The State Assembly of Russia’s constituent Republic of Bashkortostan has submitted a bill to the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] proposing changes to the burial protocol for participants of the war. According to existing norms, officers of the Ministry of Defense must be present at the funerals of servicemen. However, the lawmakers argue that this is not always feasible. Therefore, they have proposed substituting the presence of officers with representatives of civilian authorities, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Rosgvardia [the Russian National Guard], the fire service, the Federal Penitentiary Service, civic and non-commercial organizations.
Vazhnyye Istorii [IStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet] found out that, in December 2022, the Russian Pension Fund had sent a letter to employees of its regional offices instructing them to delete the data on welfare payments to participants of the "special military operation" and to refrain from further uploads. The directive concerns submissions to the Unified State Social Security Information System, which is used to publish, among other things, data on support measures for families of deceased servicemen. This information could reveal the scale of Russian losses and the number of military personnel who have received disability status. For example, it would have been possible to infer the extent of losses from the number of "widows of servicemen who died during military service" receiving assistance.
Andrey Gurulyov, State Duma member from the Zabaykalsky region, called for the creation of fake videos from the Russian side in response to those supposedly produced by the Ukrainian "Center for Information and Psychological Operations." The deputy also labeled 99% of videos featuring Russian soldiers reporting on inadequate provisions or problems from the frontlines as fake. According to Gurulyov, these videos are produced by the enemy.
Dmitry Medvedev, Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Security Council, stated that in 2023, more than 500,000 people were recruited into the army, including 420,000 contract soldiers and over 80,000 volunteer fighters. Medvedev did not provide clarification on who the "volunteer fighters" are. According to him, the tasks set by the president for the staffing of the Russian Army have been fully completed within the specified timeframe.
Nevertheless, the authorities continue to actively promote contract-based military service. For example, in the city of Cheboksary, all billboards in an underground passage were covered with military service advertising leaflets. Journalist Sergey Podsytnik, who has been wanted for six months on charges of "fake news about the army" for posts about soldiers killed in the strike in the city of Makiivka, received a letter in his mailbox offering him a contract. The journalist is currently abroad.
Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet], referencing the Zasekin information portal from Samara, reports on a document that lists measures devised by the local government in the summer of 2023 to increase the recruitment of contract soldiers. According to the document, law enforcement and government officials are advised to intensify agitation among debtors, migrants, and individuals convicted of offenses not related to imprisonment.
Samara residents report receiving draft notices. Along with the notices, some locals also received leaflets offering to sign a contract "to serve in the special military operation zone."
Another raid against migrants was conducted by law enforcement on Jan. 7 at the Central Market in Tyumen. After checking documents, 54 people were sent to the police station. The Regional Office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs did not provide information on the number of draft notices issued.
The Mozhem Ob’yasnit [We Can Explain] Telegram channel] has gathered reactions from the wives of mobilized soldiers in response to an interview with Andrey Kartapolov, Chairman of the Defense Committee of the State Duma, published by the Fontanka media outlet. The women accused him of incompetence, dishonesty, and lack of concrete actions to assist the mobilized. They suggested that he should go to the front to replace their husbands.
Information previously voiced by activists of the Put Domoy [Way Home] movement in the similarly-named Telegram channel about the disappearance of mobilized soldier Aleksandr Shpilevoy, whose video address was published by the channel, has been confirmed by the author of another Telegram channel, Dnevnik Kazaka [Cossack’s Diary]. According to him, the soldier was placed by the command into a refusenik’s pit in the Luhansk region. This information was also reported to the Vazhnyye Istorii media outlet by activists of the Put Domoy movement and the soldier’s relatives.
A previously announced meeting of activists from the Put Domoy movement with presidential candidate Boris Nadezhdin from the Civic Initiative party took place. During the meeting, the threats he received from the Federal Security Service (FSB), and the attitudes of Duma and local council members towards the activists and the war.
A journalist of the Cherta media outlet has published a monologue by one of the activists of the Put Domoy movement. In it, the woman describes her struggle to her husband, how the Federal Security Service (FSB) threatened him, as well as about the attitude of State Duma and local council members towards the activists and the war.
The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Dinar Bilalov from Russia’s constituent Republic of Tatarstan, Sergey Paimulkin and Sergey Lvov from Russia’s constituent Republic of Chuvashia, Ruslan Uspanov from the Omsk region, Aleksandr Zolotaryov from the Volgograd region, Aleksey Petrov and Denis Tatarinov from the Rostov region, Gadzhikurban Azizov from Russia's constituent Republic of Dagestan, and Anton Abramov from the Vladimir region.
