A bill has been introduced into the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] addressing "the specifics of criminal liability for persons participating in the special military operation." If approved, it would release from liability people, who have committed a crime, if they enlist or are mobilized. This would apply to crimes of minor and moderate severity, even if committed before the law comes into effect. The release from liability would take place upon reception of state awards or discharge from service. Individuals, who were convicted before joining the Russian Armed Forces, would also be exempted from punishment and would see their criminal records expunged.
Legal experts from the Voyennye Advokaty [Military Lawyers] Telegram channel studied the bill in detail. In their opinion, it seeks to legalize the practice of involving suspects, defendants and convicts in military operations. They also point out that changes to the Criminal and Criminal Procedure Codes would be needed to enable the application of the new law. The Sota media outlet, too, emphasized these legal discrepancies.
On Jun. 13, President of Russia Vladimir Putin signed the following bills into law:
- Law excluding crimes committed by law enforcement officers from the list of aggravating circumstances;
- Law authorizing the confiscation of international passports from citizens who have been drafted. More details about the amendments introduced by the law can be found in the Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] publication. These amendments will come into effect in 180 days;
- Law allowing the burial of volunteer fighters who participated in the "special military operation" at military cemeteries;
- Law granting army servicemen, volunteer fighters, and their families the right to reclaim a travel package and the money paid for it;
- In addition, Putin approved the denunciation of the Treaty Between the Russian Federation and Ukraine on Cooperation in the Use of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait.
Furthermore, during his conversation with war correspondents, Putin made a number of statements:
- Russia does not need to impose martial law;
- The law does not provide specific rotation periods for mobilized soldiers; the question of their return will be determined based on the situation;
- Since January 2023, over 150,000 people have signed contracts with the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, and 6,000 volunteer fighters have also joined the service. According to Putin, 9,500 people signed contracts just in the past week. Putin also emphasized that "there is no need for mobilization in these conditions."
- Conscript soldiers took part in fighting for the Belgorod region. According to Putin, these soldiers performed "brilliantly." Earlier, authorities, including the president, stated that the conscripts would not participate in the war;
- "PMCs" ["Private Military Companies"] who fight at the front must enter into a contract with the Ministry of Defense; amendments to the relevant laws will also be required. These measures will be taken, the president declared;
- Putin also confirmed signing decrees to pardon prisoners recruited to fight in the war with Ukraine. At the same time, according to the president, if a pardoned person commits a new crime, he must answer "to the fullest extent of the law."
As stated by the head of Chechnya [Russia’s constituent republic], Ramzan Kadyrov, Governor of the Belgorod Region Vyacheslav Gladkov held talks with State Duma member Adam Delimkhanov. The parties agreed that the fighters of the West-Akhmat battalion would be involved in the defense of the near-border areas of the region. According to Ramzan Kadyrov, the battalion will be able to "significantly improve security" in the region "without much effort." According to Adam Delimkhanov, the arrived fighters intended to fight against "Satanism and LGBT." Residents of the Belgorod region have already witnessed the presence of military equipment with the Akhmat unit's emblems.
The Ministry of Defense reported on the signing of contracts with "three brigades and four separate units from the volunteer assault corps." The nature of these units is not disclosed. According to Lieutenant General Vladimir Alexeev, within the next week, all formations and other units that are part of the volunteer corps will sign this contract.
In turn, the head of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, stated that he will accept formations that do not want to sign a contract with the Ministry of Defense. According to Prigozhin, he is allegedly already receiving requests from "volunteer units" to join the Wagner Group.
Moskovsky Metropoliten [the Moscow Metro operator company] started sending "volunteer fighters" who have an unspent conviction to the war. Vazhnyye Istorii [iStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet] reported on the procedure that one of these "volunteer fighters" went through. According to him, going to war means an opportunity for a pardon. Initially he wanted to join the Wagner Group, but was told by the Federal Penitentiary Service that only the Ministry of Defense can send people to fight in Ukraine. After the Federal Penitentiary Service did not permit him to join the “special military operation,” he got a job at Moskovsky Metropoliten where he was able to sign a contract and go to war. According to the current legislation, convicted citizens can only join military service if they are mobilized, however the State Duma is considering a bill that would allow people with unspent convictions to serve under contract in the military.
