Russia’s State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly] will consider imposing harsher criminal penalties on draft dodgers. On Feb. 10, the initiative was supported by the Legislative Assembly of the Penza region. From there on, the bill will be submitted for review at the federal level. Most members voted in favor of the proposal to amend Article 328 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation and, in particular, to increase the fine for draft evasion from 200 thousand to 500 thousand rubles and to extend the term of imprisonment from two to four years.
76.RU [Yaroslavl regional news web portal] called the hotline of the Russian Ministry of Defense and asked whether citizens drafted under “partial” mobilization can get involved in combat missions on the first lines of defense. The response was as follows: “The hotline was actually set up to help families trace soldiers missing in action. As to the draftees having to take part in combat missions… Well, they will be participating in hostilities anyway. They are mostly deployed at the second line, but you know, anyone can get hit by a strike. No one guarantees that mobilized soldiers will not be thrown into combat”.
In our recent summary, we wrote that Maxim Ivanov, the Russian State Duma member representing the Sverdlovsk region, dealt with issues of payments to draftees and, in particular, reported that many of them had not been paid for the period from the end of September to mid-October 2022. On Feb. 10, Ivanov published the following post on his Telegram channel: “The first results are encouraging. As of today, relatives of mobilized soldiers have started to massively report in personal messages that recalculations were made and the draftees received money for the first days of their services in September and at the beginning of October.”
Over the past year, about 50 residents of Tyumen brought legal action against draft offices and other subordinate institutions of the Ministry of Defense. They wanted to challenge the decisions, actions, or omissions of the military authorities. However, most of them failed to establish their cases. “48 administrative lawsuits have been considered. Of which, 10 were satisfied, 2 were partially satisfied, and 38 were rejected,” the Administration of Justice Department of the Tyumen region reported. The number of rejected cases included several cases from the previous year.
Mobilized men from Samara have had no notes in their military IDs that would indicate that they participated in the “special military operation.” This was stated by their wives at a meeting with the governor. The lack of such notes may affect the amount of payments. According to the message from the government, both the governor and the State Duma member Dmitry Kuznetsov are monitoring the situation; the latter announced in his Telegram channel that he had written letters to the Ministry of Defense, the Prosecutor General's Office, and the Parliamentary Coordination Group on the “special military operation”. According to the latest information, work on making the proper notes in the military IDs of the mobilized soldiers from Samara has already begun.
Information about the deaths of mobilized soldiers in the war in Ukraine continues to be reported. 48-year-old mobilized Nikolay Sumarokov from the Zabaykalsky region, 39-year-old Maksim Nesterov from Tyumen, 26-year-old Aleksxey Makarov from Omsk, 38-year-old Aleksey Mikharev from the Yaroslavl region, and 25-year-old Aleksandr Trubitsyn from the Novosibirsk region have been added to the list of the killed. Names of two more soldiers killed as a result of the strike on Makiivka also became known: Ruslan Musukulov and Renat Akzyanov. Thus, the list contains the names of 107 people.
42-year-old draftee from St. Petersburg Aleksey left his military unit in the Luhansk region, taking with him an AK-74 rifle and ammunition rounds for it. He informed his fellow soldiers that he had gone home. Police in the Rostov, Belgorod, and Voronezh regions are now searching for servicemen. In Tyumen, police are searching for another mobilized serviceman, Vladimir N., who escaped from his place of service in the combat zone after his ex-girlfriend called him and threatened that she would get married if Vladimir did not return home.
Draftee Aleksandr Leshkov, who assaulted an officer in the Patriot park near Moscow, received a harsher sentence. In January, the serviceman was sentenced to 5.5 years in a maximum security penal colony for "battery on an officer." Today, the Second Western District Military Court upgraded the punishment to 7 years.
In Omsk, a man tried to set a military commissariat [enlistment office] on fire. Anton P., 32, broke the second-floor window of the commissariat and threw Molotov cocktails inside, but nothing caught fire. He now faces up to 5 years in prison for intentionally destroying or damaging property. Mikhail Balabanov, 20, a Kazan resident accused of setting fire to a military commissariat in the Stavropol region, was registered with Rosfinmonitoring [Federal Financial Monitoring Service of the Russian Federation] as a "terrorist and extremist" restricting his rights to use cash funds.
Authorities are investigating the poets Artyom Kamardin, Nikolay Daineko, and Egor Shtovba, who took part in the Mayakovskie Chteniya [Mayakovsky Readings] event for possible violations of the article 280.4 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation on “public appeals to actions aimed at damaging national security” due to the poets’ pleas to the public not to take draft notices and not to show up to military commissariats during “partial” mobilization. The poets are facing up to 7 years in prison.
Centers of support for “special military operation” combatants and their family members will be created in all districts of the Prikamye region. The centers will be called Pomosh Zdes [Help is Here] and will start operations on Feb. 17. Family members of contracted and mobilized soldiers, volunteer fighters as well as veterans of the war needing rehabilitation can all seek assistance at such centers.
Entrepreneurs from the town of Artyom in the Primorye region have sent four SUVs to the fighters currently deployed in the area of the “special military operation.” Rations, medications, clothes, personal hygiene items, and sleeping bags, along with letters and crafts from schoolchildren, accompany the vehicles to the frontline. The aid is planned to be delivered soon. Activists of the Molodaya Gvardiya [Young Guard, a pro-government youth organization within the United Russia party], together with the Governor of the region Oleg Kozhemyako have sent tactical helmets with headsets to the Primorye region fighters of the “Tigr” Volunteer Battalion. Yet another batch of aid from residents of Vladivostok and letters from kids are accompanying the gear to the frontline. Medical students of Vladivostok are collecting aid for the combatants of the “special military operation.” “We will be collecting medications, personal hygiene items, and rations,” the rector of the university stated. While in Asbest in the Sverdlovsk region, residents of a multi-unit apartment building put together a package specifically for their mobilized neighbor. Perm’s senior citizens took part in the Teplo Dlya Geroya [Warmth for a Hero] event. The women of the Motovilikhinsky district knitted 300 pairs of socks for “special military operation” combatants. While in the Zabaykalsky region, collections of buuz (traditional Buryat meat-based dish) are taking place until Feb. 20 — the dish will become a gift for “special military operation” combatants for Sagaalgan (Buddhist new year celebrated in Buryatia constituent republic).
Officials from the town of Shelekhov in the Irkutsk region described what mobilized men lacked at the front to their relatives. The most needed items include optical sights, quadcopter drones, thermal goggles, and camouflage nettings. “They really need camouflage nettings. When we visited [our] soldiers, we witnessed them drawing lots for who would get a camouflage netting received as part of humanitarian aid”, said one of the officials.
In a January post on his Telegram channel, Speaker of the Russian State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin called for more severe punishment for Russian citizens who had gone abroad and were criticizing their native country. In his view, the Criminal Code needs to be amended to allow authorities to confiscate assets from such people. The Takie Dela [So It Goes] news outlet asked Konstantin Vorobyev, an attorney for the Nuzhna Pomosch [Help Needed] charity fund, to explain when and how the state could seize property and how people who had left the country could protect themselves [from their assets being forfeited].