The wife of volunteer fighter Aleksandr Abramov from Ulyanovsk said that for the past three months, she has been unable to obtain information about her husband's fate. Despite his concussion, he was sent on a storming mission by the command of the 1st Motorized Rifle Brigade and did not return. The woman sought help from the military unit, the Ministry of Defense, the Investigative Committee, the Military Prosecutor's Office, the FSB, and the State Duma but received no assistance from any of these agencies.
The Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine introduced the project "I Want to Find" for the families of Russian prisoners of war. Telegram chatbots will be launched to help determine the specific whereabouts of a POW and ascertain if they have survived. Vadym Skibitskyi, Deputy Chief of the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine, stated that there are around 462,000 Russian soldiers and 35,000 Rosgvardia officers on Ukrainian territory.
According to the Dos’ye Shpiona [Spy Dossier] Telegram channel, a serviceman from the 91st Engineer Regiment allegedly sexually assaulted a minor local resident in the occupied part of the Kherson region. His mobile phone revealed correspondence with another minor. However, according to the channel, a criminal case has not yet been initiated, and the command is reportedly pressuring the investigation to reclassify the crime to a lesser offense.
According to the Astra Telegram channel, citing its sources, 23-year-old Senior Seaman Isa Shakhemirov of the 126th Coastal Defense Brigade was found dead, with preliminary indications suggesting suicide. The reasons behind the act remain unknown. Previously, a 19-year-old conscript from Karelia [Russia’s constituent republic], who served in the same unit, passed away in a Sevastopol hospital. The parents were informed that their son's hospitalization was due to the "Ulysses Syndrome." The father speculated that his son may have been assaulted for refusing to sign a military contract.
Residents of the Vladimir region who returned from the war in Ukraine are reportedly engaging in criminal activities, with courts showing leniency by considering their participation in the "special military operation" as a mitigating circumstance. Dovod [independent Russian media outlet] gathered examples of such cases. In one instance, the Garrison Military Court in Vladimir fined Major Oleg Nikolaev 100,000 rubles [$1,120] for exceeding his official powers by assaulting two conscript soldiers. Despite the potential for a 10-year imprisonment as per the charged article, the court took into account the major's participation in the war in Ukraine.
The same court sentenced Junior Sergeant Sergey Rusakov, a contract soldier, to five years of probation for illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
Mikhail Skripkin, a serviceman from the Zabaykalsky region [Russia's federal subject], was sentenced to five and a half years in a penal colony for evading military service. The man failed to report to his unit on Feb, 25, 2023, after his leave, and disappeared without a valid reason. On July 31, he voluntarily turned himself in to the military commandant's office after learning that he was wanted.
The Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Garrison Military Court has sentenced serviceman Yevgeny Gorodilov to seven years in a penal colony for going AWOL. Instead of returning to his unit after his leave ended on June 7, 2023, he went home.
A 40-year-old resident of Saint Petersburg, who had previously been convicted, was detained for going AWOL. In November, the man did not return to his service, which resulted in him being declared wanted in December, with a criminal case opened against him. The detainee was sent to a pre-trial detention center.
In the Altai region [Russia’s federal subject], the FSB detained a man who allegedly planned to fight on the side of Ukraine and collected information about Russian soldiers. According to law enforcement officers, the resident of Novoaltaysk "established contact with a representative of a terrorist organization" and sent a video with an oath as proof of his intentions. A case of treason has been initiated against the man.
In November 2023, the Dzerzhinsky District Court in Saint Petersburg arrested Ruslan Semiletko on charges of treason, as reported by Mediazona. The court refused to provide details about the man's identity, citing a session behind closed doors. However, journalists found that the arrested man is a 47-year-old graduate of a military institute in Sevastopol who served in the Ukrainian Navy. The city court dismissed an appeal to modify his preventive measure.
The Omsk Regional Court has received a case of treason against a man accused of attempting to transfer secret information to representatives of Germany in exchange for assistance in moving to this country. The name of the defendant is unknown, and the hearings will be held behind closed doors.
Vazhnyye Istorii reports that Dmitry Karavaichik, a former Wagner Group mercenary sentenced to 17 years in prison for drug trafficking, has been appointed as the deputy head of the NGO Leningradsky Rubezh led by the governor of the Leningrad region. This fund collects donations for participants in the invasion of Ukraine. According to an investigation by Vazhnyye Istorii, a significant portion of these funds does not reach the intended recipients and ends up in the pockets of individuals affiliated with the governor. Karavaichik was pardoned by Putin for his participation in the war against Ukraine.