The supervisory board of the Defenders of the Fatherland fund met for the first time. The fund was recently created by a presidential decree. It plans to draft a bill that would make more participants of the “special military operation” eligible for military mortgages. It also seeks to give priority access to nurseries, schools, and health camps to children of fallen service members. Furthermore, a 10% admission quota is already applied in universities for Heroes of the Russian Federation [honorary title], recipients of three Orders of Courage [state decoration], and for children of “special military operation” participants.
One more benefit has become available for residents of the Nizhny Novgorod region if they are willing to join the war. Unemployed residents will now be offered a job at one of the regional enterprises if they enlist under a contract. Upon enlistment, a regional enterprise will offer them a job, a one-off payment of 100,000 rubles, and monthly payments of 50,000 rubles for the duration of the military service contract.
The Mayor’s Office of Novosibirsk denied permission to hold a protest rally “for peace” and against digital draft notices. In its response to the request submitted by the Yabloko party, the deputy mayor cited the itinerary of the rally, which would march past educational institutions and public authorities buildings, which was recently made illegal. He also reminded that “defamation of the Russian Army” is punishable under the law.
Over the weekend, the Ministry of Defense released two new videos advertising military service under contract. There are already a total of five such videos. Campaigns promoting military service continue to appear on the streets of cities. Posters with corresponding content have been spotted in Moscow, Ufa, and Saransk. Advertisements urging people to sign contracts with the Russian Army or support it with voluntary donations have been placed on buses in Astrakhan, while ads encouraging people to join the Wagner Group have been placed on buses in Novosibirsk.
In Crimea, leaflets advertising the "Convoy Private Military Company" are being distributed by young children. Earlier, Vazhnyye Istorii [iStories, an independent Russian investigative media outlet] found out that this formation was created at the initiative of the head of annexed Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov. Formally, the Convoy is a BARS (Special Combat Army Reserve) volunteer unit, a combat army reserve, which is a subdivision of the Ministry of Defense, but it is commanded by a Wagner Group mercenary coordinator in Africa, Konstantin Pikalov.
Social media in Tyumen report that advertising for military service under contract has reappeared in the region's public spaces. It is being placed on billboards, screens, public transport, multifunctional public services centers, some municipal institutions, and the facades of universities. With the start of mobilization, the advertising disappeared, and only graffiti in the form of the letter Z reminded people about the “special military operation.”
The lists of mobilized soldiers killed in the war in Ukraine have been updated with the names of Artyom Romash from Russia’s constituent Republic of Yugra, Ivan Moor from the Kemerovo region (the link contains a story of the funeral written by his niece, a journalist from the pro-Kremlin online portal NGS.RU), Yevgeny Sardin from Nizhnevartovsk, as well as Arkady Selivanov and Roman Sergeyev from the Oryol region.
An illegal basement for Russian refuseniks in the village of Zaitseve, Luhansk region, is once again operating. It was previously used to hold Russian soldiers who refused to fight last year but was shut down after publications by the Astra Telegram channel and other media outlets. In the past two months, Astra has again received several messages from relatives of mobilized men reporting that soldiers refusing to fight are being sent to Zaitseve.
The Insider [an independent Russian investigative media outlet] published an article on the influx of illegal weapons in Russia linked to the start of wars in Ukraine and Chechnya. According to the Prosecutor General's Office, since Apr. 2022, the number of crimes in Russia involving firearms and ammunition has increased by 32%, and this data may be underestimated. Most of the weapons ended up in the Kursk and Belgorod regions bordering Ukraine, as well as in Moscow. Among the leaders in weapon theft are elite units of the Ministry of Defense, Pskov paratroopers, GRU [Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation] special forces, and units of the internal troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Two one-shot anti-tank grenade launchers were found on Saturday, Apr. 22. An RPG-22 one-shot disposable anti-tank launcher was found at the Ulyanovsk landfill. Judging by the video, the launcher has already been used. Meanwhile, in the town of Ramenskoye, Moscow region, a Sweden-made AT4 unguided disposable anti-tank grenade launcher was found in a dumpster. The launcher had reportedly been used as well.
