On July 25, the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] passed a bill raising the conscription age for men by three years in its second and third readings. The upper age limit would be raised to 30 years, with amendments to the bill canceling the transitional period. The initial version of the bill proposed raising both the upper [from 27 to 30] and lower [from 18 to 21] age limits. Chairman of the Defense Committee of the State Duma Andrey Kartapolov, who was a co-author of the bill, stated that Russians who turn 27 in 2023 will not be subject to conscription next year. However, as noted by the Voyennye Advokaty [Military Lawyers] Telegram channel, the adopted version of the law does not specify the status of men who turn 27 before December 31st, 2023, leaving them in a gray area that could result in conscription for those aged 27-30.
Chairwoman of the Federation Council [upper house of the Federal Assembly] Valentina Matviyenko has already stated that the Council would support the amendments to raise the upper age limit for conscription to 30 years while maintaining the existing lower limit. Earlier, Senators Viktor Bondarev and Andrey Klishas spoke out against the bill. Russian President's spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that the Kremlin "relies on the expert point of view of the Ministry of Defense" regarding this issue.
Also, Kartapolov stated that the members of State Duma did not raise the lower age limit of conscription from 18 to 21 years, as they had promised earlier, due to demographic problems: "The draft law was amended because the demographic situation is serious and it affects the mobilization resource volume." The Agency.News Telegram channel reminds of the history of statements by government representatives since the emergence of this initiative in December 2022. Kartapolov also expressed a negative attitude towards the idea of exempting fathers of disabled children and fathers with many children from conscription: "This law is written for a big war, for general mobilization. And now, it already smells like a big war," he said from the State Duma podium. Moreover, First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Defense Committee Alexey Zhuravlyov suggested raising the conscription age even to 50 years and obliging everyone to serve.
Furthermore, among the adopted amendments to the military service law, it is indicated that citizens subject to conscription will be prohibited from leaving the country from the moment they are sent a draft notice by registered mail to their place of residence, place of work (study), or from the day it is posted in the Draft Registry or handed personally to a conscript.
The State Duma Defense Committee approved amendments that mandate medical and educational organizations to provide local authorities with all necessary information about those citizens who are currently registered with the military, as well as those who are not, but are required to be.
The State Duma Committee on Defense approved an amendment prohibiting lawyers from representing the interests of citizens in military commissariats [enlistment offices]. The amendment changes the wording from "authorized representative" (i.e., lawyer) to "legal representative" (i.e., relative), who will now have the right to file complaints.
The State Duma adopted amendments to the law on toughening legal responsibility for violating military registration requirements. The fine for failure to appear at a military commissariat after receiving a draft notice will now range from 10,000 to 30,000 rubles [$111-330], and the fine for failure to notify a military commissariat about a change in one’s military registration data will range from 1,000 to 5,000 rubles [$11-55].
Amendments were proposed to the State Duma for review, according to which the heads of regions will have the opportunity to create their own military units and arm them. According to the proposed legislation, during mobilization, martial law or in wartime the governors will be given the right to create state unitary enterprises [type of a business entity] to help the Armed Forces protect the state border and perform counterintelligence duties. The president will be responsible for creating and disbanding these enterprises. These organizations will be financed by the federal and regional budgets. These enterprises will receive small arms and ammunition. After being disbanded, they will have to return the weapons.
The Government has endorsed the bill meant to provide state support to companies that hire participants of the war with Ukraine. Currently, the support is available to companies hiring individuals from socially vulnerable categories. Andrey Kutepov, who authored the bill, is proposing to extend this support to the citizens who served in the "special military operation" zone in Ukraine, specifically in the Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics since Feb. 24, 2022, and the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions since Sept. 30, 2022, including employees of the Federal Security Service (FSB) who worked in border areas, and volunteer unit fighters.
On July 25, the State Duma urgently reviewed a bill allowing law enforcement officers to detain people for 30 days without bringing any charges. Such practice will be applicable in the regions where martial law is in effect, i.e., only affect Russia’s occupied regions of Ukraine for now. The bill’s initial revision allowed arrests for 48 hours.
In July, the State Duma adopted in the second and third readings a total of four bills concerning citizens subject to military service, three of which were passed on July 25. However, legislative initiatives granting rights to defer or be exempted from military service were not considered.
Saint Petersburg authorities asked large enterprises to support the rebuilding of Mariupol. According to the letters they received, the money will be transferred to the Pobeda [Victory] charity fund involved in the rebuilding process.
Gorelektrotrans [Saint Petersburg state unitary enterprise in public transport] is sending out leaflets that invite people to apply for employment with an "opportunity" to sign up for contract military service after. Previously, the enterprise had launched a trolleybus with a mobile center for accepting citizens for contract service.
Regions of Russia continue to report on the deployment of volunteer fighters to the war. In Russia's constituent Republic of Bashkortostan, the Salavatsky district sent one person to the war and fifty were reported to have signed contracts with the Ministry of Defense since the beginning of the summer. Fifty more volunteer fighters were sent from the Vladimir region, and about a hundred left from the Nizhny Novgorod region. Russia's constituent Republic of Chechnya sent another group of contract soldiers, the exact number was not disclosed.
