President Putin has given instructions to grant veteran status to individuals who fought in Ukraine without a contract, as well as to pay compensation to the families of fallen soldiers no later than three months after a claim submission, or to notify its rejection within the same period. Furthermore, the president called for the harmonization of benefits provided to all families of recipients of the Hero of Russia award, whether they have received it posthumously or not.
Speaking at a meeting with students who took part in the "special military operation," Putin claimed that approximately 600,000 individuals were currently deployed to the frontline. Previously, at a press conference on Dec. 14, 2023, Putin had asserted that 617,000 were deployed.
Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has signed a resolution simplifying the medical examination process for volunteers wishing to conclude a contract with the Ministry of Defense. Previously consisting of two steps—preliminary examination at the municipal draft office and a final examination at the regional level—the process has been streamlined. Now, state medical institutions will conduct a single medical examination.
Bashkir activist Dim Davletkildin, who was arrested and charged with participating in mass unrest following the people’s gathering in Baymak, Bashkortostan [Russia's constituent republic], has been hospitalized in critical condition. According to relatives, law enforcement officers beat him to extract testimony. He is currently in a hospital in Ufa.
Additionally, it has been reported that Rifat Dautov, who was also detained for participating in the protests, has died. Dautov disappeared on Jan. 25 after being apprehended by riot police, and the next day his family was summoned to the morgue for body identification, as Dautov allegedly was found dead "with indications of severe alcohol intoxication and cardiac arrest." However, his sister was denied access to identify the body upon her arrival at the morgue. Activist Tagir Vakhitov asserts that Dautov died in a police van en route to Ufa. The death of Dautov was confirmed by lawyer Ilnur Suyundukov.
A court in Ufa has ordered the pre-trial detention of six more participants of the Baymak rally until March 17. They are accused of participating in mass riots. One of the detainees is Ilyas Baiguskarov, while the identities of the remaining five are currently unknown.
According to the OVD-Info independent human rights project, at least 22 residents of Bashkortostan have become suspects in criminal cases related to the protests that ensued after the sentencing of environmental activist Fail Alsynov. Almost all of those detained have already been charged with organizing mass riots or participating in them, as well as using violence against police officers. Additionally, there are 122 administrative cases against protesters, with most of them accused of disobedience to the police or violation of rally laws, resulting in many being arrested for up to 15 days.
Based on open sources, journalists from Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] and BBC News Russian, along with volunteers, have confirmed the deaths of 43,014 men in the war with Ukraine, including 5,169 mobilized soldiers. In the past week, the list has been updated with 730 more military personnel, including 80 mobilized soldiers. In total, nearly 50% of all combat losses in Russia are now accounted for by men who joined the war as civilians after the full-scale invasion began.
Residents of the city of Astrakhan, whose relatives served in the Storm-Z unit, have submitted an appeal to Putin requesting recognition of the fighters as full-fledged participants in the "special military operation" and the provision of promised social guarantees and payments. Currently, ex-convicts receive a salary that is half of what was promised during recruitment. They also face challenges in accessing free medical treatment in military hospitals and do not qualify for compensation in case of injury or death.
The deputy health minister of the Novosibirsk region, Lada Shalygina, stated that approximately 90% of participants in the war with Ukraine are returning with post-traumatic stress disorder. She mentioned that about 300 people have sought help from psychologists. According to local authorities, as of the fall of 2022, around 2,000 residents of the region, including mobilized soldiers and volunteer fighters, went to the war in Ukraine, and it is likely that this number increased in 2023.
The family of paratrooper Viktor Filonov, serving at the 76th Air Assault Division, adopted Oleg, a 7-year-old boy brought to Russia from the Donetsk region in 2022. In February and March, 2022, the 76th Division participated in the events involving the murder of civilians in Bucha and other Ukrainian cities. Filonov himself has been entered into the database maintained by the Ukrainian war crime-tracking website Myrotvorets. His wife heads the Pskov branch of the pro-Russian government Committee of the Families of the Fatherland Warriors. One of her brothers was killed in the war, and another is still fighting. Filonov is planning to return to the front once he recovers from a combat wound.
The Ostorozhno, Novosti [Beware the News] Telegram channel reported that law enforcement in the Vologda region are seeking to detain Aleksandr Kurtyshev, 39, a participant in the war with Ukraine, on aggravated assault charges. Kurtyshev was recruited to fight in the war from a penal colony, and the alleged crime occurred during his leave. According to the publication, Kurtyshev has been tried multiple times, and in 2017, he was sentenced to 19 years in a penal colony for murdering two people. Reportedly, Kurtyshev has now been arrested.
According to the Astra Telegram channel, a 33-year-old contract soldier serving at the 810th Naval Infantry Brigade went AWOL in Crimea during a firearms training session, taking an assault rifle with him but no ammunition. In just a few hours, the service member was already detained in the town of Dzhankoi and is now facing up to 5 years behind bars.
