A group of lawmakers in the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] has introduced a bill aimed at increasing the conscription age limit for naturalized citizens to 50. In the accompanying explanatory note, the authors stated that foreigners applying for Russian citizenship often evade military registration or deliberately delay their application until after reaching 30, the current conscription age limit. Vyacheslav Volodin, Speaker of the State Duma, criticized the legislative initiative and urged its authors to withdraw it. By the end of the day on Feb. 2, all authors had revoked their signatures.
The Federal Security Service (FSB) has prepared a draft amendment to the Regulation on Conscription for Military Service, allowing the agency to use its own criteria for selecting conscripts from draft offices. The document specifically mentions that the draft board's decision will consider "the recruiting needs of security agencies to build up their reserve of military specialists." Previously, the FSB had gained the ability to have conscripts perform their compulsory military service within its ranks, when the Federal Assembly adopted several related bills concerning Rosgvardia [the Russian National Guard].
Police boosted their presence in the center of Moscow, bringing in additional forces ahead of Friday Muslim prayers in anticipation of riots in support of protests in Bashkortostan [Russia's constituent republic]. Earlier, calls to join protests near the mosque on Bolshaya Tatarskaya Street circulated on social media. On Friday, the mosque was fenced off while dozens of law enforcement agents showed up with police vans and erected metal detectors to screen the worshippers. The visitors were warned "to stay away from any eventual public disorders in the midst of the special military operation and presidential election campaign."
The wife of Bashkir activist Ildar Yumagulov was taken into custody following a police search of their family home. Their six children were left alone as Yumagulov himself had previously left the republic due to political persecution.
The Supreme Court of Bashkortostan reduced the term of administrative arrest for 73-year-old resident of Bashkortostan Yulay Karimov from eleven to two days. The man was charged for participating in an unauthorized rally after attending the protests in Baymak on Jan. 17.
The wives of the mobilized individuals from the Put Domoy [Way Home] movement have called upon all those who care, to take part in the rally at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow on Feb. 3, on the 500th day of mobilization. The rally is planned to begin at 12 p.m. According to the organizers, the rally will be different from all the events held before. As a reminder, the women have already held eight events laying flowers.
The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Yevgeny Zagonyach, Kirill Astaykin, Vyacheslav Ivanov, and Sergey Sorokovikov from Buryatia [Russia's constituent republic], Aleksandr Bartosh, Boris Baydoyev, and Aleksandr Kuranov from the Irkutsk region, and Aleksandr Martynov from the Kirov region.
Based on open sources, Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] and BBC News Russian, together with volunteers, have verified the names of 43,460 Russian fighters, including 5,216 mobilized soldiers, killed in Ukraine. In the past week, 446 servicemen, including 47 mobilized soldiers, were added to the list.
According to Vazhnyye Istorii [Istories, independent Russian investigative media outlet], Russian courts have declared 921 soldiers missing in Ukraine as deceased. In most cases, these lawsuits are filed by relatives seeking compensation and benefits from the Ministry of Defense. Some of them admit they are seeking court acknowledgment of death out of desperation.
The mother of a serviceman from the Penza region is complaining about the commanding officers who refuse to search for her son, missing in the war zone for more than three months. The man signed a contract in the fall of 2023, and on Nov. 12, he did not return from a combat mission. According to his fellow soldiers, he was wounded and sent to a hospital; however, the command immediately reported him as missing and did not add him to the search database. According to the woman, there have been 360 men listed as missing since October.
Despite a medical evaluation board's decision, Aleksandr Kotov, a 43-year-old mobilized soldier from Moscow, is being sent back to a combat zone. Six months ago, Kotov sustained a severe leg injury and has since been treated in hospitals, now reliant on crutches for mobility. On Jan. 23, medical professionals assigned him to service fitness category "V" (limited fit for military service) and prescribed long-term rehabilitation. However, despite the diagnoses, he was redeployed to the frontline on Feb. 1.
A 33-year-old military service member has been detained after attempting to sell a drone, registered with the Ministry of Defense, on an online marketplace. The man posted an advertisement for a DJI Mavic 2 civilian aerial reconnaissance drone, seeking $4,430. The ad caught the attention of the FSB, who verified the serial number and discovered that the drone was listed in the Ministry of Defense's inventory. The seller, responsible for the drone's storage, was detained on Feb. 1.
In Buryatia and Irkutsk region, there has been a surge in convictions for going AWOL in the past year, with Buryatia tripling its number of such verdicts in 2023 compared to the previous year. The Lyudi Baikala [People of Baikal] independent media outlet, has analyzed these verdicts and unveiled why soldiers flee their service and the penalties they face. According to the verdicts, in cases involving war participants, courts have consistently assigned sentences below the minimum threshold. Meanwhile, the servicemen themselves claim they had plans to return to their units after a brief "break" to avoid facing harsher charges of desertion.
Garrison Military Courts of the Southern Military District have considered several cases involving military personnel accused of going AWOL during mobilization and combat operations.
The Borzya Garrison Military Court has sentenced soldier Sergey Volokitin to two years and three months in a penal settlement for failure to execute orders during combat operations. This is at least the third (1, 2) verdict of this court on charges of failure to execute orders in the past week.
