mobilization briefs
October 30, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Oct. 27-29, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

The Moscow branch of the Investigative Committee reports that 80 naturalized Russian citizens, who were born in Central Asia, were sent to perform their military service. Furthermore, it announces the initiation of 22 criminal cases for draft evasion, adding that its investigators are reviewing the files of potential conscripts in collaboration with Moscow draft offices, in order to "identify individuals, who are evading military service." Finally, it stresses that Russian citizenship becomes invalid if a citizen commits certain crimes, including "evading military or alternative civilian service." Meanwhile, Federal Security Service (FSB) and Rosgvardia [the Russian National Guard] officers conducted a raid at the airport in Norilsk and detained approximately 40 migrants, some of whom were charged with military registration violations. In recent months, law enforcement officers have conducted numerous raids across the country, looking for naturalized citizens, who fail to register for military service.

In Moscow, a conscript escaped on his way to the military unit, where he was expected to perform his statutory military service. He was part of a group of conscripts, who arrived at the Paveletsky train station last Friday evening. The young man suddenly left the formation and outran his pursuers. A search for the fugitive is underway.

The Kremlin-aligned news outlet Mash claims that more than 1,500 individuals convicted of petty crimes in the Moscow region signed contracts with the Ministry of Defense to fight in the war against Ukraine, in lieu of serving a prison sentence or a probation period. Allegedly, the first ones to enlist have already completed their contract term and received amnesty. Of those, 31 continue to serve in the military.

According to the authorities of Chechnya [Russia's constituent republic], 170 former mercenaries of the Wagner Group have joined the Akhmat unit. This was reaffirmed by the Chechen public television and radio broadcasting company "Grozny" and also acknowledged by the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. However, there are no independent reports confirming this fact; moreover, a few Telegram channels linked to the Wagner Group deny this allegation. Earlier, some reports emerged claiming that the Wagner members were being recruited into the newly formed unit of Rosgvardia [the Russian National Guard].

A red spray-painted graffiti reading "Cargo 200" [KIA] was found on the car of the Ufa City Council member Yulay Muratov. Earlier, the car belonging to the local military commissar was found vandalized in the same manner. As of now, the perpetrators have not been found.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Anatoly Koshkin from the Lipetsk region.

Based on open sources, Dovod [independent Russian media outlet] has been able to identify at least 332 residents of the Vladimir region killed since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The death toll is already four times higher than the number of casualties the region had sustained over the ten years of war in Afghanistan (78). Meanwhile, the Lyudi Baikala [People of Baikal] independent media outlet has confirmed deaths of 1096 citizens of Buryatia [Russia's constituent republic] and 743 residents of the Irkutsk region. These calculations slightly differ from findings released by Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] and the BBC News Russian, who have verified deaths of at least 284 residents of the Vladimir region, 982 residents of Buryatia and 694 residents of the Irkutsk region.

Dozens of Russian soldiers are awaiting departure from the Pogonovo training range in the Voronezh region. There, "refusenik" soldiers are being kept away from their relatives, while psychologists and prosecutors work to convince them to return to the war. Some soldiers from the 15th Tank Regiment, who were transferred from the training range to the Novoazovsk area for an assault earlier this week, have now been moved to the city of Donetsk. Their current status and situation remain unknown. Over the past week, the Astra Telegram channel has provided detailed coverage of the situation with the "refuseniks."

It has become known that another serviceman is being held in an illegal basement in the village of Zaitseve within the territory of the "LPR." The information was reported to Astra by the soldier's spouse. The man, who lost his leg during the war in Chechnya, went to the front with his mobilized son. In one of the battles, he suffered serious injuries but refused medical treatment. After some time following his refusal to participate in another assault, he was sent to a detention facility in the village of Rozsypne and later transferred to Zaitseve. The soldier's wife demands that the command release her husband from Rozsypne and demobilize him due to his health condition.

It has also been revealed that approximately 20-30 servicemen are being held in a basement in the town of Kadiivka. Many of these men are wounded, and some have reached the end of their contracts due to their age. Periodically, some are dispatched to the frontlines, and new servicemen are brought in to take their place. Among those detained is Aleksey Danilko, a resident of the city of Lyubertsy near Moscow, who has been there since 2022. A relative of Danilko revealed that in April 2022, he went to the "LPR," where he was "apprehended at gunpoint" and forced to sign a contract with the "DPR People's Militia" while not having signed a contract with the Russian Armed Forces. In July 2022, Danilko triggered a mine in the town of Soledar, and he has not received any medical treatment since. Currently, the serviceman with a shattered leg is being held in a basement, in a so-called "cell," and is released from there once a week.

