Vyacheslav Volodin, Speaker of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia], announced that the bill extending the list of offenses punishable by confiscating property will be introduced into the State Duma on Jan. 22. According to Volodin, authorities are planning to use asset seizures to punish not only "discreditation of the army" and dissemination of "fake news," but a range of other offenses.
A court in Ufa [capital of Russia’s constituent Republic of Bashkortostan] has remanded Vilyur Karachurin to a pre-trial detention center following his participation in a rally supporting activist Fail Alsynov in Baymak. Authorities have charged him with incitement and participation in mass riots, as well as assaulting a law enforcement officer. Karachurin has four children, including three minors. The court has also remanded Azat Mirzin, a resident of the village of Mullakaevo, to a pre-trial detention center. He, too, faces charges of incitement to mass riots and assaulting a law enforcement officer. Furthermore, authorities have detained Ilyas Bayguskarov, an activist from Ufa who was present at the court hearing in Baymak. Initially, he was charged with a misdemeanor, but this was later upgraded to an indictment for participating in mass riots. Bayguskarov is now awaiting a hearing to determine pre-trial restrictions.
Moreover, the Kirovsky district court in Ufa heard 25 cases of failure to comply with police orders, finding all defendants guilty of misdemeanors and sentencing them accordingly. Presumably, these cases are related to the protests that took place in Ufa on Friday.
Meanwhile, in a letter written from the pre-trial detention center and published by his lawyer, Fail Alsynov called upon his supporters to "act in strict compliance with the law." In the letter, he also wrote, "Stay safe! No blood must be shed because of me. I don’t want this." Moreover, several videos emerged on social media showing military officials and public figures of the republic withdrawing their support for Alsynov, presumably intimidated by the authorities.
On Jan. 20, members of the women-led movement Put Domoy [Way Home] staged another demonstration. Again, a dozen women in white headscarves laid flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow. According to the Sota media outlet, the activists were surveilled by a dozen officers from Center E [the General Directorate for Countering Extremism of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation]. Additionally, the police conducted identity checks on four reporters covering the rally.
After laying flowers in Moscow, activists visited the public reception of Putin's campaign headquarters to inquire about when the president would sign a decree for the demobilization of their loved ones. In response to this question, one of the staff members stated that men are "warriors, unique creations of God" who "want to defend their homeland." Another suggested that this might "damage their male dignity." As noted by the Mobilizatsiya [Mobilization] Telegram channel, one of the employees of Putin's pre-election headquarters turned out to be actress Olga Burdavitsyna. Her former husband, with whom she divorced six months ago, is the former head of the Federal Security Service (FSB) in Kalmykia [Russia’s constituent republic]. During a dispute with activist Maria Andreeva, Burdavitsyna herself claimed that her husband was at war. Following the visit to the public reception, Andreeva left an "instruction" for Putin to bring mobilized soldiers home. She emphasized that her daughter is experiencing a halt in speech due to the absence of her father.
Andreeva also mentioned that the authorities responded to the requests of the relatives of mobilized soldiers, but "not in the way" they expected: on Friday, a local police officer and a Federal Protective Service employee visited her at home. She noted that the women will continue their actions until their requests are heard. Also, according to the activist, the authorities' refusal to bring her husband back from the frontline will influence her vote in the upcoming elections. In addition to Andreeva, four more participants in the movement, who regularly lay flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, reported visits from law enforcement officers. The security forces discouraged the women from participating in "unauthorized actions."
In Saint Petersburg, wives and mothers of mobilized soldiers laid flowers at the Eternal Flame on the Field of Mars. About ten women participated in the event. Plainclothes police officers photographed all those approaching the Eternal Flame (no uniformed officers were present). The women shared that most of the mobilized men had been on leave only once, and the son of one of the women spoke of pressure from his commanders after his mother's appeals to the prosecutor's office. Solo demonstrations also took place in Abakan and Vladivostok.
The Fontanka media outlet released monologues of three mobilized men's wives. They discussed their reactions to an interview with Chairman of the Defense Committee of the State Duma Andrey Kartapolov. Even though the deputy's words resonated with the women, those interviewed by Fontanka continue to hope that authorities will address the issue of demobilization.
