mobilization briefs
September 19, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Sept. 17-18, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

The federal government decided to support a bill, which would extend the application of sections of the criminal code covering crimes against military service to volunteer fighters. The bill’s author is Andrey Kartapolov, Chairman of the Defense Committee of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia]. If passed, volunteer fighters might face criminal charges for desertion, going AWOL, surrendering voluntarily and damaging or losing military property, similarly to regular servicemen.

During a city council discussion of the fall regular conscription campaign, Governor of Saint Petersburg Alexander Beglov called for close monitoring of migrants, who have been granted Russian citizenship to ensure they register for military service without delay. For his part, member of the State Duma Oleg Nilov urged drafting traffic rules violators into service. Beglov and Nilov are planning to amend the legislation accordingly.

Defending a bill which would make it illegal to terminate the employment of widows of Ukraine war participants, authors Igor Antropenko and Dmitry Perminov argued that the changes would "promote social stability, uphold children’s rights and facilitate a return to normalcy after the loss of a breadwinner."

Eduard Sharafiev, Member of the State Council of Russia's constituent Republic of Tatarstan, further elaborated on his earlier statement that convicts will need to serve until the end of the war with Ukraine. Speaking with the Govorit NeMoskva Telegram channel, he explained that the Ministry of Defense will not be issuing any additional orders on the matter. Instead, "convicts are simply signing one-year contracts with the Ministry of Defense from now on." At the end of the year of service, the contract will be renewed automatically. Sharafiev also asserted that volunteer fighters can still allegedly conclude six-months contracts.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

Andrey Kartapolov stated during this year’s fall regular conscription campaign, conscripts will not be fined for ignoring an electronic draft notice if they haven't received a paper draft notice. According to him, for now, the primary method of notification will continue to be paper draft notices. Kartapolov clarified that the law on the equal status of draft notices would only come into force on Jan. 1, 2024. However, in reality, the law, signed by Putin on April 14, 2023, came into force on the day of its official publication.

Marat Urmansov, acting military commissar of Saint Petersburg, has announced that if a conscript fails to appear at the draft office within 20 days from receiving a draft notice, they will be prohibited from leaving Russia. Conscripts who have not received a draft notice during the regular conscription period and do not hold a valid draft deferral are required to personally report to the draft office for a military registry data check-up within a two-week period from the start of the next regular conscription campaign.

In the city of Izhevsk, the capital of Russia's constituent Republic of Udmurtia, several enterprises and institutions are recruiting specialists in mobilization work, civil defense, and emergency situations. Similar vacancies have already been opened in several regions of Russia.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

In the Kursk region, a contract serviceman committed suicide. According to the Astra Telegram channel, a 25-year-old commander of an anti-aircraft missile platoon of the 1st Tank Regiment shot himself while sitting in his car. He had left the military unit the day before.

The man who detonated a stun grenade in front of an apartment building in the city of Kazan, the capital of Russia's constituent Republic of Tatarstan, has been identified as Kirill Shulga, a 37-year-old soldier serving in the 810th Naval Infantry Unit. He had a prior criminal record, including convictions for robbery, fraud and driving under the influence of alcohol. His most recent conviction was for robbery in 2023. He was ordered to be under administrative supervision until 2025, which did not prevent him from enlisting in military service. A criminal case has been opened against him on charges of hooliganism. Shulga has been detained and is currently held in one of the military units in Kazan. The grenades found in his possession turned out to be airsoft.

In the town of Budyonnovsk, Stavropol region, a serviceman detonated a grenade near a residential building. Artyom Milokhov, a 27-year-old soldier of the 487th Helicopter Regiment, was involved in a conflict during which he took out a hand grenade from his pocket and threw it directly at his opponents. Four men were injured and hospitalized with multiple shrapnel wounds; they are now all in stable condition. Milokhov immediately fled the scene, but was later detained.

The Vladikavkaz Garrison Military Court has, for the first time, found a service woman guilty of evading mobilization and sentenced her to six years in a penal colony with a deferral of the sentence execution until 2032 due to her having a minor child. While pregnant, she failed to report to the military authorities in a timely manner, despite having previously sought a recommendation for temporary exemption from military service from the medical unit. Nevertheless, her failure to report to the military authorities resulted in criminal prosecution.

On the website of the Vladimir Garrison Military Court, they have ceased publishing verdicts related to going AWOL. According to the latest available data, the court issued 15 guilty verdicts under this charge in August 2023. By comparison, there were six verdicts in 2022 and only two in 2021.

