mobilization briefs
September 11, 2023

Mobilization in Russia for Sept. 8-10, 2023 CIT Volunteer Summary

Authorities and Legislation

The Rostov regional government called on the leadership of the Southern Military District to allow soldiers, who were mobilized from the region, to go on leave. This statement was made by a representative of the regional government in the Telegram channel of Governor Vasily Golubev. Thus, Rostov followed Leningrad to become the second region to address such a request to military commanders. Meanwhile, Chairman of the Defense Committee of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] Andrey Kartapolov stated that contract soldiers would be replacing mobilized soldiers on the front: "This is why we are recruiting them. Already a lot more than 200,000 have enlisted, which makes a rotation possible." Additionally, Kartapolov once again denied the rumors of further mobilization, "There is no need for new waves of mobilization whatsoever."

Citing a review by the Gaidar Institute, the Moscow Times reports that regional authorities are spending more than ever on national security and law enforcement. Their share of regional budgets increased by 53.4% in the first half of the year, while spending on healthcare dropped by 3.4%. That said, security services continue to be primarily financed from the federal budget, where their share increased by 48% and reached 4.417 trillion rubles. Such significant increases in spending hadn’t been seen since 2012, when, in the aftermath of mass protests on Bolotnaya Square, security budgets swelled by 46%.

In the Zabaykalsky region, a new decree facilitates the employment of Ukraine war veterans. It applies to all participants of the “special military operation,” including volunteer fighters and employees of private military companies, and offers incentives to businesses who hire them.

Army Recruitment and Military Service Advertising

Another raid targeting illegal migrants and foreign nationals who had recently obtained Russian citizenship but not yet registered with the draft office was carried out in the Kurgan region. Reportedly, police conducted the identity checks on approximately 60 individuals.

A makeshift military service recruitment facility was set up along the route of the Siberian Running Festival.

Mobilized Soldiers and Volunteer Fighters

The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Aleksey Alikin from the Perm region, Andrey Dobromyslov from the Tver region, Ivan Shagrov from the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region–Yugra [Russia's federal subject] and Sergey Shishkin from Tatarstan [Russia’s constituent republic].

Russian servicemen interviewed by the Vot Tak [Like This] media outlet revealed humiliating and degrading punishments used by the senior command in the most intense hotspots of the frontline, where no criminal investigation can be undertaken. The most widespread practices soldiers are being subjected to are being beaten, being kept in a pit, being handcuffed to a tree, and being forced into assault missions (as a punishment either for misconduct or for an altercation with a commander).

Mobilized soldier Vladimir Borisenko from the Primorsky region [Russia’s constituent subject] had his teeth knocked out by the commander because there was no juice in the refrigerator. First, Lieutenant Colonel Timerkhanov fired his handgun pointing it towards the soldiers. He then ordered the soldiers to go outside and strip naked, after which he beat Borisenko up with a gun handle. Finally, Borisenko was forced into a pit. Following massive media coverage of the case, Borisenko was released and allowed to return home. Meanwhile, law enforcement initiated an investigation into the incident.

In addition to shortages of uniforms, supplies, arms, and the lack of rotations, the Russian military faces a pressing issue of alcohol and drug abuse among its servicemen. Cases of drunken brawls and the use of prohibited substances by mobilized soldiers are being brought to military courts. The Sever.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet discussed this problem with the families of soldiers, a psychologist, a lawyer, and a human rights activist.

Sentences, Legal Proceedings and Incidents

A resident of Vladivostok was unable to travel to the "special military operation" zone due to broken arms. When two men were celebrating the signing of contracts with the Ministry of Defense, an acquaintance of theirs who was not invited to the farewell party confronted them. He assaulted the men with a metal pipe, resulting in one of them having both arms broken.

The Saint Petersburg court has refused to change the measure of restraint for Egor Guzenko, who is accused of hooliganism. Guzenko is the author of the Trinadtsatyy [the 13th] pro-Russian Telegram channel. Guzenko had a confrontation with a group of unidentified individuals and fired an aerosol pistol, hitting one of them in the face. Guzenko was initially placed under house arrest, but after the start of the invasion, he cut off his monitoring bracelet and joined the war as a volunteer fighter.

Garrison military courts of the Southern Military District are refusing to consider the lawsuits filed by the mobilized due to violation of appeal deadlines. The Kavkaz.Realii [Caucasus.Realities] media outlet, part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, cites several such cases.

