mobilization briefs
November 1, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Oct. 30-31, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

The State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] approved in the first reading a bill to hold members of volunteer units liable for the loss or destruction of weapons, vehicles and military property. The bill aims to expand the legal definition of a "serviceman" to include citizens serving in volunteer units, established under the Law on Defense.

Russian consulates are no longer accepting applications for acquiring or renouncing Russian citizenship. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the measure stems from the entry into force of a new version of the Law on Citizenship. The ministry promises to resume processing citizenship-related applications once all the rules and regulations have been brought into conformity with the new law.

The Legislative Assembly of Saint Petersburg approved in the first reading the 2024-2026 city budget proposal. Military expenditures are set to grow considerably from 1.5 billion rubles [$16 million] in 2023 to 5 billion rubles [$53.6 million] in 2024. The proposal also includes plans to provide housing for the families of 268 participants of the war against Ukraine. Meanwhile, Governor of Saint Petersburg Alexander Beglov denied that the city is hiding how much it is spending on the reconstruction of Mariupol and the "special military operation." According to him, anyone can access the corresponding documents, provided they obtain the necessary clearance, since the spending on these items is classified.

In Crimea, Russian authorities paid 1.4 billion rubles [$15 million] to participants of the war against Ukraine. According to Olga Kovitidi, who represents Crimea in the Federation Council [upper house of the Federal Assembly of Russia], 78 million rubles [$836,460] of the total sum went to the wounded.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

The Wagner Group is set to resume recruitment of mercenaries in the Perm region [Russia’s federal subject]. This information was reported in the Prikamskiye Vityazi Telegram channel associated with the group. The message specifies that the Wagnerites' base is being built from scratch in the "special military operation" zone, and the mercenaries will reportedly become part of Rosgvardia [the Russian National Guard]. Allegedly, they will be led by Pavel, the son of Prigozhin.

The Minister of Regional Security of the Vladimir region, Sergey Poluzin, visited the Belgorod and Kursk regions. One of his tasks was to gather information about the organization of territorial defense forces in these regions. This may indicate the region's plans to establish its own territorial defense forces, following the example of the Belgorod, Kursk, Oryol, Pskov, and Voronezh regions.

Bailiffs recommended that a mother of two children from Krasnoyarsk go to war with Ukraine to pay off her 800,000 ruble [$8,550] debt. The woman had taken out a loan that she couldn't repay, so she was offered the option of enlisting in the military under a contract to settle the debt. She told reporters that she has no plans to enter into such a contract.

In the town of Kotelniki near Moscow, a raid was conducted at the Wildberries warehouse to determine if there were any potential conscripts among the migrant workers. It is worth noting that recently, after Friday prayers, some worshippers from a mosque in Kotelniki were detained, and some of them were sent for military service.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters 

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Andrey Berdaliev from the Saratov region, Dmitry Frolov from the Irkutsk region, Grigory Sotnikov from Yaroslavl, and Mikhail Rusetsky from Sakhalin.

According to the Syerditaya Chuvashia [Angry Chuvashia] Telegram channel, on Oct. 29, the column of the 1st Battalion of the 1251st Motorized Rifle Regiment came under attack. Volunteer chats referred to by the channel reported about 120 wounded and killed and 10 burnt vehicles as a result of the strike. Journalists, citing a source from the frontline, report 19 deaths and 40 wounded, but there is currently no confirmation or denial of this information. A photo of a list of 26 wounded soldiers has also been published. According to the channel, the Atal volunteer battalion also suffered numerous casualties. The 7x7—Gorizontalnaya Rossiya [Horizontal Russia] news outlet contacted a resident of Chuvashia [Russia’s constituent republic] whose husband and brother serve in the 1251st Regiment. She said that, according to her husband, the number of casualties is less than what the volunteers reported, with the main damage occurring to the equipment. Chuvashia authorities have not yet commented on this information, but shortly after the publication, the military commissar of the republic Bakhtiyar Kholikov recorded a video threatening criminal prosecution for spreading "fake news."

Mobilized soldiers from the Urals have been unable to receive the promised 3 million rubles [$32,000] injury compensation for nine months. According to the rules, issuing a payment order requires obtaining confirmation that no prior payments have been made to the soldiers. However, as the units in which they served were disbanded several times and the soldiers were transferred to other military districts, obtaining such documents is not straightforward.

A resident of Khanty-Mansiysk [the administrative center of the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region–Yugra, Russia’s federal subject] Anastasia Morozova also complains about the lack of payments from the Ministry of Defense. As a paramedic, she signed a contract in 2022 and was wounded twice during her service. According to the woman, she has not received her salary and the compensation for the second injury.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

Authorities have released the names of two military service members detained yesterday on suspicion of murdering nine people in the Russian occupied town of Volnovakha. Anton Sopov, 21, and Stanislav Rau, 28, are Russian contract soldiers serving in the 155th Guards Naval Infantry Brigade based in the Primorsky region. The detainees are being interrogated. Sopov and Rau have admitted that they, allegedly, only wanted to avenge an insult directed to them by the men. According to them, they "killed women and children by accident since they could not distinguish the victims in the darkness." The motive of the murder appears to be a personal conflict. As the VChK-OGPU Telegram channel points out, the killers have been regarded as model soldiers, were previously featured in a television story, and were part of the entourage of Kamchatka region Governor Vladimir Solodov during his visit to the combat zone.

