mobilization briefs
September 20, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Sept. 18-19, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

In May 2023, Maksut Shadayev, Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media, stated that the unified register of Russians subject to military service would see initial use during the regular conscription campaign this fall. Now, his deputy Oleg Kachanov is saying that the registry will become fully operational only in 2025, because its creation requires investing into infrastructure, communication channels and means to secure them.

Moscow police have been ordered to search for people who are not registered for military service. The primary focus appears to be recently naturalized citizens. Patrolling officers are to deliver anyone without a military service registration stamp in their passport to a police station. There, the district police officer will issue a referral to a draft office and forward the citizen’s data to it to ensure they are added to military rolls.

The number of vacancies for mobilization and military registration specialists continues to increase. Advertisements for such positions appeared a year ago, shortly after "partial" mobilization was declared. While there was a surge in April, currently, there are more job openings in this field than at any point in the past. The and Govorit NeMoskva media outlets have compiled reports on the number of open positions and salaries on offer by region.

Vazhnyye Istorii [IStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet] uncovered that the "face" of the campaign to recruit volunteer fighters in the Leningrad region is a former member of a criminal group. In 2011, Igor Shalonin was sentenced to eight years in a maximum security penal colony for murder, robbery, banditry, illegal possession of weapons and other crimes. At the start of the full-scale invasion, however, he went to fight in Ukraine. In August 2023, he became the first participant of the "special military operation" to be awarded a land plot in the Leningrad region.

Valery Serov, mayor of the town of Pechora in Russia’s constituent republic of Komi, has gone to the war in Ukraine. The Pechora District Council approved his six-month deployment to the frontline while allowing him to retain his position as the head of the municipality. Local politicians, however, link his departure to a corruption scandal that recently broke in the town.

The Udmurtia protiv korruptsii (Udmurtia against corruption) Telegram channel reports on the Ministry of Defense recruiting convicts to participate in the war. Representatives of the ministry visit penal colonies and offer inmates contracts, promising them a salary of 100,000 rubles [$1,025], parole during their service, and amnesty upon the war's conclusion. According to one of the convicts present at the meeting, fewer than 20 people agreed to sign the contract. However, in the spring of 2023, the Ministry of Defense allegedly used to recruit up to 50 convicts from a single colony, and the Wagner Group recruited as many as 150–200 in the fall of 2022.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Andrey Dubrovin from the Stavropol region, Oleg Khramkin from the Moscow region, and Yury Demin from Buryatia [Russia's constituent republic].

The Astra Telegram channel reports on another mobilized soldier who ended up in an illegal basement for refuseniks in the village of Zaitseve in the "LPR" due to his refusal to participate in assaults. In May, the soldier was wounded in the town of Bakhmut, but he did not receive proper medical treatment. He was deployed in a forest in the Svatove area within a company formed from wounded soldiers. After his refusal to participate in an assault, he was thrown into the basement in Zaitseve.

The wife of a former convict from the Krasnodar region, who was recruited by the Ministry of Defense for the war, has recorded a video address where she expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of action from both the Ministry of Defense and the command of her husband’s military unit. The husband was last in contact on June 11, and there has been no information about him ever since. The woman discovered that her husband may be in captivity, but when she asked the military to take action, they demanded evidence of his capture from her.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

The Astra Telegram channel identified the soldiers who died in the recent incident in the Voronezh region. In a private house in the town of Rossosh, a grenade has detonated, resulting in the immediate death of three people: Major Nikolay Kuznetsov, the deputy commander in charge of the armament department for the 11741th military unit, Major Yevgeny Tkach, the engineer battalion commander for the same military unit, and Private Aleksandr Semenchenko.

In the city of Volgograd, the trial of a police officer, who had beaten a child, causing bone fractures, has been halted. In November 2022, 14-year-old Sasha Kostin was mistaken for someone suspected of theft, detained, and assaulted at the police department. Kostin suffered a head injury, a fracture of the nasal bones, multiple bruises and other injuries. The Investigative Committee charged police officer Aleksey Topchiev with abuse of power. However, at the end of the summer of 2023, Kostin's mother discovered that the first court hearing was canceled since the accused had departed for the war in Ukraine.

The serviceman who threw a grenade at individuals in the town of Budyonnovsk, Stavropol region, is facing multiple criminal charges, including attempted murder, an attempt on the life of a law enforcement officer and illegal possession of firearms. Additionally, it has been reported that during his arrest, the serviceman barricaded himself inside a rented apartment and threw two more grenades into the entranceway. Fortunately, no one was injured.

A 27-year-old Storm-Z unit soldier from Moscow was detained in hospital premises during his medical leave, and a packet of drugs was found in his pocket.

A military court in Moscow sentenced 29-year-old Mekhrodzh Khaidarov with a disability due to hearing loss to five years of a suspended sentence in a case related to going AWOL during mobilization. In the fall of 2022, Khaidarov was detained and deceitfully made to sign a mobilization statement voluntarily. Earlier, Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] covered his story in detail.

The Vyorstka media outlet analyzed the databases of all district and garrison courts in the country and found that at least 761 Russians contested their mobilization in court. Of these, 172 individuals approached the court within the first weeks following the announcement of mobilization, while another 589 persons did so after being assigned to training units or sent to the frontline. All of them attempted to convince the court that they had been mobilized unlawfully and requested to return home. 52 individuals managed to win their cases and return home.