The Baza Telegram channel reports that out of four young people detained for setting fire to relay cabinets in the Kaluga region, two men were prosecuted under part 2 of Art. 205 of the Criminal Code of Russia (the act of terror committed by a group of persons and upon preliminary collusion). The men face up to 20 years in prison. According to the source, the other two men are still witnesses in the case.
According to the 7x7 Telegram channel, the police detained two residents of Kemerovo who were trying to set fire to the equipment on the railway. The young people admitted everything, saying that unknown people promised to pay them 35,000 rubles [~430 USD] for the arson. They face up to 5 years in prison under Art. 167 of the Criminal Code of Russia (intentional destruction or damage to property).
In the Jewish Autonomous Region, criminal proceedings on charges of justifying terrorism were opened against a citizen for posting messages supporting arson attacks on draft offices in a messenger chat. The suspect is facing up to 7 years in prison.
The prosecutor called for a tougher sentence for Aleksey Moskalyov, demanding that Moskalyov be additionally banned from administering Internet resources for three years, the OVD-Info independent human rights project reports. According to the prosecutor, Moskalyov committed the crime in the context of an armed conflict, which calls for a tougher punishment. Moreover, information emerged about a second lawyer Rostislav Kulikov unexpectedly appearing in the case and admitting Moskalyov’s guilt. Vyorstka [independent media outlet] found out that the former lawyer who represented Moskalyov accused Kulikov of cooperating with the investigation. The location of Aleksey Moskalyov is still unknown.
The It's My City media outlet spoke with Eduard Charov, a preacher from Krasnoufimsk in the Sverdlovsk region, who gives refuge to men hiding from mobilization. Charov has been recently given a court fine of 65,000 rubles for "discrediting the army" and inciting hatred towards Vladimir Putin.
The Ministry of Health is planning to procure medicines and prosthetics not registered in Russia for military personnel and mercenaries injured in the war. The Sota media outlet found a respective draft government decree on the federal portal of draft legislation.
Marina Suraeva, a clinical psychologist from the Vladimir region, traveled to Luhansk as a volunteer. There, she treated wounded soldiers and mercenaries of the Wagner Group. Now she is in her hometown, providing assistance to those who returned from the war. Yet, she criticizes the organizers of humanitarian aid missions in the combat zone — in her opinion, they are just spending grants.
In Samara, Federal Tax Service employees collected 35 boxes of aid for military personnel containing kits for making long-burning matches, “fire in your pocket” kits, food, and personal hygiene products. Meanwhile, an 83-year-old woman from the village of Ust-Usy of the Russia’s constituent Republic of Komi transfers part of her pension to the needs of soldiers fighting in Ukraine.
In the Sverdlovsk region, two armored scout cars were purchased using donations from residents and transferred to the front. These vehicles had been previously decommissioned by the Ministry of Defense.
The Lyudi Baikala [People of Baikal] independent media outlet reports that coal companies in the Irkutsk region have purchased reconnaissance equipment for the front worth 20 million rubles [approximately 250 thousand USD]. At the same time, all these companies appeared in the regional market a few years ago and almost immediately reached billion-rubles profits, paying minimum taxes and having almost no staff.
Employers at some enterprises in Yakutia [Russia’s constituent republic] began to make default deductions of a thousand rubles from the salaries of employees “for the needs of special military operation.”
Governor of the Tyumen region Aleksandr Moor will present children of the participants of the “special military operation” from the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous region with 100 tour packages to Tobolsk. According to the Governor, it should strengthen the children’s sense of national identity.
As part of the patriotic education of the residents of the Zabaykalsky region before Victory Day, officials of the regional government and heads of municipalities will conduct “Talking About Important Things” lessons for schoolchildren. They are going to explain to children "what the Great Patriotic War and the special military operation have in common."
High school students from one of the districts of Saint Petersburg are sent to a five-day "training camp" in order to practice life safety skills. Their parents were surprised by the order of the administration since they did not remember ever holding such training before. At the same time, such five-day training is included in the official school curriculum, so one can refuse to attend them only for good reasons: a certificate from a hospital or outpatient clinic.
According to the Sirena Telegram channel that interviewed students of the Samara State Technical University and the Voronezh State Industrial and Technological College, they were made to take surveys about the war and their attitude towards Putin.