The Irkutsk Garrison Military Court sentenced Sergeant Oleg Kustov to five and a half years in a penal colony for going AWOL. Kustov failed to report to service on Jan. 2, 2023. On March 13, he appeared at a military commissariat [enlistment office] where he received orders to report to his unit. However, he did not immediately head there and only reported to the commandant's office on April 10.

Private Vladimir Danovsky has been sentenced for the same offense to three and a half years in a penal colony and a 200,000 ruble [$2,200] fine by the Ulan-Ude Garrison Military Court. On June 5, 2023, he failed to report to duty and on July 2, 2023, he was detained by police.

A contract soldier who refused to serve in the "special military operation" zone is being sought for going AWOL in the city of Cheboksary. According to wanted posters spotted throughout the city, the private abandoned his unit’s temporary home base in the town of Alexeyevka in the Belgorod region and his current whereabouts are unknown.

In Moscow, a local police officer complained about a conscript. The officer delivered a draft notice to the young man, but he refused to accept it. The police officer tried to persuade the conscript, but in response, the young man expressed his attitude to what was happening, stating that "the state is a terrorist." Now, the conscript is under investigation, and he could face criminal charges.

Human rights activists from the Voyennye Advokaty [Military Lawyers] Telegram channel discovered that 99.7% of criminal cases related to draft evasion result in fines. In the first half of 2023, courts reviewed 434 criminal cases related to evasion of statutory military service: two persons were acquitted, and proceedings were terminated for non-rehabilitating reasons in 19 cases. The lawyers also provided explanations about who can be prosecuted under this article, the valid reasons for non-appearance, and the possibility of case dismissal.

In the Tomsk region, law enforcement officers detained two hackers and opened criminal cases against them for treason. According to the Federal Security Service (FSB), the Tomsk hacker "committed attacks on Russian information infrastructure facilities in the interests of Ukrainian security forces," while a resident of Belovo in the Kemerovo region joined a Ukrainian cyber unit and "conducted computer attacks using malware on Russian information resources." This allegedly disrupted the operation of the country's critical infrastructure facilities. Both men have been arrested.

A native of the Tver region who fought in the Ukrainian territorial defense forces and was captured was accused of treason. The man served as the deputy head of the staff of one of the territorial defense forces units and was captured during a battle in the "LPR."

The Second Western District Military Court has sentenced Andrey Galchevsky, a Kaliningrad entrepreneur, to 11 years in a penal colony "for treason in the form of an attempt to join the International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine and incitement to murder the heads of military commissariats in Russia on social media." The man was detained back in October 2022.

The List of Terrorists and Extremists has been updated to include Ansagan Moldakhmetov, a citizen of Kazakhstan, who was sentenced to 13 years in a maximum security penal colony for setting fire to a military commissariat, and Oleg Berezin, an 18-year-old native of the Zabaykalsky region [Russia’s federal subject], who may have been detained on suspicion of calls for terrorism and extremism.


In Moscow, on Nov. 1-3, scheduled exercises of the Federal Protective Service will be held, during which "armored vehicles may be used." The main exercise stages will take place on the territory of the Government House, the complex of the president’s administration buildings, the Federation Council and the State Duma.

Russian banks granted more than 247,000 deferrals on loan agreements to participants in the war with Ukraine in the first year after mobilization. This is evidenced by data from the Central Bank, which Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] drew attention to. The total volume of loans that have been restructured since Sept. 21, 2022, amounted to 95.4 billion rubles [$1.02 billion]. According to Mediazona’s calculations, almost 30,000 new deferrals appear for the second consecutive quarter, which may indicate a steady emergence of new participants in the war.

The mayor of Sorsk in Khakassia [Russia’s constituent republic] has applied for a bonus equal to his four salaries, promising to send all the money to the war participants.


Meduza [international Russian-language online media outlet] and Vazhnyye Istorii [IStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet], have proven that Russian artists are obliged to support the war in Ukraine to continue working in the country. According to sources cited by Meduza, there is a so-called blacklist of actors, directors, and musicians in Russia. The investigation mentions artists who have agreed to cooperate with the authorities to continue performing in Russia.

Since the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, hospitals in Saint Petersburg have been crammed with wounded soldiers. Eyewitnesses have reported shortages of medical supplies, food and rehabilitation equipment. Journalists from the Bumaga [Paper] independent media outlet spoke with members of two volunteer organizations to understand what was happening in hospitals and why women are helping the wounded.