A bill providing an education quota for children of servicemen participating in the "special military operation" has been signed into law by Russia's President Vladimir Putin. It will make up 10 percent of all state-funded openings at universities.
The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation has prepared an amendment to the Government decree, according to which mercenaries fighting in the war in Ukraine (e.g., the Wagner Group) will be entitled to the same benefits as mobilized servicemen.
The Kommersant newspaper reports that the Ministry of Education and Science has developed and sent to universities a course on basic military training. The course was developed with the assistance of the Ministry of Defense and will be included in undergraduate programs' curricula.
Yesterday we wrote that the Netherlands had stopped providing asylum to Russian citizens evading mobilization. Attorney Dmitry Zakhvatov pointed out the mistake the media had made. "According to the Сonvention [Relating to the Status of Refugees] and applicable laws of the Netherlands, evasion of military service cannot be a ground for granting asylum. However, on July 29, 2022, a communique was published on the official website of the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service, according to which, from that date, a 6-month moratorium was imposed on the consideration of applications for asylum by Russian citizens aged 18-27 — that is, citizens of military age who have applied for asylum on the grounds of evasion of military service in the Russian army. On December 28, 2022, a second communique was published, extending the moratorium for another 6 months. In fact, this means that every Russian citizen of the specified age who, from July 29, 2022 to June 28, 2023, has requested or will request asylum in the Netherlands on the above grounds, will be held in a refugee camp at public expense, and the decision on his application will not be considered during the specified period of time."
Three years in a penal settlement were given to a military man on Sakhalin, who left the military unit in order not to go to war. The Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk garrison military court sentenced Konstantin Sannikov to three years in prison for leaving the unit without permission for more than a month, according to the court's website.
For causing death by negligence, the servicemen received two years of probation and a year and a half in a colony settlement.
The Astra Telegram channel tells the stories of five officers of the Russian Armed Forces who disappeared without a trace after the camp for refuseniks in Bryanka, Luhansk region. In July 2022, five Russian officers sent to war in Ukraine wrote reports refusing to participate in hostilities. The young people were sent to Bryanka, then to the military commandant's office in Alchevsk, and from there, they were fraudulently taken to a basement in an unidentified settlement. Since then, they have not been in touch.
Alexander Andreev, a 32-year-old Russian serviceman from Vladivostok, was transported from a garage in the occupied part of the Donetsk region to the "commandant's office" after being beaten and tortured. Relatives demand to provide Alexander with medical assistance and bring to justice the commanders who tortured him.
In Bashkortostan [Russia’s constituent republic], students whose fathers were mobilized and sent to war against Ukraine will receive exemption from tuition costs, the regional Minister of Education Aibulat Khazhin announced.
An officer with Russia's Federal Guard Service Mikhail Zhilin who fled to Kazakhstan to avoid mobilization was deported to Russia on the night of Dec. 29-30. He could not be reached ever since. Earlier, Zhilin had crossed into Kazakhstan illegally, fearing arrest at the border checkpoint due to his exposure to state secrets. He requested political asylum in Kazakhstan, but was extradited, even though not all legal procedures available for obtaining refugee status had been yet exhausted. Moreover, Kazakhstan extradited Zhilin specifically to Russia, where he now faces criminal prosecution.
A 21-year-old conscript who served as a bath attendant with the Federal Guard Service died "mysteriously" in the Leningrad region. He went to the bathhouse for some unknown reason at night, to be found dead in the morning with his trousers pulled down and with numerous stab wounds and ligature marks across his body. Blood traces were revealed all across the bathhouse, but investigators concluded that the death was caused by an accidental fall and did not initiate legal proceedings.
Contract soldiers as well as draftees complain increasingly to their families about not being paid, sufficiently fed and adequately provided with army clothing and even weapons. As their wives and mothers reveal to the Sibir.Realii [Siberia.Reality] online media outlet, they hardly make ends meet at home, struggling to collect humanitarian aid for their husbands and sons who would otherwise “starve and freeze” at the front lines.
In the Khabarovsk region the mobilized and their families will be entitled to a reduction of costs for installing a gas line for their homes, reports Governor Mikhail Degtyarev. A proportion of such costs will be covered by the regional administration.
The pro-war Telegram channel Soldatskiye vdovy Rossii [Soldier's Widows of Russia] reports that death gratuity payments allegedly contribute to the growth of the economy in villages and small towns. In such settlements, remote from regional and district centers, there are a lot of persistent issues, i.e. the lack of money, roads, schools and even shops. The amount of death gratuity is quite sufficient by the locals’ standards. Having received it , widows of servicemen try to organize their everyday lives, make repairs at home, provide children with more decent living conditions, and all these, of course, affect local budgets. There is no confirmation of this information based on economic statistics though.
A father of three, Dmitry Antipin from Volgograd, whom we mentioned in our previous summaries, did return home. The issue was resolved positively only at a meeting of the Parliamentary Coordinating Group on "special military operation" issues in the Ministry of Defense.
Mobilized soldiers from Yeysk, Krasnodar region, received New Year's gifts with a spruce twig, a bar of soap, a candle, cereals, tinned stew and poems at the front. According to a female reader of iStories [independent Russian investigative media outlet], who sent the video, her husband was mobilized on Oct. 17, and a week later he was sent to Volnovakha, Donetsk region. “As soon as shelling starts, their commanders get into their cars and leave,” he tells his wife.
On Dec. 29, in the village of Yezhovo in Mari El [Russia’s constituent republic], a farewell ceremony was held for mobilized soldier Yevgeny Plotnikov, who was killed in the war. Nikolai Kulnev, a mobilized soldier from Kashira, Moscow region, was also killed in the war. A serviceman from Bashkiria [Russia’s constituent republic] says that he is on the frontline and asks to pray for him. He calls to stop thinking about the New Year and girls and describes how scary it is in the war. 35-year-old mobilized soldier Vitaly Demakov wasn't able to keep his promise to his daughters. On Dec. 26, Vitaly was reported to had been killed in the war.
Russia’s Ministry of Defense published a video of another “telebridge” organized for the military personnel of the Central Military District. This time the relatives gathered in the city of Kazan exchanged words of support and holiday greetings with the soldiers. Meanwhile, logistics specialists helped draftees to equip a field camp in the “special military operation” zone, including bunk beds, as well as facilities for storing clothing, cooking, and bath and laundry.
Enthusiasts of the Gorno-Altai City Council of Veterans collected parcels with knitted woolen socks and sent them to the war zone. While grandmothers and schoolchildren are knitting socks and sewing clothes for military personnel across the country, Torozh gold embroiderers are manually embroidering souvenir mittens for the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Kindergarteners from the Glushkovsky district draw postcards for military personnel. Meanwhile, Kursk became one of the first cities where "baby troops” appeared. The day before, “cadets” from Kindergarten No. 11 performed together with cadets from the military training center of the Southwest State University and school cadets at a charity fair. In the Novosibirsk Akademgorodok, a snow town was built on the territory of the Novosibirsk Military Command Academy.