In Rostov-on-Don, law enforcement officers detained a 19-year-old man suspected of attempting to set fire to a military commissariat [enlistment office]. According to the video of the arrest, several bottles of a burning mixture, a "contract" with the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and an application to join the "Freedom of Russia Legion" were found in his backpack. The Baza Telegram channel claims that the young man's name is Viktor Rudnev. Another 19-year-old man in Rostov-on-Don was also reportedly detained for allegedly attempting to set fire to a military commissariat. It is reported that Molotov cocktails were seized from him during the arrest, and he was coordinated by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).

Two young men were detained in Saint Petersburg, where they allegedly had set fire to a relay cabinet on the railway in the Primorsky district of the city. According to law enforcement officers, they were recruited by "Ukrainian handlers" when they were buying drugs on the dark web. Criminal cases for “aiding terrorist activities” have been initiated against the detainees.

In Perm, the Federal Security Service (FSB) detained an 18-year-old college student Kirill Zamaleev, who allegedly prepared Molotov cocktails at home to throw at local military commissariats. The detainee is charged with an attempted act of terror, which carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

The court in the Orenburg region has postponed the execution of the sentence for a child support defaulter because he enlisted in the military. In March of this year, the man was convicted under the article regarding non-payment of child support without valid reasons, and he was sentenced to six months of correctional labor with 5% of his income going to the state. The convicted individual submitted a request for a suspension of the sentence as he had signed a contract with the Ministry of Defense to be deployed to the frontline. The court granted a suspension of the sentence for "a period not exceeding six months."


Journalists from the Mozhem Ob'yasnit [We can explain] Telegram channel have learned that authorities plan to monitor the mental health of returning frontline soldiers through comprehensive screening examinations. For this purpose, they are recruiting 2,000 psychologists, and they intend to complete their training by the end of September. The Defenders of the Fatherland Fund is involved in this project, which is led by Vladimir Putin's niece, Anna Tsivilyova.


Oleg Smolin, Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Science and Education, spoke out against studying the "special military operation" in school, since its "objective assessment can only be given after its completion."

The Samara authorities have approved a plan for preparing citizens for military service. It will include both military training for schoolchildren and college students, as well as military-patriotic education for youth.


Karelia [Russia’s constituent republic] will allocate budget funds to dispatch a team of utility workers to the Zaporizhzhia region. At the same time, residents of the border town of Suoyarvi complain about the lack of heating in residential buildings as well as in kindergartens, schools and medical facilities.

Wounded servicemen undergoing treatment at a Novocherkassk hospital complained about the poor condition of shower units there.

Teachers of Fundamentals of Life Safety and PE in colleges under the Ministry of Education of Novosibirsk are undergoing "voluntary" (as local authorities officially call it) military training due to the inclusion of the basic military training course in the educational program.

The Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Russian Federation has placed an order for the procurement of 757,305 combat veteran certificates and 230,000 “Family member of deceased soldier” certificates. The Vyorstka media outlet discovered this information on the government procurement contracts portal. In total, during the war, the Ministry of Labor has ordered 936,052 certificates for combat veterans. These figures can indirectly indicate the approximate number of Russian soldiers involved in combat and those who have been killed.


The Vyorstka media outlet has published a report on the possibility of a new wave of mobilization. According to the publication, both regional authorities and draft offices deny any preparations for mobilization. One of the signs of unpreparedness for mobilization is attributed to the low level of digitalization in draft offices. Additionally, the upcoming presidential elections could be a reason to postpone mobilization in the coming months. Mobilization has become the most unpopular decision of the authorities since the beginning of the war. The Kremlin does not want to risk the president's approval ratings. However, it is impossible to completely rule out the possibility of mobilization; everything will depend on the situation on the frontlines.

The Govorit NeMoskva Telegram channel spoke with the mother of a conscript soldier, one of the 18 military personnel who went missing following an explosion at an ammunition storage facility in Crimea. The woman traveled to Crimea to search for her son but without success. Now she plans to go to Moscow and demand a meeting with Putin.

BBC News Russian tells the story of the Abramov family from Krasnodar. Aleksey Abramov, 39, has a spinal injury and uses crutches to move around. Aleksey was mobilized on September 22, 2022, but his wife managed to bring him back from the combat zone during the winter. However, two weeks ago, he was given a travel authorization to the frontline. We have repeatedly reported on his case in our summaries.