The government’s legislative commission has endorsed a bill, introduced by members of Putin's ruling United Russia party, to amend legislation on asset seizure. The proposed amendments include adding the spreading of "fake news" about the army and publicly inciting actions against the security of the state, such as encouraging desertion, to the list of crimes that may be punished by confiscating property. If passed, courts might order assets to be seized if they determine that a defendant committed one of these crimes for personal gain. Moreover, the bill authors propose to treat all acts of sabotage as offenses against the security of the state.
In Kamchatka, authorities have charged Alexandra Novikova, a member of the regional parliament and former journalist at the regional television and radio company, with discrediting the Russian Army. They claim Novikova reposted the video address of a serviceman from Kamchatka, who blamed Governor Vladimir Solodov for inadequate equipment and training. In September 2022, the authorities mobilized Novikova’s husband, who has been serving in Ukraine since then. In an interview with the Sibir.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet, Novikova accused Sergey Nekhaev, Deputy Governor of the Kamchatka region, of denouncing her. The Put Domoy [Way Home] Telegram channel came out in support of Novikova and called on the courts to "dismiss misdemeanor charges."
Tver Governor Igor Rudenya has announced that the region will now pay a 305,000 rubles [$3,440] sign-up bonus to those who enlist. Previously, the bonus amount was 100,000 rubles [$1,130]. Rudenya emphasized that the recruitment activity is a "priority for the government of the Tver region." It is worth noting that the regional budget for 2024 had been approved with a deficit of 6.3%.
Military investigators and draft office officials in the town of Yurga, Kemerovo region, identified six men during a raid who had recently acquired Russian citizenship but had not registered for military service. These individuals were subsequently brought to the draft office. The raid was conducted "in connection with the upcoming spring conscription." According to authorities, in 2023, 18 men evaded military registration in Yurga.
As reported by the Vyorstka media outlet, the Ministry of Internal Affairs recorded over 589,000 grave and aggravated crimes in Russia in 2023, marking a record since 2011. The highest number of crimes was registered in Moscow—50,196. The Moscow region ranked second with 22,212, and the Krasnodar region took third place with 21,671. Notably, the Belgorod region, bordering Ukraine, also experienced a record number of such crimes in 2023, with 5,614 identified, representing a 29% increase compared to 2022 and marking the highest value since at least 2010.
Alexander Bastrykin, the head of the Investigative Committee of Russia, announced that since 2022, 273 cases related to the "dissemination of knowingly false information about the Russian Armed Forces have been initiated in Russia. A total of 134 cases involving 136 individuals have been sent to the courts. However, according to the count by the OVD-Info independent human rights project, 261 individuals are facing charges related to "fake news" about the army. Bastrykin also reported 81 criminal cases under the charge of "defamation of the Russian Army," with 44 cases involving 45 individuals already sent to the courts. According to OVD-Info, 155 people are persecuted under this charge. At least half of the convictions for "fake news" were issued due to statements about the murder of civilians in Ukraine, including crimes in Bucha and the strike on a maternity hospital in the city of Mariupol, as previously revealed by Vyorstka.
In Saint Petersburg, 108 individuals were prosecuted under the charge of unauthorized abandonment of military service or duty station in 2023. According to the Bumaga [Paper] independent media outlet, this marks a record number, with 17 times more cases brought to court last year than in the past 10 years. The court announced 85 guilty verdicts, of which 69 became effective. On average, military personnel received six years of imprisonment in a penal colony. However, not a single acquittal under this charge was announced in Saint Petersburg throughout the year.
In the Sakhalin region, soldier Denis Aglicheev was sentenced to two years and nine months in prison for refusing to obey an order. According to the military court's verdict, in August 2023, Aglicheev refused to comply with the commander's order to be sent to a combat zone, "casting doubt on the principle of individual leadership," which "negatively affected the state of military discipline."
In the Krasnodar region, contract soldier Aleksandr Fyodorov, has been given a two-year suspended sentence for theft. The court took into account Fyodorov's participation in the war with Ukraine and his status as a combat veteran. However, his two accomplices received actual sentences of two and a half years and three years in a penal settlement. The nature of their connection to the army is not disclosed, but for each episode, they faced up to ten years of imprisonment.
Dovod [independent Russian media outlet] highlighted the Garrison Military Court in Vladimir regularly holding soldiers accountable for disciplinary violations related to using mobile phones on the territory of military facilities. Most of the published decisions are associated with this offense. In 2023, the court reviewed 95 disciplinary cases, and some of the implicated military personnel received 10 days of disciplinary arrest.
In the Vladimir region, the Federal Security Service (FSB) initiated a criminal case against an employee of a Kovrov city enterprise, presumably V.A.Degtyarev Plant. The individual left Russia after the announcement of mobilization, despite having clearance for state secrets. Investigators reveal that the man obtained clearance in 2021 and agreed not to leave the Russian Federation for five years. He resigned from the enterprise in July 2022. It is not reported whether the man is currently in Russia.
In Udmurtia [Russia's constituent republic], the FSB initiated a criminal case under the charge of treason against a female resident of Izhevsk. The woman is suspected of participating in the activities of one of the "Ukrainian paramilitary terrorist organizations" banned in Russia. Under this charge, the woman faces up to 20 years of imprisonment.
The authorities of Karelia [Russia’s constituent republic] allocated accommodation in a dilapidated barracks for the mother of a 24-year-old conscript who had died on the Moskva guided missile cruiser. At the beginning of 2024, the woman's house burned down, and recently, the head of the Medvezhyegorsky district reported the allocation of housing to her from a temporary public fund. However, in a post on the official VKontakte social network page, a photo of another, much better-maintained, part of the house where other people live was demonstrated. The housing for the sailor's mother, located on the opposite side of the house, does not look as good.
At the Irkutsk airport, donation boxes have been installed to raise funds for a rehabilitation center for military personnel worth over 700 million rubles [$7.91 million]. The funds are being collected by the Tayga public organization, which allegedly focuses on rehabilitating participants in anti-terrorism operations. Aleksandr Rossov, the head of Tayga, stated that the center will be able to treat 200 people simultaneously, and the airport boxes serve only an advertising function; he does not expect to collect almost a billion rubles through donations.
The former mayor of Bolshoy Kamen in Russia's Far East, Rustyam Abushaev, has been awarded the "For Courage" medal by the governor of the Primorsky region [Russia's federal subject]. This is Abushaev's third award, obtained while serving on the frontline after escaping from criminal prosecution for large-scale fraud and illegal entrepreneurship. In December 2023, he received the "For Bravery" medal. According to a resident of the Primorsky region who met Abushaev on the frontline, he currently serves as a record clerk in a military unit.
Since the mobilization started, Garrison Military Courts in Siberia have received at least 238 lawsuits challenging decisions related to discharge from service. The highest number of applications was filed in the Altai region [Russia’s federal subject] and Buryatia [Russia's constituent republic]. The Siberian Express Telegram channel examined court decisions on lawsuits challenging the legality of discharge refusals linked to the ongoing mobilization decree.
Novaya Gazeta Europe [European edition of the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta] has released a report from the Astrakhan region, seeking to understand the motivations behind ethnic Kazakhs from this region who voluntarily go to Ukraine to fight and risk their lives, without any coercion.