According to the bill passed by the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] on July 25, conscripts will be able to switch to a year-long contract-based military service after only 1 month of basic training, rather than the earlier 3, if war, mobilization or martial law has been declared. The bill also states that reservists can sign military service contracts for a year or less, although it is worth noting that currently none of the contracts with the Ministry of Defense can expire until mobilization ends.
In the wake of the State Duma adopting stricter laws on military service, the international Russian-language online media outlet Meduza interviewed a legal expert from the Prizyv k Sovesti [Peace Plea] coalition to seek guidance for those who do not wish to participate in the war.
The government adopted a new mobilization-specific template for draft notices (until now draft offices used a single template). The reverse side reminds the recipient of the penalties for failure to report in, as well as of their obligations under the laws on military duty and mobilization.
During a visit to the city’s one-stop contract military service recruitment facility, Mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin stated that approximately 20,000 soldiers, who are taking part in the "special military operation," were mobilized from Moscow, while another 10,000 enlisted for contract-based military service. Sobyanin also presented a lieutenant, who is leaving to fight in Ukraine, with a pistol. Its provenance is a mystery—Sobyanin was previously awarded with pistols of a different brand. Giving away handguns received as awards is illegal under Russian law.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Federal Security Service and the Ministry of Finance have spoken out against the introduction of a procedure for the expedited issuance of international passports for an additional fee. According to them, this initiative could disrupt the system established between the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the FSB, which "fully meets the security requirements," and also reduce the revenues of the federal budget due to the lower state fee for issuing international passports by the standard procedure.
During the discussion of the amendments on the exemption of fathers with disabled children from military service, Chairman of the Defense Committee of the State Duma Andrey Kartapolov called such fathers "draft dodgers." Parents of children with disabilities have reacted negatively to his remark—Nina Ostanina, a member of the State Duma and the author of the bill, published their comments.
In the Tyumen region, men will again be called up for military training, which will last from August to September and will be held in the Omsk region.
The authorities of the Vladimir region have accelerated the pace of deployment of contract soldiers to the war with Ukraine. Zebra TV [pro-Russian media outlet of the Vladimir region] counted at least 227 people who left the region for the war in July, 187 people in June and 137 people in May. In the meantime, Yaroslav Shaposhnikov, the mayor of the city of Vorkuta in Russia's constituent Republic of Komi, also went to war after signing a one-year contract with the Ministry of Defense.
The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Mikhail Romanov from Saint Petersburg, Aleksandr Dyomin from the Chelyabinsk region, Stanislav Morozov from the Novosibirsk region, Dmitry Ignatenkov from the Pskov region, Nikolay Smirnov from the Leningrad region, Aleksandr Yefimov from the Sverdlovsk region and Sergey Tyksheyev from Buryatia [Russia’s constituent republic]. Other than that, evidence emerged about the death of Stanislav Rayevsky who had been mobilized from the Moscow region to serve in the 1430th Regiment. In mid-July, Rayevsky reached out to the media to report having been unlawfully held in a basement of the former penal colony in Perevalsk in the Luhansk region. Moreover, Rayevsky found out that he was not listed in the records of either the 1430th Regiment or the 57th Brigade, despite the fact that he had been forced to sign the transfer order to the 57th Brigade while in the basement. Two months after his appeal went public, it turned out that Rayevsky had been killed on the same day he contacted the media.
A local resident reported to be a former member of the Russian Armed Forces was beaten up and kidnapped from the occupied village of Makiivka in the Donetsk region. The man made contact with his family and informed them that he was being detained in a basement by the 114th Motorized Rifle Brigade. His wife was told to bring him some basic necessities, as well as painkillers and other medicines, because his head and legs had been severely beaten. His wife was also told that her husband would be deployed to serve in the Storm unit anyway, regardless of any pleas the family would raise to authorities.
Military personnel from the 26th Motorized Rifle Regiment, currently stationed at a training range in Crimea, recorded a video message in which they talked about drunkenness and arbitrariness of senior officers. Contrary to regulations, these officers bring their families onto the base, have barbecues with them, and take photos with military equipment. Meanwhile, contract soldiers are not even allowed to purchase personal hygiene products.
Volunteer fighters from the Kamchatka battalion, after completing their military training, were sent to the Donetsk region and placed under the command of the local authorities. The "new" command requires these men to serve as assault troops alongside the Storm-Z unit. The soldiers complain that their military IDs do not indicate their current duty station and demand to be returned to their original brigade.
A mobilized soldier from the Rostov region, who recently became a father for the third time, is unable to return home from the "special military operation" zone, even though he submitted a report requesting discharge during his paternity leave.
The Idel.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet conducted an investigation and found out the history of the defeat of the Alga volunteer battalion from Tatarstan [Russia’s constituent Republic of Tatarstan], which occurred on Feb. 6, 2023, near Vuhledar. As a result of the battle, the battalion was almost completely defeated, since the fighters were not ready to storm the enemy fortifications without support.
The volunteer fighters from the Zabaykalsky region who had come back from the "special military operation" and planned to organize a rally in the spring to demand the promised payments, have received neither money nor authorities’ attention. They now believe that holding a rally is "not very appropriate" and expect to get support from the president.