The Abakan Garrison Military Court sentenced Junior Sergeant Ayan Ertine to 6 years of probation for going AWOL. Ertine had avoided military service for 9 months. The same court sentenced private Vladislav Butakov to 2 years of probation under the same article. Butakov had been away from the unit for only a month. On May 10, 2023, he voluntarily reported to the military commissariat [enlistment office]. In addition, the Abakan Garrison Military Court sentenced Junior Sergeant Taimir Lopsan to 3 years of probation for assaulting a fellow soldier.

The Second Eastern Military District released the sentences of three Russian servicemen for drunk driving. Private Nikolay Mikheev, previously convicted of drunk driving, was fined 450,000 rubles [$4,615] and sentenced to 234 hours of compulsory labor, while Corporal Aleksandr Nemov and Corporal Aleksandr Baev were fined 200,000 rubles [$2,051] and 250,000 rubles [$2,564], respectively.

The Southern District Military Court confirmed the sentence of mobilized soldier Pavel Kamagurov who he was found guilty of leaving the duty station for more than a month. He was sentenced to seven years in a penal colony. Kamagurov had left the unit and returned home but subsequently voluntarily appeared at the military commandant's office. There, he received an order to return to the unit, which he ignored, leading to his detention by the commandant's office at his home. At the moment, this sentence represents the most severe punishment known under this article in the south of Russia.

The Southern District Military Court has upheld the nine-year penal colony sentence for soldier Murad Gaziev, who fatally shot a fellow soldier after discovering text messages between his wife and the victim. Although the victim's family considered the sentence too lenient, the court chose to leave it unchanged.

An unknown individual attempted to set fire to the draft office in the city of Blagoveshchensk, Amur region. A bottle containing a burning mixture was found at the scene, along with a small burnt patch of grass. Presumably, someone tossed the bottle toward the draft office, but it landed 2.5 meters away from the building and did not shatter.

A 16-year-old Tomsk student has been detained for allegedly throwing a Molotov cocktail into a relay cabinet between the Tomsk-1 and Tomsk-2 railway stations. The cocktail hit a power pylon but did not cause significant damage to the cabinet. The teenager has been taken into police custody, and authorities plan to initiate criminal proceedings against him for deliberate property damage from molester motives.

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Russian authorities have tightened legislation concerning treason and acts of terror. In the first seven months of 2023, Russia has seen 82 criminal cases opened for treason, a fourfold increase compared to 2022 when 16 individuals were charged under this article, with a total of 24 cases. This trend indicates that the number of "traitors" in the country may surpass the figures of the last two decades by year-end. Avtozak LIVE outlines the charges associated with treason today and how they differ from a similar article on espionage.

Former Wagner Group mercenary Ivan Karymov has been granted pardon and returned to the village where he had previously killed two people, including a nine-year-old boy. NGS24 interviewed him about his experiences. In 2021, he was sentenced to 8 years of imprisonment. While in prison, he joined the Wagner Group and recently returned from the war to his hometown, having his conviction officially lifted. His father is proud of him, and Ivan himself states that everyone in his family is a patriot.


At Gymnasium No. 37 in Yekaterinburg, students were compelled to undergo a survey about their views on Nazis, elections, and protests when registering for military conscription. Meanwhile, in Saint Petersburg, teachers report a shortage of new history textbooks for 11th-grade students.


Workers at factories in Izhevsk have been prohibited from going outside due to the possible arrival of Putin. He is expected at the former Italmas shopping center, which was repurposed into a combat drone factory in 2023. Additionally, it has been revealed that the Ministry of Defense may have pressured the owner of the Stolitsa shopping center, also repurposed for drone production, to sell the building.

After drone attacks in Volgograd, a "centralized population notification automated system" will be established at a cost of 167.5 million rubles [$1.74 million]. The city will deploy 114 new citizen voice notification complexes and install a subsystem for notifying "office holders." Meanwhile, a resident of Shebekino has created a petition urging authorities to improve the notification system during attacks, including cases when sabotage and reconnaissance groups enter the region.

In May 2023, on the border of the Omsk region with Kazakhstan, 1,105 quadcopters were confiscated. According to the Federal Security Service (FSB), the carrier concealed information about the cargo, and the drones were allegedly "intended for one of the neighboring states and could be used by the Armed Forces of Ukraine during the special military operation." The FSB assures that the quadcopters have already been handed over to the Ministry of Defense "for the needs of the special military operation."

The Ural Airlines provided its aircrafts for the transportation of mobilized individuals to the war zone. Previously, the Sota media outlet, based on an analysis of the airline's flights, reported on this practice. Now, the journalists of the Sota have secured tangible evidence in the form of an official letter from the military commissariat of the Sverdlovsk region.


The Idel.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet tells about representatives of both Orthodox and Muslim clergy who vocally support the war, justifying it with religion.

Despite Putin's promises that those drafted to the front would be able to take a two-week leave every six months, in reality, many of the mobilized individuals have not been home even once. The Sever.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet spoke with soldiers’ wives who haven't seen their husbands for a year.

Meduza [international Russian-language online media outlet] offers an overview of the curriculum for first-year students on the new course titled "Fundamentals of Russian Statehood."