mobilization briefs
September 6, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Sept. 4-5, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

Vladimir Putin signed a decree expanding the range of officials authorized to award war veterans on behalf of the President. Besides senior military commanders, authority of awarding members of the armed forces has now been granted to top officials of Rosgvardia [the National Guard of Russia] and the Ministry of Emergency Situations, as well as to the Chair of the Presidential Council for Cossack Affairs. Under the new procedure, awards may be issued not only to military members, but also to volunteer fighters and personnel of Rosgvardia and the Ministry of Emergency Situations. Moreover, the array of decorations that can be awarded on behalf of the President has also been increased.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

A purportedly leaked mobilization order signed by Russia’s Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu proved to be fake. For more details, check out today’s sitrep. The authorities of the Chelyabinsk region and Buryatia also hurried to denounce the document as fake news, while Chairman of the Defense Committee of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] Andrey Kartapolov claimed it to be "a fabrication spread by our enemies," pointing out that Russia had no need for additional mobilization.

Draft offices have been given access to the restricted part of the Federal Bailiff Service’s database, the Sota media outlet announces. According to its source in the Russian Armed Forces, draft offices will be approaching debtors offering to freeze the interest and eventually write off the loan if the debt holder signs up for contract military service in Ukraine with the Ministry of Defense.

Cuba has uncovered a human trafficking ring that recruited Cuban nationals to fight for Russia in the war in Ukraine. Reportedly, the trafficking ring operated within Russia and targeted Cubans residing both in Russia and abroad. Criminal proceedings have been initiated against the persons involved. "Cuba is not participating in the war in Ukraine," Cuba's foreign ministry underlined in its statement. According to the Astra Telegram channel, in late May, a Russian newspaper Ryazanskie Vedomosti reported that several Cuban citizens had signed contracts with Russia's Ministry of Defense.

Aleksandr Yanklovich, a member of the Saratov Regional Duma [regional assembly], is heading to the war as a volunteer fighter. He will assume the position of deputy commander of a Rosgvardia brigade. Also, the First Deputy Head of the Administration of Syktyvkar, Aleksandr Mozhegov, has gone to war with Ukraine.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Igor Baturko and Yevgeny Matveyenko from the Bryansk region, Igor Knyazyukov from the Saratov region, Ilnur Akhmetzyanov and Aleksey Devyatkin from the Russia’s constituent Republic of Tatarstan, Ivan Pavlyukov and Aleksandr Kuchma from the Omsk region, Yuriy Plaksin from the Kursk region, Artyom Putintsev from the Lipetsk region, Denis Sheryakov from the Tomsk region, Artyom Ponomarev from the Arkhangelsk region, and Vladislav Kirsanov from the Yaroslavl region.

In several villages in the Krasnodar region, previously unknown burials of 14 Russian soldiers and mercenaries from the Wagner Group, who were killed in the war with Ukraine, have been discovered. Officials have not reported on the deaths of these soldiers.

Relatives of mobilized soldiers from the 1008th Regiment, stationed in the Bakhmut direction in the area of Klishchiivka as part of the 4th Motorized Infantry Brigade, have raised complaints about the command. According to them, the soldiers have been in the forward positions for over three months without any support. During this time, they have suffered significant losses, with more than two-thirds of the soldiers killed or wounded since October 2022. However, the command refuses to rotate them and provide rest, and in response to complaints, they are threatened with criminal prosecution, placing in a basement, or execution.

Journalists from the BBC News Russian managed to contact the relatives of the Russian contract soldier, Mikhail Pichugin, who died under suspicious circumstances (more details here). Pichugin’s brother confirmed the facts presented by the Agentstvo.Novosti [Agency News] Telegram channel. According to him, the authorities have not yet initiated a criminal case regarding his death. At the same time, the ombudsman of the Sverdlovsk region has become involved in the case.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

A military court upheld the sentence of six to seven years behind bars for desertion given to eight draftees from the Kaliningrad region who fled "LPR" with their weapons. Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] told their story in detail.

The Chelyabinsk Garrison Military Court sentenced a draftee to five years and five months in a penal colony for desertion. The soldier did not return from a leave granted to him in November 2002. In April 2023, he was detained.

Nikolay Shablukov, a draftee from Pskov, was sentenced to two years behind bars for going AWOL. He did not report back to the war in Ukraine after a leave he took to attend his mother’s funeral. The court took as a mitigating factor the fact that Shablukov had been absent from his unit for less than a month.

The Novocherkassk Garrison Military Court sentenced Aleksey K., a draftee, to five years and three months behind bars for leaving his unit. In January 2023, the soldier left his place of deployment due to "difficulties serving." In April 2023, he was detained by the commandant’s office.

A soldier who refused to go to the war in Ukraine has been sentenced to two years and three months in a penal settlement. Earlier, the man told his story to Astra news outlet.

