The Constitutional Committee of the State Duma [lower house of Russia's Federal Assembly] approved a draft law introducing life imprisonment for high treason. As of now, the most severe penalty under this article is 20 years of imprisonment. It is also proposed to toughen up penalties for terrorism, which includes "actions aimed at damaging transport infrastructure and the life support of the population," as well as sabotage. Russian law enforcement charges people suspected of arson of military commissariats [enlistment offices] or damage to railway infrastructure under these articles of the Criminal Code. The terms of imprisonment under these articles can be increased from 15 to 20 years. The State Duma plans to consider the amendments in the second reading on Apr. 13.
On Apr. 11, the State Duma will consider a draft law establishing a unified register of citizens liable for military service, which, according to the chairman of the State Duma Committee on Defense, Andrey Kartapolov, "will be created on the basis of a state information data system, which will make the entire military register transparent and the data accurate." Kartapolov also stated that electronic notifications from military commissariats will duplicate draft notices in paper and will have the same legal force; interim measures will be introduced to counter draft dodging, providing for a ban on leaving the country, concluding real estate transactions, as well as driving a vehicle. It is worth noting that on Mar. 31, Kartapolov himself denied a number of statements about delivering electronic draft notices as part of the spring conscription campaign, saying that from the point of view of the existing laws, they have no legal force. In addition, he explained the return to the second reading of amendments to the law "On Military Duty and Military Service" by the need to change the date of entry into force of this bill.
As in Belgorod, Kursk will not hold a parade on May 9. Governor of the Kursk region Roman Starovoyt explained this decision for "security reasons" caused by strengthening anti-terrorist measures. Russian President’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that the May 9 parade in Moscow will not be canceled. At the same time, according to him, the decision to hold parades in the regions is the prerogative of governors: "They make decisions based on the interests of ensuring the safety of citizens."
The routine spring conscription campaign is underway in Russia. In Saratov, a 4th-year student of the College of radio electronics was called up to the draft office, although he had not yet completed his course studies. Two months ago, college students received draft notices requiring them to report to the draft office for a military service register data check-up. Meanwhile, in Krasnodar, citizens are being summoned to draft offices for a data check-up via SMS messages.
As we reported earlier, in the Perm region, draft notices are being dropped to mailboxes requiring residents to report to the draft office and be served a mobilization assignment. The region’s Ministry of Territorial Security claimed that these notices were being sent due to the routine biennial spring conscription for statutory military service and had nothing to do with mobilization and participation in the “special military operation.”
At the same time, the recruitment campaign enticing men to sign up for contract service in the Russian Army is in full swing across the country. A mobile makeshift recruitment center popped up near the Novosibirsk railway terminal, equipped with a large LCD display screen playing adverts for military service with patriotic songs used as a soundtrack. In Yugra [Russia’s constituent entity], adverts seeking contract servicemen appeared in schools, while in Smolensk, announcements were being attached to trees. The Wagner Group is not far behind, with their direct mail campaign now being extended to the city of Sochi. Adverts urging men to join the Wagner Group have also been seen on municipal buses in Omsk and in the streets of Ulyanovsk and Samara.
A republican motorized rifle regiment is being formed in Bashkortostan [Russia’s constituent republic]. Head of the republic Radiy Khabirov announced that this initiative was launched by the commanders of the existing “volunteer” battalions. According to Khabirov, the regional government "fully supports" this initiative and will absorb all costs for raising the regiment. Earlier, the republic’s authorities reported that more than 600 men had signed up to join the new “volunteer” battalions of Bashkortostan nicknamed “Northern Amurs” and “Vatan.”
Mobilized soldiers are continuously getting killed in the war. Vasily Efimov from the Novgorod region, Nikita Starodubtsev from the Kursk region, Vitaly Dolgushin from the Tyumen region, Andrey Sulmakov from Surgut, Aleksandr Sukhov from Volgograd, Nail Agrusev from the Samara region, Dmitry Kazantsev from the Altai region, Ruslan Krapivin from the Arkhangelsk region and Vitaly Sarksyan from the Tver region have been added to the lists of casualties.
As part of the prisoner-of-war exchange on Apr. 10, several mobilized soldiers returned to Russia, including two residents of the Yaroslavl region, a resident of Vladimir, and three to five residents of the Sverdlovsk region.
A video message from relatives of those mobilized from the Tula region appeared on social media. They are appealing to the President, the Minister of Defense, the Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Governor to return from the frontline the mobilized soldiers of the 14th and 15th companies of the 5th Battalion, 137th Regiment, 106th Airborne Division. According to them, the command sends untrained military personnel for assaults without proper training, weapons, or food and, overall, treats them as expendable.
Head of North Ossetia Sergey Menyaylo announced that an investigation was carried out on the instances of bullying of a serviceman from North Ossetia [Russia’s constituent republic] in one of the regiments in the Kherson region, which got recorded and posted on social media. According to him [Menyaylo], the head of the Ossetian charitable foundation for support of military personnel, turned to him and told him about the cases of bullying in the regiment, where 46 men mobilized from Ossetia serve. Reportedly, the identities of all participants in the video have been established, and the case has been transferred to the Military Prosecutor's Office.
