny Mikhailov from the Orenburg region, Aleksey Andreev from the Tula region, Aleksey Rozhkov from the Tyumen region, Danil Krapivin from the Novosibirsk region, Aleksandr Shakhov from the Krasnoyarsk region, and Denis Konkov and Vadim Sazonov from the Volgograd region.

One serviceman was killed, and two others were wounded in an explosion caused by an unidentified explosive device in the Bryansk region.

The Astra Telegram channel has confirmed the presence of 29 refusenik soldiers at the Pogonovo training range near the city of Voronezh (more about their story here). To verify this information, the chief editor of the publication, Anastasia Chumakova, posed as an employee of the Prosecutor General's Office and called the training ground's headquarters. The serviceman who answered the call stated that most of the refuseniks had been sent to the city of Rostov, but 29 individuals remained and were dealing with psychologists and staff from the prosecutor's office at the moment. An attorney representing some of the refuseniks also confirmed that his clients are at the training range. Additionally, Astra has obtained complaints from the soldiers' relatives submitted to law enforcement agencies and an attorney's complaint to the Commissioner for Human Rights, Tatiana Moskalkova. It is worth noting that on Oct. 27, several pro-government media outlets released "refutations" of the information regarding the refusenik soldiers at the training range.

Conscript Ilya Mochalin, who was killed on Oct.10 during an attack on the border area of the Bryansk region, has been refused the status of a "special military operation" participant, although he was posthumously awarded the Order of Courage. Consequently, Mochalin's family will not receive the payments due in case of a war participant’s death.

A mobilized resident of Volgograd complains that the command ignores his health problems acquired during the war. The man needs spinal surgery, but they are sending him back to Ukraine. According to the soldier, he has been labeled a refusenik and is threatened with a criminal case. According to his lawyer, there is an unofficial order in the military unit not to release soldiers despite their diagnoses.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

Having returned from the war, a 26-year-old former convict brutally assaulted, robbed, and raped a 50-year-old resident of Ulan-Ude. The assailant has been detained and is currently in pre-trial detention, claiming that he doesn't remember anything due to a shrapnel wound to the head sustained during the war. The man had previously been convicted multiple times for serious offenses.

A 29-year-old ex-convict, currently serving in the Russian Armed Forces, raped a 31-year-old woman in Volgograd. The man was detained, and it was discovered that he was already under administrative supervision, having just recently been released from a colony, where he had served two sentences for theft.

Private Nikita Fofontsev from the Krasnoyarsk region was sentenced to five years in a penal settlement for going AWOL. The young man was dissatisfied with the command and left his duty station in April 2023, and at the end of May he voluntarily came to the military commandant’s office.

The garrison courts in the Southern Military District have recently issued a number of verdicts against soldiers accused of going AWOL:

  • Soldier Murat Bessimbaev received a one-year probationary sentence. After undergoing rehabilitation, he didn't return to his unit and was absent from service from April 24 to May 10.
  • Mobilized soldier Khachim Zagashtokov from Kabardino-Balkaria [Russia’s constituent republic], previously convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol, received one year in a penal colony for going AWOL. He was absent from service on April 3-24.
  • Contract soldier Eduard Mirzoev was sentenced to three years in a penal colony for going AWOL for over three months.
  • Mobilized soldier Bayramali Turlalov was sentenced to five years in a penal colony. According to prosecutors, he went AWOL for over a month.
  • Contract soldier Osman Tokaev was sentenced to five and a half years in a penal colony. He went AWOL for a month.

Law enforcers continue to detain migrants who have recently acquired Russian citizenship and are evading military service. Thus, investigators are preparing to open a criminal case against two natives of foreign countries: 21-year-old Muhammadjon Khodov and 22-year-old Jasurbek Todzhiboev, who received draft notices but did not show up at the military commissariat [enlistment office]. They could face up to two years in prison under the article on evasion of military service.

The court sentenced 9-year-old activist Ilya Podkamenny from Irkutsk to 12 years in a maximum security penal colony. He had tried to stop a train using wire and sheets with the inscriptions "Death to the Katsaps! (a derogatory name for Russians)" and "Freedom for Siberia!" Podkamenny was found guilty of five criminal charges.

Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] discovered a treason case that had not been publicly disclosed before. Proceedings were held in the Moscow City Court regarding the case of Akhajon Zokhidov, accused of treason and preparing for smuggling. He was arrested on Sept. 12, 2022.

Two suspects in the arson of a courthouse in the village of Vanino, Khabarovsk region, on Oct. 14, 2023 were detained. Criminal proceedings were initiated for the intentional destruction of property by arson and obstructing the administration of justice.

The Federal Security Service (FSB) reported the arrest of administrators of two local Telegram channels in occupied Melitopol. One of them was killed during the arrest. This incident occurred in August, but the video was only published on Oct. 27. Criminal proceedings were initiated for incitement to terrorist activities. According to the Vyorstka media outlet calculations, at least 89 residents of the occupied territories have been added to the "terrorists and extremists" list since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


Aleksey Kurnosov, the Mayor of Belovo located in the Kemerovo region, recently delivered several trucks filled with supplies and food, as well as an automobile, to Donetsk. Meanwhile, in Kaluga, donation terminals have been set up to collect contributions for the war effort.


War veteran Igor Zuev, who participated in the war against Ukraine, visited a school in Irkutsk where he met with students. Zuev had previously spoken at the unveiling of a memorial dedicated to fallen members of the Wagner Group in Irkutsk. In the village of Tolpukhovo in the Vladimir region, a "lesson of courage" was held, during which graduates who had served in the war with Ukraine were invited to share their experiences. In a Penza school, former members of the Wagner Group were invited to meet with students. One of the visitors shared had the same name as an individual who had served time in prison for murder.


Demographer Alexey Raksha told the Agentstvo.Novosti [Agency News] Telegram channel that about half of Russians who fled the country following the invasion of Ukraine and mobilization returned. According to Raksha, a total of up to 750,000 people left the country in 2022. It is worth noting that 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.


The Sibir.Realii media outlet [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] tells the stories of former murderers and rapists who, without serving their sentences, signed contracts with the Wagner Group and have recently returned to their hometowns.

The Lyudi Baikala [People of Baikal] independent media outlet discusses the situation in a village in Buryatia [Russia's constituent republic], addressing what happens when ex-convicts with serious criminal records return from the war in Ukraine and how financial difficulties force local residents to go to war.