Russia’s Federation Council [the upper house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] endorsed amendments to the Criminal Code which among other things introduce life imprisonment for treason. For more details on these amendments, check out our summary of April 17–18. Moreover, the Federation Council approved amendments to the law on citizenship, which allow for acquired citizenship to be revoked for “committing actions threatening the national security of the Russian Federation.”
Chairman of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] Committee on Defense Andrey Kartapolov suggested that local civilian volunteers be engaged in guarding the state borders of Russia. According to Kartapolov, Russia “does not have the capacity the Soviet Union once had, when the entire perimeter was guarded by the border troops.” As covered in our previous summary, earlier, during a meeting with Putin, First Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Andrey Turchak proposed to permit carrying firearms to members of territorial defense forces in the border regions.
Members of the Legislative Assembly of Saint Petersburg will be applying to Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu suggesting changes to the performance of draft offices. Parliamentarians call for military ranks, dismissed in 2009 due to the draft system reform, to be reestablished for draft office employees. Military personnel, allegedly regarded with more respect, would do a better job than civilian employees.
Paper draft notices, distributed in Saint Petersburg, now include a stamp in the corner, which states: “Attention! Restrictive measures will be imposed on you if you do not report to the draft office within the allotted time.” On top of that, these notices are being deposited directly into mailboxes, without seeking the recipient's signature. The section containing the signature field, used to confirm receipt, is being preemptively torn off, as if the notice had already been served. The draft office of the Vyborgsky district confirmed that people failing to report in, after receiving a draft notice in their mailbox, will be treated as draft dodgers and will be unable, inter alia, to travel abroad. Yet, even the recently amended version of the law on military duty requires a signature upon delivery of paper draft notices. Thus, an unsigned draft notice cannot be considered served.
Although failure to report to the draft office could indeed lead to restrictive measures, they may only enter into force after the draft notice has been posted to the digital register [common register of Russians subject to military service], which is not planned to be operational until September. In a commentary to Vazhnyye Istorii [iStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet], Sergey Krivenko, head of the Grazhdanin. Armiya. Pravo [Citizen. Army. Law] human rights society, noted that these restrictive measures can be taken even without the digital register, but it is hard to imagine how that would work in practice.
The press service of the Western Military District responded to a request from the Fontanka media outlet stating that the mention of restrictive measures is not related to the planned bans on leaving the country and registering transactions in the fall, and such stamped draft notices are only sent to those citizens who previously evaded military service. According to the publication, Andrey Kartapolov, the Chairman of the Defense Committee of the State Duma, also stated that these restrictions will only take effect in the fall.
A court in Saint Petersburg ruled that the refusal to hold a rally against digital draft notices was illegal. The application to hold the event was filed by the local branch of the Yabloko party, and the lawsuit against the administration was filed by Boris Vishnevsky, a member of the city's Legislative Assembly. The court ordered the district administration to reconsider the notification and resolve issues related to the time, place, and conditions of the rally.
Governor Vladislav Shapsha of the Kaluga region replaced the regional military commissar. According to the governor, he made this decision so that volunteer fighters would not be "put on a back burner" and could be sent to the war more quickly. "There is no place for red tape in the military commissariat [enlistment office]. A person comes to sign a contract. He needs to quickly complete all the documents, including medical certificates. He is ready to go and serve," wrote Shapsha.
On Apr. 26, the Ministry of Defense decided not to release a video promoting contract military service. Instead, the ministry limited itself to a simple message posted on its Telegram channel.
The authorities of the Perm region urged residents not to sign contracts for military service with "intermediary firms". Corresponding posts appeared on the official public pages of the administrations of the city districts of the region. In particular, they say that "the activities of such firms are not regulated by law, and might constitute fraudulent schemes." What is meant by the intermediary firms was not specified. Municipalities urge citizens to apply for contract military service only via official channels through the Ministry of Defense.
Based on information from open sources, journalists from the Mozhem Ob'yasnit [We can explain] Telegram channel have established that ten members of Russian regional parliaments have already been killed in the war in Ukraine. They were able to survive on the front lines mainly for 3-4 months.
Relatives of draftees from Kirov complain in an online chat that their loved ones had their leaves canceled in anticipation of the Ukrainian counteroffensive. Also, the draftees did not receive summer fatigues and "humanitarian aid". They have to buy food at local stores at their own expense at an increased price.
28-year-old draftee Dmitry Tkachenko from Pervouralsk was accused of going AWOL. At the beginning of the year, he received a concussion and, after treatment in hospitals, arrived at a military unit in Yelan, Sverdlovsk region, from where he was released home on sick leave. While he was at home, he was transferred to another unit without notification, and then added to the list of those who left the unit without permission. The draftee's wife has already contacted various organizations to attain assistance in the case.
The Baza Telegram channel reports that a 19-year-old resident of Naberezhnye Chelny was accused of sabotage for setting a railway relay cabinet on fire. According to investigators, the arson was committed on the evening of Mar. 20 near the Sidorovka station. Three people are suspected of the crime: two schoolchildren (15 and 14 years old) and a 19-year-old man. A case was opened against schoolchildren under the article on intentional damage or destruction of property from molester motives. A case against the full-aged man was opened under a more serious article on sabotage. He may be sentenced up to 20 years in prison. He was put into custody, and his younger "accomplices" were assigned a recognizance bond.
Human rights activists from the Committee of Military Lawyers filed an appeal against the decision of the Suzdal City Court of the Vladimir region, which deemed the mobilization of a 36-year-old local resident lawful. He was sent to the war in Ukraine, despite having three children. In response to his wife’s complaints, the military enlistment officer stated that her husband had voluntarily asked to be sent to Ukraine.
A 20-year-old resident of Tver was charged with treason. According to the Federal Security Service [FSB], a young man detained while trying to illegally cross the border had intended to join the Armed Forces of Ukraine and to set fire to a Russian military enlistment office.
Volunteer fighters and mobilized soldiers from Russia’s constituent Republic of Buryatia will be able to receive free legal assistance. Corresponding amendments to the law of the republic were introduced by the lawmakers of the People's Khural (the legislative body of Buryatia).
At the largest coal mine in Russia, a part of the workers’ compensation is being taken away from them and donated "into the special military operation support fund." As reported, the minimum amount that is being withheld is 1000 rubles or 3% of the salary. Employees of several organizations belonging to the A-Property group of companies have complained about these withholdings.
Moscow hospitals do not have enough staff to take care of wounded Russian soldiers. For example, in Moscow volunteer chats dedicated to supporting the war, an announcement was circulated about a large number of wounded soldiers with no one to care for them. It is not only about making a company or feeding them, but also about changing diapers and carrying out hygiene procedures. At the moment, the announcement is not relevant — the recruitment of volunteers ended 2 weeks ago.
Schoolchildren’s parents in the Primorsky region complained about the forced sending of year ten students to military training. They stated that the teachers threatened to prevent those who refused to participate in the training camp from entering the 11th grade. Meanwhile, the parents of schoolchildren who had already been sent to the training camp complained about the lack of meals and uniforms. Previously, parents from Saint Petersburg complained about sending schoolchildren to such a camp.
According to the information found by the Vyorstka media outlet journalists in the state accounting register, the company of the son of the deputy head of the Federal Property Management Agency has earned a quarter of a billion rubles from the supply of military uniforms for the Ministry of Defense. For the first nine months of its work (from April to December last year), the company received an income of 244 million rubles.