Russia's constituent Republic of Buryatia is actively seeking candidates for military service under contract — for this purpose, advertising articles are posted in the media of neighboring regions, along with the promise of a sign-up bonus of 300,000 rubles [$3750]. Contract military service advertising has also been spotted in Pushkino [Moscow region], Vladivostok [Primorsky region], Krasnoyarsk, the Tyumen region, Nizhnevartovsk [Khanty-Mansi autonomous region, Russia's federal subject] and Saint Petersburg.
The Idite Lesom! [Flee through the woods/Get lost you all] project reported about twelve graduates receiving draft notices right at school in Buryatia, and published instructions for parents on what to do in such a situation.
Viktor Kuchko, a judge from Saratov, decided to go to the war as a volunteer fighter. His powers are suspended for six months, and the reasons for such a decision are not disclosed.
The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Maksim Zhurin from the Rostov region, Roman Yegorov from the Tver region, Pavel Liptsev from the Sverdlovsk region, and Aleksandr Rudenko from the Volgograd region, as well as Yevgeny Tolchin and Vitaly Izvekov from the Novosibirsk region.
In Tuva [Russia’s constituent republic], a mother of a soldier killed in the war against Ukraine died four days after her son had been buried. This is already the second known case in Tuva when a mother dies after her son gets killed in the war.
Residents of the Rostov region are complaining about authorities being indifferent to the fate of mobilized soldiers and their families, and also providing no assistance in the organization of a funeral of a killed mobilized soldier.
Posters with portraits of killed servicemen, installed on wooden supports, have been appearing in the countryside.
The authorities of Khakasia [Russia’s constituent republic] have ceased to publish obituaries of servicemen killed in the war in Ukraine. The last obituary of killed Member of the Supreme Council Dmitry Ivanov was released on Apr. 26. According to sources of Sibir.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] online media outlet, the request to refrain from publishing came from the Ministry of Defense. The reason was the publications by Mediazona and BBC News Russian which keep track of casualties based on obituaries.
Member of the Novosibirsk legislative assembly from the United Russia party [Putin’s ruling party] Yaroslav Frolov who previously enlisted in the Vega volunteer battalion, appeared at the party's gubernatorial primaries. The parliament's records indicate that Frolov voted at the June session of the legislative assembly.
According to his relatives, Alexandr Andreyev, a 32-year-old warrant officer of the 155th Guards Naval Infantry Brigade from Vladivostok, is being denied medical assistance. According to the Astra Telegram channel, last November, he was severely beaten by his commanders in Volnovakha. His head was fractured, he was tortured and kept in a pit, while being pressured to confess to looting. His family is concerned that without medical assistance, Alexandr may die, but their appeals to the authorities have yielded no results.
The Tambov Regional Court has approved the decision to impose a fine of 30,000 rubles [$352] on Kirill Shvetsov, a local resident, in a criminal case related to failure to report a crime. Previously, he met Artyom Kakarin, who informed him of his plans to join the "Freedom of Russia Legion". Later, Kakarin was sentenced to seven years in a penal colony, while Shvetsov was charged with failure to report. The court ruled that he had accurate knowledge of his acquaintance's plans but failed to report them to the authorities.
The Vladikavkaz Military Garrison Court sentenced a contract serviceman to five and a half years in prison for going AWOL during mobilization. On Sept. 25, 2022, the man did not report to a military unit. On Feb. 10, 2023, he reported to a military commandant's office. The hearing was held in the House of Officers of the Vladikavkaz garrison in the presence of service members.
In Saint Petersburg, a draftee was sentenced to seven years in a strict regime penal colony for abandoning a post during the mobilization period. A press release from the court states that on Oct. 27, 2022, the serviceman refused an "offer" by his command to take up a defensive position and left the duty area to avoid participating in the war.
In the Krasnoyarsk region, a mobilized soldier who came on leave is suspected of attempting to rape his stepdaughter. The Investigative Committee has declined to comment on this information.