In Yaroslavl, two 18-year-olds were detained for an attempted arson. According to the Baza Telegram channel, one of the teenagers, a native of Ukraine's Zakarpattia region, had persuaded his friend to engage in an anti-war action by setting fire to a communications tower. A criminal case has been initiated against the teenagers under the charge of committing an act of terror, which carries up to 20 years in prison.

In the Moscow region, a 60-year-old resident of Balashikha was detained on suspicion of arson of relay cabinets. The man allegedly set fire to two relay cabinets at the Reutov railway station on Aug. 29 and Sept. 7. He was detained the day after the second incident and confessed to the crime. According to him, he was paid $600 for the arsons by a "curator from a Telegram channel."

In the Rostov region, a 33-year-old local resident Anton Esaulenko, who had previously been convicted, was detained when attempting to set fire to a relay cabinet. The incident took place on the evening of Sept. 8 on the railway section between Protochny and Kiziterinka stations. The man managed to pour gasoline on two relay cabinets before being apprehended. Criminal cases have been initiated for acts of terror and deliberate property damage. Additionally, authorities are investigating his involvement in the arson of relay cabinets on the railway section between Kiziterinka and Aleksandrovka stations that occurred on Sept. 1.


Volunteers from Buryatia, Russia’s constituent republic, are expressing complaints about requests from the military. Some military personnel, for instance, are asking for sleeping bags to be bought for them. Volunteers believe that servicemen receive substantial salaries to afford purchasing such items on their own.

A shipment of drones and batteries for them was sent from the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region to the combat zone for the military. However, soldiers from the 83rd Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment have complained about delays in receiving volunteer assistance, as well as the fact that some of their equipment goes missing during transportation.


Fourth-graders from a school in Gatchina, Leningrad region, were handed batons, helmets, and tactical vests by Rosgvardia [the National Guard of Russia] members during classes. Teachers claim the children found information about the security forces online and became "enthralled with the idea of getting to know them better." Allegedly, the students' curiosity was indulged by the parents of one of the pupils, whose father happened to be a Rosgvardia member.

The graffiti "Za наших!" ["For Ours!" with the Latin Z symbolizing the pro-war stance] appeared on the fence of a school for deaf and hard-of-hearing children. Volunteers from a movement with the same name involved students from the school in the creation of the graffiti. Meanwhile, child patients from the Phoenix social rehabilitation center in the city of Nizhnevartovsk were involved in weaving camouflage nets.

Miscellaneous. Regional Elections in Russia

Sergey Kozlov, Military Commissar of the town of Gelendzhik, visited town’s polling station #940 and handed notices to an independent observer and a member of the election commission to report to the local draft office "to update personal information" and to receive a mobilization order. Kozlov also told another observer to appear at the draft office. One of the observers, Igor Ogorodnikov, provided more details about the incident to the 7x7—Gorizontalnaya Rossiya [Horizontal Russia] news outlet. The draft office in Gelendzhik denies this information. However, later the municipal administration center claimed that on Sept. 7, unsuccessful attempts were made to deliver notices to these men. A notice to appear for a medical evaluation was also handed to a representative of the Communist Party candidate Konstantin Zarubin as he was leaving a polling station in Bashkortostan [Russia’s constituent republic].

The election commission of the Belgorod region reported that the soldiers from this region who are fighting in Ukraine voted directly on the front lines. Photos of so-called "trench" voting were posted by Pskov and Omsk regional election commissions on the first election day. Precinct election commission members in the Belgorod region conducted mobile voting in bulletproof vests and helmets. The commission referred to this as "peculiarities of the unified election day in 2023." The Novosibirsk election commission published a photo of a child with a toy assault rifle which he brought to the polling station.

Residents of the Kemerovo region wrote demands to return mobilized servicemen home on the ballot papers. The incident took place at polling station No. 1246 in the village of Atamanovo. It is specified that such demands were written by mobilized soldiers’ wives.

Russian voters used elections as a way to express their protest against the war. The Mozhem Ob'yasnit [We can explain] Telegram channel published a selection of ballot papers with anti-war inscriptions. The Vote Against campaign was launched by several anti-war movements at once. The Astra (1, 2) and the Dozor v Volgograde [Watch in Volgograd] Telegram channels also publish their selections.

The Lyudi Baikala [People of Baikal] independent media outlet published an article about the election campaign for the parliament of Buryatia. At the beginning of the campaign, many candidates relied on the "special military operation." However, later they abruptly changed their rhetoric and stopped talking about the war. In addition, according to the readers of the outlet, local officials have become less frequent in making patriotic appeals at the funerals of military personnel.