The Federation Council and the State Duma [upper and lower houses of Russia's Federal Assembly] will hold unscheduled sessions on Feb. 22. Head of the Council's Committee on the Rules of Procedure Vyacheslav Timchenko stated that the "integration" of the annexed regions of Ukraine into the Russian legal framework would be discussed at the session. Deputy Chairman of the Council Nikolay Zhuravlev explained why the session was shifted from Mar. 1, 2023, claiming that "it is necessary to promptly consider two critical laws" concerning the budget and taxes. The agenda of the State Duma meeting has not been disclosed.
As we reported yesterday, senior students in the Volgograd region are coerced into signing applications for conscription-related activities while holding an active deferment. The Vyorstka media outlet explained how Russian students are forced to sign up for early conscription. Military commissariats [enlistment offices], in cooperation with college administrations, now require seniors to submit applications to appear before a draft board ahead of the legal deadline. The human rights organization Shkola Prizyvnika [The School of a Conscript] recorded a number of similar cases. The messages come from regions all over Russia, said the head of the organization Aleksey Tabalov. The article also explains how to withdraw such an application.
At the Lesozavodsk Industrial Vocational School in the Primorsky region, a lecturer handed out leaflets to fourth-year students during the lesson. Young people are invited to join the Border Service of the Federal Security Service. They are promised various benefits, such as state-funded medication and treatment in Russia's medical spa resorts.
20-year-old Sergey Gridin from the town of Pechora was serving his 12-month conscription term in the 45th engineering brigade. On February 10, fellow soldiers found him hanged. They managed to snap a photo of the suicide note he left. The photo, as well as their story, was published by the Mobilizatsia [Mobilization] Telegram channel. The independent outlet Sirena reports that Gridin’s family confirmed his suicide and the contents of his note. In the note, Sergey wrote that his command had been planning to send him on a rotation to Ukraine. When he made it clear to commanders that he would not join the war, they reacted by bullying him, which eventually led him to suicide.
At least 3,700 mobilized men from Buryatia [Russia’s constituent republic] have been sent to the war against Ukraine. This estimation is based on the statement made by the Deputy Chairman of the Government of Buryatia for Security Affairs Pyotr Mordovskoy. In particular, the official announced that firewood had been delivered to 3,700 families of mobilized residents of the region. Firewood is being distributed free of charge to close relatives of military personnel, such as wives, single mothers, and elderly parents aged 60 and above. An official estimate of the number of people mobilized from Buryatia has not yet been published. According to the Free Buryatia Foundation, authorities had planned to issue and deliver as many as 6421 draft notices across the region.
The government of the Tula region and its subordinate institutions are being compelled to make donations to the Russian army. Public servants received letters with a request to support the armed forces, e.g. by donating to the VseDlyaVobedy71 [all for victory] foundation.
Deputy of the State Duma Maksim Ivanov tells the story of a wounded soldier who didn’t manage to receive the one-time injury payment due to the hospital "losing the certificate somewhere". The soldier's mother from the Pyshma district of the Yekaterinburg region complained to Ivanov that a hospital in the city of Rostov had "lost" the injury certificate of her son, who had been wounded in war, so now she couldn't submit a request to his unit's commanding officer and receive the due compensation. Family members of two more wounded fighters followed to complain to the deputy, who said he would deal with the situation by requesting help from the Military Prosecution.
More reports of casualties among the mobilized have been coming in. According to them, Sergey Bubnov from Yaroslavl, Anatoly Artyushkin from the Tyumen region, Eduard Pakhomov from Segezha, Aleksey Voloshin from Petrozavodsk, Denis Dorkin from Kostomuksha in the Karelia region, Nail Dasaev from Kazan, Aleksey Igoshin from the Vologda region and Andrey Sokurov from the Leningrad region were killed in the war in Ukraine.
The Russian MoD showed footage of Russian soldiers cooking food in the field, with a mobilized man by the call sign "Owl" making a tour of the food stores and the field kitchen.