The Garrison Military Court in Novosibirsk has issued several verdicts for military personnel charged with going AWOL:
- Ravil Karetin, a mobilized soldier and the sole provider for his family of five children, was sentenced to a 5-year probation for leaving his unit for over a month during the mobilization period. Despite his family responsibilities, Karetin had been mobilized. Upon receiving leave, he decided to stay home and assist his spouse. Nearly six months later, he voluntarily reported to the military investigative department of the Russian Investigative Committee.
- Sergey Gordobakin, another mobilized soldier, received a 5-year probation. In the spring of 2023, Gordobakin did not return from leave and stayed in Novosibirsk with his wife and her two children. He was apprehended by the military police in August. Despite his earlier absence, Gordobakin expressed his willingness to participate in the "special military operation."
- Stanislav Baluev, a mobilized soldier, ran away from the tent camp to go to the hospital on Jan 27, 2023. After six months of treatment, he voluntarily reported to the commandant's office, and the medical commission declared him fit for service. In November, he signed a contract and informed the court that he was ready to return to the "special military operation," consequently receiving a 5-year probation sentence.
- Vadim Danilov, a contract soldier and platoon commander, has been sentenced to 3 years on probation. He did not return from leave because his adult son needed constant care. The court decided that the child's mother could handle it herself, despite residing in another locality.
- Nikita Nikolaev, a mobilized soldier, requested permission from the command to leave because his mother had undergone surgery. Despite the denial, he left the unit on his own. In August 2023, he wrote a confession and was subsequently sentenced to 5 years on probation.
In the town of Zheleznogorsk-Ilimsky, Irkutsk region, law enforcement officers have detained a 19-year-old young man suspected of involvement in terrorist activities. A criminal case has been initiated against the detainee. It is reported that the security forces identified the young man based on denunciation provided by an acquaintance.
In Moscow, the court reviewed petitions for the arrest of two individuals implicated in a sabotage case. Mediazona brought attention to the court proceedings. The accused in the case are identified as E.V. Melnikov and M.I. Sidorov. The case materials reached the court on Jan. 26, and on the same day, the court granted the arrest requests. Details of the charges remain undisclosed.
According to Astra, on Jan. 21 in Sovetsk, Kaliningrad region, a 20-year-old named Ruslan M. was detained while attempting to cross the border via the Neman River. According to law enforcement, he intended to join the "Freedom of Russia Legion" or the Russian Volunteer Corps to fight on the side of Ukraine. A criminal case has been initiated against the young man for attempting to participate in a terrorist organization.
The Sambat Samara-based organization, which provides support to Russian soldiers, has acknowledged that the supplies discovered in the dump in the city of Amvrosiivka were sent by this organization. At the same time, the details of how these supplies ended up in the dump remain unknown. Additionally, Andrey A., a mobilized soldier from the Nizhny Novgorod region, complained that for the New Year, he and his fellow residents received defective power banks as gifts from the governor.
In the Tver region, the Federal Bailiff Service employees are forced to donate money to support Russian soldiers. Additionally, in the Magadan region, the Federal Taxation Service employees weave camouflage nets, manufacture trench candles, and raise funds for additional equipment, gear and technology for the servicemen.
The RANEPA students [the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration] who participated in the war with Ukraine will be transferred to a state-funded education program, as announced by the academy's rector during Student Day congratulations. Additionally, The Civic Chamber of the Zabaykalsky region [Russia's federal subject] supported the introduction of benefits for volunteers assisting Russian soldiers. The specific benefits that volunteers will receive are not disclosed.
A modern battle was re-enacted with the use of combat drones developed by students of the "Quantorium-33" Technopark in the military unit in the city of Kovrov, Vladimir region.
In the Altai region [Russia’s federal subject], fifth graders from a local school participated in a military-themed game called "We Know and Remember This" at the children's library. Initially, the children were told about the history of the Siege of Leningrad, followed by active competitions related to the events of the blockade. During the game, students competed in rationing out a piece of bread among themselves and buying goods necessary for winter in the besieged city.
The children of the Cossack kindergarten in the Novoplatnirovskaya village, the Krasnodar region, were engaged in making trench candles.
A campaign called "Water is the Source of Life" took place at the kindergarten in Irkutsk. Parents are required to gather water for the military.
The pro-government All-Russia People's Front movement is looking for students to send to occupied territories. They need individuals with driver's licenses and skills in construction and electrical work.
The Ministry of Education has reported that four individuals from Novosibirsk who returned from the war have retrained for professions that allow them to teach in schools or colleges. Additionally, 24 people have applied to acquire jobs in industrial sectors.
As of Oct. 1, 2023, executives of companies who fail to provide lists of employees subject to military service to draft offices may face fines amounting to several hundred thousand rubles. This puts businesses at risk of inspections. Despite this, many companies are making efforts to shield men from military service. HR professionals categorize employees based on their vulnerability to conscription, designate them as self-employed, or retroactively terminate their employment. The Cherta media outlet has investigated how this happens.
The Vot Tak [Like This] media outlet has prepared a material about Sergey, a contract soldier who, after the announcement of mobilization, fled the army and illegally crossed the Russian-Estonian border with his brother.