The Federal Security Service (FSB) has reported the detention and arrest of two former employees of the military-industrial complex suspected of treason and preparing explosions on railway tracks in the Kursk and Belgorod regions. A defense enterprise employee in Omsk has been arrested on suspicion of "treason."
A 27-year-old man has been detained on suspicion of arson of two relay cabinets in Chelyabinsk on the night of Jun. 12. A criminal case has been initiated under the article of "sabotage," and the man could face up to 20 years in prison. On Jun. 12, the arson of a relay cabinet on the Piskaryovka-Rzhevka section in Saint Petersburg led to the disruption of train services. The cabinet was completely burnt, and the arsonists have not been found yet. The press service of the Oktyabrskaya Railway has confirmed the incident.
An unidentified individual set fire to a relay cabinet near the village of Chepelyovo in the Moscow region. The cabinet was completely burnt, and the police are searching for the arsonist. A criminal case has been initiated under the article of "rendering vehicles or communication lines inoperable." Two burning cabinets were noticed in the Vitaminkombinat neighborhood in Krasnodar. No traces of fire inside the cabinets were found. The arson did not affect train traffic, and authorities are searching for the arsonist.
Despite a not guilty verdict delivered by the jury in the trial for attempted murder of security officials by Vitaly Koltsov, who threw Molotov cocktails at police vehicles that were parked on Moscow’s Revolution Square, the prosecutor's office requested a sentence of 19.5 years in prison for two charges: attempted murder of law enforcement officers and damage to property. Proceedings are covered by Mediazona.
English teacher Vitaly Barinov from Kansk, Krasnoyarsk region, was sentenced to two years and ten days in prison for firing a shotgun at a banner advertising contract military service and threatening his neighbor with murder. In the very first days after his arrest, the authorities also tried to accuse him of setting fire to a draft office. His mother and lawyers claim that he was tortured by law enforcement officers, however, the prosecutor's office deemed their actions lawful.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kyrgyzstan has officially acknowledged that the country has launched a CCTV cameras search for individuals wanted in the CIS. According to the Ministry, only Russian security forces have provided data for the facial recognition system on more than 85,000 people who are wanted. Within 10 days, the CCTV cameras in Kyrgyzstan identified 57 individuals, most of whom are residents, but there are also Russians. The identified individuals have been registered, and four of them have been detained.
Memorial [an international human rights organization] has recognized Dmitry Vasilts, an officer in the Russian Army, as a political prisoner. He was sentenced to 2 years and 2 months in a penal settlement for refusing to participate in the war with Ukraine. The authorities in Lithuania have allowed former Russian Air Force pilot Lieutenant Dmitry Mishov to reside in the country while his asylum application is being considered.
The faculty, staff, and students of Tver State University will join the People's Network volunteer center to weave camouflage nets to be sent to the war.
Doctors from the Buryat Oncology Dispensary are being compelled to contribute money for thermal goggles for the "special military operation." The chief medical officer has ordered employees to contribute from 500 to 5,000 rubles, and the money will be deducted from their salaries. Meanwhile, postal offices in the Ulyanovsk and Sverdlovsk regions, as well as stores in the Moscow region, are collecting groceries for mobilized soldiers.
Russia Day was celebrated in the occupied and destroyed Mariupol. Local children danced to the song "Ya russkiy" [I'm Russian] by Shaman [a stage name of pro-Kremlin Russian singer Yaroslav Dronov] against the backdrop of houses blackened from RuAF strikes. Meanwhile, students and employees of the Kursk State Agrarian University lined up to form the "ZA Rossiyu" [For RuZZia] inscription.
In Omsk, at the celebration of Russia Day, a life-size puppet of Cheburashka [a character in the Soviet children's literature] was posing with an assault rifle, and children were introduced to various weapons. At the same time, a modern T-80BVM tank was parked on the square where the holiday concert was held.
The Polygon media outlet gathered their readers’ opinions about people supporting the war in their environment.
The Meduza [international Russian-language online media outlet] published the story of Vladimir Maraktaev, a 23-year-old student from Buryatia [Russia’s constituent republic], who made his way from Ulan-Ude through the Philippines and Mexico to New York to escape mobilization.