Rezuan Bostanov, a Karachay-Cherkessia [Russia’s constituent republic] resident, has been fined 100,000 rubles ($1,000) for evading military service. In the spring of 2023, while at an enlistment office, the prospective draftee refused to sign for two draft notices.

An explosion near a military commissariat in Saint Petersburg was caught on a CCTV camera on the morning of Sept. 5. Based on what is known so far, an improvised explosive device with 100-150 grams of gunpowder exploded in a ventilation shaft leading to a bomb shelter. No one was hurt in the explosion.

In Yekaterinburg, a 20-year-old student of the Pedagogical University was arrested on suspicion of preparing to set fire to a railroad relay cabinet. His car was pulled over by traffic police. In his car, police found a gas pipe wrench, a bottle with an unknown liquid and matches, while his phone contained text logs indicating that the student was offered money to commit arson.

The Federal Security Service (FSB) reported the arrest of a Krasnodar region resident suspected of high treason. According to the agency, the man allegedly contacted a recruiter of the Ukrainian intelligence services, expressing a desire to join the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The suspect was detained at a railway station while allegedly trying to leave the country.

The Reutov Garrison Military Court began hearing a criminal case against Radik Aisin, a lieutenant of the Airborne Forces. According to investigators, on the night of Feb. 16, Aisin, who was on duty, consumed alcohol, seized an assault rifle and, threatening the store assistant, demanded a beer. Subsequently, the officer was discharged from service, and military investigators filed charges against him for hooliganism, illegal possession of firearms and weapon theft while using his official position.


Families of individuals who take part in the war in Ukraine are now exempt from penalties related to utility fees and capital repairs in Chuvashia [Russia’s constituent republic]. Previously, such benefits were only extended to the families of mobilized soldiers. In Saint Petersburg, war veterans and their family members will now be able to visit the Hermitage and other museums for free.


On Sept. 1, while speaking at the ceremony celebrating the start of a new school year, an Akhmat volunteer unit commander expressed his desire to become a patron for a school in Saint Petersburg. In a separate gesture of support, Andrey Gurulyov, a State Duma Member from the Zabaykalsky region, gifted schoolchildren a model of an AK-74 assault rifle in order to enhance their understanding of fundamental principles of security and homeland defense throughout their educational journey.

By Sept. 1, schools across the country had received talking points recommending the invitation of Ukrainian war veterans to school assemblies. As reported by the Agentstvo.Novosti Telegram channel, in addition to the talking points, schools were provided with a video featuring President Putin, which had to be shown during the first "Talking About Important Things" class.

A teacher from Surgut plans to establish a "patriotic club" to re-educate schoolchildren with an anti-war stance. The club will host representatives of "patriotic" non-profit organizations and war participants. In the meantime, in the Amur region, a Ukraine war veteran addressed third-graders in order to "patriotically educate the future generation."

The Slava [Glory] sports and patriotic club has opened in the Zabaykalsky region. This martial arts school will not only teach wrestling but educate children about the work of special forces, as well as the concept of patriotism. The Sibir.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet reported about a free summer camp where Khabarovsk schoolchildren were taught basic techniques for first aid and firearms handling.

Furthermore, the police, Rosgvardia, prosecutor's office and the Federal Penitentiary Service are establishing specialized classes in Russian schools. 65 police classes have already been opened in the Krasnoyarsk region.


In the Na Svalke [On a Dump] museum near Irkutsk, a memorial to the participants in the war with Ukraine has been opened, with about 100 people attending the event. Meanwhile, in Chita, city manager Inna Shcheglova has been advocating for the installation of a memorial to the war participants in the city center. She explained this specific placement by the need to teach young people from nearby educational institutions about the "heroes of our time."


Russian courts have reviewed hundreds of corruption-related criminal cases within the military since the beginning of the war in Ukraine. A significant portion of these cases has been dismissed, and actual prison sentences are rarely imposed. Meanwhile, mobilized soldiers accused of desertion or refusing to execute an order are either sent to correctional facilities or given suspended sentences before being returned to the frontline. This is a continuation of a joint investigation conducted by the Novaya Vkladka [New Tab] media outlet and the Prodolzhenie Sleduet [To Be Continued] independent media project on the sentencing patterns of Russian courts concerning military corruption and those who have refused to participate in combat (the first part of the investigation can be found here).

Last year, authorities in Saint Petersburg announced the establishment of the Leningrad Regiment for participation in the war in Ukraine. A mobilized soldier of the regiment spoke to the Sever.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet] about significant losses among the unit's personnel and about certain deputies who assert visiting to provide aid to Russian soldiers, all while posting alleged photos from the combat zone on social media. However, according to military sources, these deputies do not even reach the frontline.