Sibir.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet has studied the experience of men who were criminally prosecuted for refusal to fight against Ukraine: the courts mostly sentence them to a penal settlement. As of the end of April 2023, Russian military courts received 1064 criminal cases against servicemen who went AWOL, refused to execute an order, or deserted.
The Chita Garrison Military Court has sentenced contract soldier Zorigto Bazarsadayev to a suspended two-year term for brutally beating up his fellow soldier. The victim received at least 20 hits and was diagnosed with a closed fracture of the frontal bone. Bazarsadayev pleaded guilty and paid 100,000 rubles [$1,113] to the victim before the trial. Another mitigating factor was the defendant’s participation in the war with Ukraine.
The Supreme Court has authorized the relief from criminal punishment for a serviceman, who was previously sentenced to two years in a penal settlement for a car accident with two people killed, as his crime ceased to be socially dangerous "as a result of the changed situation."
On the night of July 26, unidentified persons set fire to a relay cabinet at a railroad near the Shvedskaya Sloboda station in Samara. The fire self-extinguished and did not cause any delay in train traffic. The attacker is being searched for. Also, on the night of July 26, unidentified persons set fire to a relay cabinet at the Lisiy Nos station in Saint Petersburg. The cabinet burned out, however, that did not disrupt train traffic.
The Military Court has sentenced a man, accused of blowing up a railroad in the Bryansk region more than a year ago, to 22 years in a penal colony. According to the Prosecutor General's Office, he was trained in Ukraine in 2020-2021, where he learned how to use explosives.
In Rostov-on-Don, a Russian soldier, who returned from the frontline in Ukraine, blew up a grenade in a residential building, as a result of which he was hospitalized. Four more grenades were allegedly found in the man’s apartment.
Six defendants in the Tyumen case were charged with preparing an act of terror. The young people face from 5 to 15 years in a penal colony, while Nikita Oleinik, whom the investigation deems as the organizer of the criminal group could face life imprisonment.
The Butyrsky District Court of Moscow sentenced Philipp Maslovsky to one year and ten months in a penal colony settlement for the arson of an SUV with pro-war markings on the night of Jan. 28. During the investigation, Maslovsky was held in a pre-trial detention center. He fully admitted his guilt, so the case was considered in a special procedure.
In the Primorsky region [Russia's federal subject], additional measures were taken to support large families of participants of the "special military operation" and new measures of social support for war participants who were injured but not recognized as disabled. Residents of the Republic of Bashkortostan complain to the authorities about the lack of promised support to relatives of war participants in Ukraine.
In the Primorsky region, funds are raised for purchasing military vehicles. In Novokuznetsk, employees of a transportation company are asked to donate money for the needs of the army. Residents of the Leningrad region have sent vehicles to the frontline. The Saratov region has also sent vehicles, a motorcycle, and foodstuffs to the war zone. Employees of kindergarten No 27 in Kyzyl started sewing tactical bags for the soldiers. In the Samara region, women weave camouflage nets right in their courtyards. In Omsk, volunteers collect old jeans in order to sew mittens for their fellow citizens on the frontline.
Children from the Berdiansk district of the Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine are actively being encouraged to integrate into the "Russian world." To that end, within the frame of the Klassnye Vstrechi [Class Meetings] all-Russian project, children were sent on a tour and participated in workshops in Novocheboksarsk.
In Nefteyugansk in the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region–Yugra [Russia's federal subject], troubled teenagers and former drug addicts from among the local congregation will be taught rifle shooting within the frame of a healthy lifestyle festival. Teenagers will get involved in raising funds for the frontline, weaving camouflage nets, shooting, and playing war games. Meanwhile, the students of a Kuban special needs school for troubled teens study "the main methods of fighting fascists," attend "spirituality classes," and weave camouflage nets during their summer holidays.
The Moscow Mayor’s Office will publish the Za Rodinu! [For the Motherland!] magazine, which will be sent to the frontline in order to "maintain the patriotic spirit of the special military operation participants." The project will cost 2.35 million rubles [over $26,000].
A memorial to participants in the war in Ukraine may appear at the Novo-Makaryevskoye cemetery in Kirov. The town administration reported that they had already developed the concept of the corresponding memorial zone, costing from 6.2 to 6.9 million rubles [$70,000-$77,000].
According to the Vyorstka media outlet, more than 260 settlements in Russia came under shelling and other types of attacks by Ukrainian forces, excluding downed drones that fell and did not detonate.
The Smolensk Nuclear Power Plant located 200 km from the border with Ukraine, is planned to be equipped with a drone protection system. Rosatom State Atomiс Energy Corporation allocated 348.7 million rubles [$3.874 mln] for these purposes.
The Khroniki.Media [Chronicles.Media] media outlet studied "national defense" spendings based on the reports of the regional budgets in the Northwestern Federal District for the first five months of 2023 and compared these data with those in the pre-war 2021, as well as with expenditure for the same purposes in Moscow and Russian regions near the border with Ukraine.
The Sibir.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet visited Yurga, a town in the Kemerovo region, where many local residents left for the war with Ukraine. As a result, the town "turned into a necropolis" with many graves of soldiers and idle factories.
The Astra Telegram channel published the second part of the story about the Telegram channel of the pro-Russian Crimean SMERSH movement engaged in looking for people with an anti-war or pro-Ukrainian position and then making them apologize on camera.