The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Andrian Petrov from the Samara region, Ruslan Mukhitdinov and Ilgiz Khuzhakhmetov from Bashkortostan, and Vladimir Volodin from the Arkhangelsk region.
During the raid of the Russian Volunteer Corps in the Bryansk region on Jan. 18, Maksim Chernyshev, a 20-year-old conscript from Tomsk, was killed. In total, as a result of the attack, as the Astra Telegram channel found out, two Russian soldiers were killed and two more were injured.
According to Astra, 47 soldiers from the 361st Regiment, known as the "regiment for convalescents," are being dispatched to Valuyki, Belgorod region. This was reported to the Telegram channel by contract soldier Albert, about whom Astra wrote earlier. He assumes that the soldiers will be then sent to the forward positions from there.
Servicemen belonging to the 242nd Regiment, currently stationed at a training range in the Volgograd region, have complained of beatings. Reportedly placed in holes in the ground or shipping containers by their superiors, soldiers describe being subjected to physical and verbal abuse. Service members live in unsanitary conditions, get sick because their tents lack heating, and receive little to no training. Officers are allegedly regularly beating soldiers for various reasons, including tardiness for roll call, alcohol consumption, or drug use. According to one soldier, at least 12 people in their camp have died. At the same time, the commanders report to their superiors that everything is great at the camp. Earlier, CIT, in collaboration with Vazhnye Istorii [IStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet], reported on the practice of placing soldiers "in a pit." This practice, initiated in the territories of the so-called Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People's Republic (LPR), has now extended into Russia proper.
Soldiers from the 26th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the RuAF have recorded a video address to Russia’s Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu detailing their prolonged deployment near Krynky since August 2023 without leave or rotation. In addition, they say their commanders are not supplying them with necessities and outfits. They ask the minister to get involved in their situation and see that their problems be resolved.
In Murom, drunk ex-convicts recruited to fight in the war threw two of their fellow soldiers out of a window from a 7th-floor apartment. As a result, contract soldier Mikhail Monatov died, and the second serviceman is currently at the ICU. According to Monatov’s wife, the ex-convicts have been detained and are now facing new criminal charges.
The Novocherkassk court has acquitted contract sergeant Zaindi Takaev in the murder case of his fellow soldier, Private Magomed Shakhbanov. Shakhbanov was fatally shot in the head on June 6, 2022, in Pervomaisk, Luhansk region. On that day, Takaev and Shakhbanov, along with two other soldiers and two local girls, were at a barbecue. Takaev claimed that Shakhbanov was shot "from neighboring bushes." Despite the girls' assertions that Takaev was the shooter, the jury unanimously found him not guilty. Nevertheless, the prosecution and representatives of the deceased have filed an appeal, alleging that the jury may have been pressured to acquit the participant in the "special military operation."
A court in Kamchatka has convicted seven military personnel for their refusal to go to the frontline in the summer and fall of 2023. All seven were found guilty of refusing to participate in combat operations. One was sentenced to two years and one month in a penal settlement, two were given two years and two months in a penal colony each, another two received two years and three months in a penal colony each, and the last was sentenced to two years and four months in a penal settlement.
The court sentenced serviceman Igor Zhdanov, who also refused to participate in the war against Ukraine, to two years and two months in a penal settlement. Zhdanov, who has five dependents including four minors, was found guilty of failing to execute orders. He defended his refusal in court, citing his challenging family situation.
The military hospital in Omsk is experiencing a shortage of crutches and wheelchairs for soldiers returning from Ukraine. One patient has recorded a video address, appealing for assistance due to the lack of medical equipment in the hospital. Local Ministry of Health officials have declared their inability to assist, stating that the hospital falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defense.
In the Vladimir region, the youth organization Molodaya Gvardiya, [the Young Guard], affiliated with the United Russia party, reported that students in the Vladimir region helped clear snow from the grave of 19-year-old Danila Bezrukov. Bezrukov, a local resident, was killed in the conflict with Ukraine on Jan. 24, 2023, becoming the fifth soldier from the region to die at age 19 in the war.
Journalist Marina Belskih from the Novaya Vkladka [New Tab] media outlet spoke with representatives from several regional charitable organizations and experts. They discussed why non-governmental organizations, previously focused on aiding children, the elderly, and women, are now shifting their support to the frontline.