The Saint Petersburg City Court has sentenced Viacheslav Zaitsev, a 19-year-old local resident, to eight years in prison for sabotage. According to prosecutors, on March 17, 2023, Zaitsev set fire to a relay cabinet near the Gorelovo station. Unknown individuals offered him a reward of 10,000 rubles [$110] for this act. During the previous court session, Zaitsev's lawyers stated that he had not intended to hinder the course of the war but had only wanted to earn money. Zaitsev pleaded guilty and expressed his desire to participate in the "special military operation," as reported by his lawyers.
Anna Zeladina, a 28-year-old library employee, has been fined 50,000 rubles [$550] by a court in Saint Petersburg for failing to report a crime. Zeladina is a friend of Maksim Asriyan, a male nurse who was previously charged with preparing an act of terror and treason and was sentenced to eight years in a penal colony. According to the prosecution, Asriyan asked Zeladina to buy a flammable substance and shared his plans to set fire to a military commissariat [enlistment office]. The woman fulfilled Asriyan’s request and did not report this to law enforcement.
Meanwhile, a court in Belgorod sent Nadezhda Rossinskaya, a volunteer who helped Ukrainian refugees, to a pre-trial detention center. She was detained on Feb. 1 and accused of promoting a donation campaign for the Azov Brigade. However, Rossinskaya denies owning the account that posted the message in question.
Andrey Balashov, a resident of Tolyatti [Samara region], was detained by the FSB in the Stavropol region in January. He is suspected of attempting to commit arson by detonating a fuel tank heading to the frontline. Balashov is currently in pre-trial detention and has been charged with preparing an act of terror. Furthermore, Balashov has been added to the list of terrorists and extremists. The Idel.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet has interviewed his common-law wife.
Izhevsky Venik, a media outlet from Udmurtia [Russia’s constituent republic], reported an attack on a journalist covering the production of drones in the region. Journalists said that on the night of Jan. 28, their colleague Aleksandr Skvortsov allegedly went to collect material from a source. He was abducted by three unidentified men and taken to a basement. There, one of the kidnappers "clearly explained" that Zala Aero (the company involved in the production of drones) should not be investigated. A day later, the journalist was released. He sought help from doctors and the police, but did not receive assistance. He then stopped communicating with the editorial team. On Feb. 2, a video emerged in which Skvortsov claimed to be working as an assembler and had nothing to do with journalism.
BBC News Russian has identified the name of the Bryansk resident, sentenced to 13 years for treason and the arson of a relay cabinet as Dmitry Prokhorenko. He pleaded guilty and reached an agreement with the investigation.
The court reclassified the case of Semyon Zenkov, accused of intentional damage to property by a public hazard method for setting fire to a relay cabinet on the railroad near Kondakopshino in the Leningrad region. Zenkov is now charged with sabotage.
The Prosecutor's Office is demanding an increase in the sentence for Ruslan Zinin, who shot a military commissioner in Ust-Ilimsk, to 20 years of imprisonment. He had previously been sentenced to 19 years in a penal colony.
In November 2023, schoolboy Yegor Balazeykin from Saint Petersburg was sentenced to six years in a penal colony for attempting to set fire to the draft office. Now authorities are raising concerns about his parents: they have been issued an administrative warning for "inadequate control over a minor." Meanwhile, Yegor's health continues to deteriorate.
Blank forms for "donations to the special military operation" have been distributed to the employees of the Legislative Assembly of Karelia [Russia's constituent republic]. Employees are encouraged to deduct money from their salaries as donations for participants in the "special military operation."
Russian Deputy Minister of Education Tatyana Vasilyeva reported that the industrial arts curriculum in schools will include a module on drone design.
The government has allocated almost 300 million rubles [$3.32 million] to provide schools and colleges in the Vladimir region with equipment for studying UAVs. From 2024, Vladimir State University will also offer Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Specialist degrees.
Dmitry Kuznetsov, a State Duma member and Head of the Coordinating Headquarters for Assistance to Mobilized Soldiers and Their Families, proposed creating a children's Akhmat battalion. According to his proposal, the battalion will promote ethnic solidarity. Most of the children will be from Chechnya [Russia's constituent republic], with the rest being "from all over Russia."
The son of a war veteran, who got into Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology with test scores three times lower than the requirement, was expelled following his first semester finals. The university stated that he would be able to re-enroll an unlimited number of times as a child of a war veteran.
Russia has spent over 1.2 billion rubles [$13.28 million] on monuments commemorating the war in Ukraine, as reported by the Agentstvo.Novosti [Agency News] Telegram channel. Authorities have announced the unveiling of 20 monuments in total. Meanwhile, officials in the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region–Yugra have sent regional officials for firearms training.
In the Altai region, the polling stations in the upcoming presidential elections will be named after participants in the war with Ukraine.
Members of the territorial defense forces in the Belgorod region have gone unpaid for three months. They are forced to chip in to cover the service of their colleagues and to purchase equipment and uniforms out of their own pockets.
The Sistema [System] investigative project reported on the Storm Gladiator, an "elite" unit made up of ex-convicts who have signed contracts with the Ministry of Defense. They mainly recruit unmarried men in good physical shape.
The Holod [independent Russian media outlet] published material about the "Our Way Out" project, which helps find Russian soldiers missing in Ukraine. It was organized by Irina Krynina, who, unable to obtain any information about her captured husband, went to Ukraine to find him.
The Sota media outlet found out that at least eight lawyers were killed in combat.