The case of Pavel Korshunov, accused of "terrorism" due to anti-war arson, was brought to court. Korshunov was detained in the city of Togliatti, Samara region. According to investigators, the day after the announcement of mobilization, he set fire to the building of the city administration, and now he faces 12 to 20 years in prison. On Apr. 7, the case was submitted to the Central District Military Court in Samara.
On Apr. 10, the Central District Military Court in Yekaterinburg sentenced Roman Nasryev and Aleksey Nuriev to 19 years in prison for setting fire to the administration building, which housed the military registration desk. Roman and Aleksey must spend the first four years in prison and the next — in a maximum security penal colony. The men received such a long term because of the qualification of their actions under the articles “terrorist act” and “training for the purpose of committing terrorist activities.” Also, during the meeting, Judge of the Central District Military Court Artyom Makarov said that in Russia in 2022, there were 77 attempts to set military commissariats on fire.
The Ulyanovsk Garrison Military Court sentenced a 25-year-old mobilized native of Chuvashia [Russia’s constituent republic], Igor Malyasov, to 6.5 years in a maximum security penal colony. The man got into a fight with an officer on duty, and during the investigation, he went AWOL and took refuge in his native village.
The 35-year-old mobilized Sergey Klevtsov, previously convicted of theft, has a criminal case initiated under the article "murder." He arbitrarily left a unit in Severodvinsk, came to the wife of a fellow soldier in Arkhangelsk, and set fire to an apartment building after a fight. One of the house's residents died due to the fire. After the arson, the military man returned to Severodvinsk, where he was detained.
According to the press service of the military courts of Siberia, the Chita Garrison Military Court sentenced Russian Private Roman Evdokimov to 7 years in a maximum security penal colony for “deserting” in combat conditions. The man is claimed to have left the military unit on Nov. 24, 2022. He was detained on Jan. 13, 2023. It is not specified whether the man was a mobilized soldier, a conscript or a contract soldier.
In the Tula region, a deserted contract soldier was given a show trial in front of mobilized soldiers and conscripts. The man fled from the unit even before the start of the war in Ukraine, lived with his friends, and even worked, hiding from the leadership that he was a contract soldier. He was detained on Oct. 15, 2022. On Apr. 6, the Tula Garrison Military Court sentenced the contract soldier to seven years in a penal colony.
The Investigative Committee closed the criminal case against a former contract soldier for leaving his place of service. The command lost sight of Vladislav Nesterenko from Moscow, who served under contract in the Yampolsky Regiment of the Kantemirovskaya Division, for several months and put him on the wanted list, as he independently changed the military hospital for treatment.
The Armenian police released a Russian citizen who was put on the wanted list on suspicion of desertion in Russia. The department explained that the issue of extradition of a Russian citizen should be considered upon receipt of a request for his extradition and if there are sufficient grounds, in accordance with international treaties.
In Saint Petersburg, a local resident found shells lying in a landfill. Judging by the video, unidentified persons had thrown out bodies of high-explosive fragmentation shells, as well as bodies with leading devices from sub-caliber shells. At the moment, they have already been taken away by law enforcement agencies.
The Novosibirsk NGS.RU media outlet published a story about a mobilized resident of the Krasnozyorsky district who had his third child after being sent to serve in the military. However, his wife is unable to bring him back home. Requests for a deferral from the district administration are met with refusals, citing either non-existent legislative acts or that decisions on such matters are made only by the unit commander, although previously, the district administration wrote that fathers of many children were eligible for draft deferral.
The Sota media outlet drew attention to the fact that in Berdsk, Novosibirsk region, the local branch of the United Russia party [Putin’s ruling party] initiated the collection of funds for purchasing a UAZ vehicle for mobilized residents of Berdsk serving in the reconnaissance platoon of the 1436th Regiment. Half of the 600,000 ruble cost for the vehicle has already been collected. Seven SUVs will be sent to the “special military operation” by a road train from the Tyumen region. Meanwhile, a couple from Zavodoukovsk, Tyumen region, donated their personal car to support the military's needs.
In the Krasnodar region, the Russian Orthodox Church is raising money for a church monument to Russian soldiers killed in the war in Ukraine. Meanwhile, in Chernogorsk, the Russia’s constituent Republic of Khakassia, unknown people stole 30 thousand rubles collected by the local Committee for Culture, Youth, and Sports for the needs of mobilized soldiers. The police are investigating the case.
The Russian authorities of Crimea, led by Sergey Aksyonov, are demanding the strengthening of cooperation between military commissariats and schools in Crimea. Meanwhile, in Vladivostok, the military showed lyceum students what a "correct life goal" was. The fighters of the Grom [Thunder] unit came to the lyceum of the Far Eastern State Technical Fisheries University to conduct an "educational-patriotic event" for students in grades 7-10.