The Sibir.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet published a report from Chystiakove (Torez), a town in the Donetsk region occupied by the Russian troops. Today, accents of Russia’s Zabaykalsky region and Buryatia can be heard everywhere in town. Apart from the Russian soldiers themselves, you can also see their wives and mothers here who come from the farthest corners of Russia to see them. A reporter of Sibir.Realii traveled from the Baikal region to Chystiakove to learn how Russians fare in the occupied town.
The Cherta [Line] news outlet tells of how a Saratov woman Victoria Kulieva was able to return her husband and the father of her three children from the war. She lost her job in the process but got her way in the end: her husband is now home.
The draftees from Samara who asked Putin to return them home have, presumably, been arrested. Two mobilized soldiers from the 1444th regiment recorded their video address to Putin about a week ago with their fellow soldiers standing in the background. Today, on Feb.15, a post appeared in a community group dedicated to supporting Samara draftees stating that the military prosecutor’s office arrested the young men pictured in the video for “discrediting the Army.” Allegedly, they were forced to record a video with an apology to the regiment personnel. It is unknown what purpose this video would serve.
A 19-year-old Krasnodar region resident has been charged with sabotage and causing damage at a railroad. According to the prosecution, in September 2022, Leon B. used Molotov cocktails to set fire to a transformer alongside the train line between the towns of Armavir and Kurganinsk. In January, he was charged with sabotage under Russian Criminal Code Article 281, Part 1. According to security officials in the Krasnodar region, Leon committed the arson in order to interrupt the supply of Russian military vehicles to the front and to protest against the “special military operation.” The young man is currently in detention. Earlier, he was charged with property damage for setting fire to a pro-war banner.
The Federal Security Service (FSB) detained a Ukrainian citizen allegedly involved in the organization of sabotage on the Moscow railway. According to the FSB, the suspect was recruited in Poland with the involvement of the Polish secret service and then sent to Russia through Latvia "for the purpose of legalization and obtaining Russian citizenship." In late November, the suspect, as claimed by the FSB, set fire to two signaling and automatic block cabinets on the railway by order of the Security Service of Ukraine.
A KAMAZ truck belonging to the center for material and technical support of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Rostov region was stopped on Feb. 11 at a customs post in Donetsk, Rostov region. The vehicle arrived in Russia from occupied Luhansk. During the search of the truck, an AK-74 and 30 rounds were found in one of the bags. The driver, an employee of the motor transport department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the Rostov region, claimed that he saw the weapon for the first time.
So-called lessons of courage in support of soldiers participating in the war with Ukraine continue to be held in schools of Chuvashia [Russia’s constituent republic]. Head of the Cheboksary administration, Denis Spirin, said that as part of one of these lessons, students from Cheboksary School No. 22 met with Afghan war veterans. A concert was also held as part of the meeting. The official did not specify how exactly such events should support soldiers in the "special military operation".
In a secondary school in the village of Elton, Volgograd region, 5 desks will be installed with the portraits and biographies of graduates of this school who met their death in the war in Ukraine. One of the students will have to look at the portrait of his killed father for the next four years.
Seventh-grade students in the Kaltan school, Kemerovo region, got involved in collecting and packing 20 boxes for the front, while kindergarteners in Lesosibirsk town, Krasnoyarsk region, were forced to make dugout candles for the Russian Army.
The church in Krasnodar does not collect money for the consecration of military aid, and the price list is fake, said the local diocese representative to the Astra Telegram channel. Meanwhile, in the town of Seltso, Bryansk region, a local priest consecrated the town volunteer center and handed over the clothes and icons, which were collected for the military by the coordination center at the St. Nicholas church.
Several passengers from the capital's airports told the Ostorozhno, Moskva [Caution, Moscow] Telegram channel about screening procedures and interrogations upon arrival to Russia. According to them, the inspection has become more thorough. Usually, it is applied to draft-age passengers, and only those who leave the country during the mobilization period are taken for additional checks. The conversation with the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers, including the wait time, takes about five hours. The CBP officer checks the messengers for the words "Ukraine", "Officer", and "Armed Forces".