The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Denis Doroshenko from the Zabaykalsky region, Aleksandr Sokurov from the Vladimir region, Andrey Morozov from the Voronezh region, Bator Montoyev from Russia’s constituent Republic of Buryatia, Sergey Ashmarin from the Perm region, Yevgeny Killer from the Omsk region, Vitaliy Elizarov from the Lipetsk region, as well as Aleksandr Volynets and Aleksandr Zanin from the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region–Yugra [Russia's federal subject].
In the Belgorod region, a serviceman received a shrapnel wound to his arm as a result of a drone attack. In addition, according to the Astra Telegram channel, a mobilized soldier was injured in the village of Krupets in the Kursk region on July 24.
A mobilized man from Irkutsk was found hanged in the so-called LPR. As a punishment for drunkenness, he had been taken to the commandant's office and driven to an unknown location, after which contact with him was lost. Later, a family of this mobilized soldier received a notice from the Russian Ministry of Defense stating that the man had died near Chervonopopivka village but "the death was not related to the execution of military service." The medical report states that the soldier died as a result of "mechanical asphyxia." However, relatives found a deep cut on his body, and bruises with abrasions on his hands.
In Russian-occupied Makiivka, a local resident was beaten up and taken to an undisclosed location for allegedly going AWOL. The victim’s relatives claim that his contract expired back on Jan. 13. His wife called the driver who took him away and learned that her husband had already been transferred to his unit and would soon call back. She could get no information about his health and whereabouts. The Astra media outlet was able to identify one of the kidnappers—a 28-year-old local resident Ivan Pavlyuk.
A soldier from the Belgorod region was ordered to go back to the war after a shell fragment wound to the leg and complex surgery, even though he was supposed to get a military service exemption certificate in July 2023. The man refused to go back to the frontline and was handed over to the military police.
Medical orderly Aleksey Kuprin with a disability and service fitness category D (unfit for service) cannot retire from military service in the so-called Donetsk People's Republic for six months. His wife shared that back on Dec. 20, 2022, he was examined by the military medical board in the Russian-occupied part of the Donetsk region and found unfit for military service. However, notwithstanding the decision, he is still forced to remain in the army. Aleksey signed his contract in 2019 and was wounded the same year.
A relative of a soldier from the Storm-Z unit contacted the Astra media outlet. She said that on July 15, her husband and his fellow soldiers were taken from the village of Rozovka in the Donetsk region to the forward positions in the Zaporizhzhia region. According to the woman, their mobile phones were taken away and broken. The soldiers’ present whereabouts are unknown. Previously, Storm-Z soldiers delivered an ultimatum to the command, upon which they were left without arms in a forsaken building.
Mobilized men from Udmurtia published an appeal on July 24, citing problems with receiving payments, leaves, and poor supply. They claimed that water is delivered to them only once a month, and the command allegedly forces them to purchase uniforms at their own expense. Head of the Udmurt Republic Aleksandr Brechalov, promised to address the leave issue. However, on July 25, the draftees published a new video message, stating that they have no grievances against the command. They attributed the previous video to "moral fatigue."
An unidentified individual set fire to a relay cabinet on the railway section between Sentsovo and Lipetsk in the Lipetsk region. An icon and a cover lying nearby were found at the scene. The incident did not affect train traffic. Authorities are searching for the arsonist, while a criminal case has been initiated against them.
Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet], released an article about eight teenagers from the Paragraph-88 neo-Nazi group who were detained in a case related to an attempt on Margarita Simonyan [Russian propagandist, editor-in-chief of the RT international news television network] and Ksenia Sobchak [Russian public figure, TV anchor, journalist, socialite and the daughter of Putin's one-time boss]. An eyewitness revealed that the law enforcement officers beat and used a stun gun on the suspects. The investigation also links the defendants to the organizers of the attempted attack on Vladimir Solovyev (Russian propagandist).
In Kursk, the ex-spouses Sidorkin R. and Sidorkina T. were found guilty under the charges of "high treason" and "preparation for sabotage." The court ruled that the Sidorkins had provided information to the military intelligence service of Ukraine and were also preparing acts of terror at railway facilities in the Kursk and Belgorod regions. As a result, Sidorkin R. was sentenced to 17 years in prison, while Sidorkina T. received a 13-year prison sentence.
On July 22, in Ulan-Ude, a Wagnerite mugged a woman. Threatening with a grenade (later the grenade turned out to be a training one), he forcibly took three mobile phones from a 55-year-old employee of a local cafe. Later the suspect was detained. He turned out to be a former mercenary of the Wagner Group, 29-year-old Ruslan Gatin, who returned from the war in May. He had a previous criminal record. A criminal case was initiated against him for armed robbery.
In the village of Shelokhovskaya, Arkhangelsk region, on the Day of the Village, employees of penal colony 21 of the regional Federal Penitentiary Service taught children and teenagers to shoot airsoft weapons. In the announcement of the event, it was referred to as the "Joy of Victory paramilitary sports game."