Two ex-convicts, serving as contract soldiers, have been held in an illegal basement in Zaitseve for about 20 days. Their contracts are nearing expiration, and there are attempts to transfer them to the 25th Brigade, known as the "suicide brigade." According to the wife of one of the ex-convicts, extortion charges were fabricated against the soldiers following a conflict with a higher-ranking officer. The soldiers are also facing threats due to their relatives' communication with Astra journalists.

Mobilized soldier Ivan B. from the Tver region, serving in the 1007th Regiment, came under attack along with his fellow soldiers in the Zaporizhzhia region. Some survivors of the attack were captured, and Ivan along with a few of his fellow soldiers managed "to return to their own." Ivan was subsequently sent to a commandant's office, accused of leaving his position, and declared a deserter. Later, he was sent back to the forward positions, from where he ended up in the hospital, where he learned that he was "not listed anywhere." He is currently under medical treatment, but his status remains unclear. The man also reports threats from the command.

The mother of a mobilized soldier from the Belgorod region cannot obtain confirmation of her son's death. He died four months ago, but the command did not arrange for the evacuation of his body from the battlefield. The draft office does not acknowledge the man's death and suggests that the elderly woman find his commander herself. The woman assumes that the command does not want to deal with the situation because of potential payments.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

In the occupied town of Volnovakha, on either Oct. 27 or 28, nine people, including two children, were reportedly murdered. According to preliminary information, those gathered were celebrating a birthday, but the motives and circumstances of the crime are still unknown. A relative of the victims, citing the police, said that the suspects were "military on motorcycles." Neighbors and relatives of the victims claim that a Russian serviceman committed the crime. According to an acquaintance of the family, the serviceman had a dispute with one of the residents who was subsequently killed. High-ranking military personnel quickly arrived at the scene and ordered neighbors to remain silent. The Investigative Committee of Russia has announced the initiation of a criminal case on the murder of two or more people, including minors, under the article "Murder."

In Ulan-Ude, Buryatia, the Garrison Military Court sentenced a mobilized soldier to one and a half years of probation for going AWOL. The man was wounded and, after receiving medical treatment in a hospital, requested permission from his command for further hospitalization due to an "unremoved shrapnel." He subsequently went home to his wife. Despite his commander's authorization, he was later declared wanted.

The Russian Investigative Committee initiated a criminal case under an article pertaining to an act of terror against Vitaly Alekseyev, the chief inspector for Siberian electronic customs. According to investigators, Alekseyev was allegedly planning to throw a few bottles of flammable liquid at the United Russia [Putin's ruling party] office in Krasnoyarsk. His detention was linked to the alleged distribution of leaflets from the "Freedom of Russia Legion" in Krasnoyarsk.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs in Novosibirsk is currently investigating Dmitry Bolotsky, who oversaw fundraising for the rehabilitation of Wagner Group mercenaries. When asked for help in raising funds for an operation for a mercenary in August, Bolotsky claimed that he did not have access to the account and subsequently ceased communication. A review of bank statements revealed that Bolotsky had withdrawn more than 500,000 rubles [$5,300] from the account. Law enforcement agencies have reportedly opened a criminal case of fraud.

14-year-old Valery Zaitsev from the Khabarovsk region, who on Oct. 11 was accused of "training for terrorist activities" on Oct. 11, is currently in pre-trial detention. According to the investigators, Zaitsev assisted his adult friend Nikita, who is a defendant in a criminal case about incitement to terrorist activities. Zaitsev's family and friends deny that he supported the Azov Regiment and hope that he will be released due to his status as a minor and his tuberculosis condition.


Teachers from the city of Stary Oskol, Belgorod region, are dissatisfied with the fundraising efforts for the "special military operation." They are particularly concerned about the lack of financial reporting, unclear collection goals, and a lack of transparency. Local officials have explained that these donations are voluntary and are being collected as part of a "marathon to help the participants of the special military operation."


In Kazan, the House of the Young Tank Crewman has been opened, where children will be prepared for admission to military educational institutions.


A memorial to the Ukrainian soldiers killed in action, designed by a schoolgirl, has been constructed in the town of Borzya, Zabaykalsky region [Russia’s federal subject]. The installation cost 11,2 million rubles [$119,000] with the funds coming from a federal subsidy to the Zabaykalsky region.

Residents of the town of Valuiki in the Belgorod region are complaining about the piles of trash left behind by Russian soldiers. In June 2022, residents of the border village of Golovchino in the Belgorod region had to conduct a cleanup on the site where the soldiers had been stationed.