The State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] adopted a bill on the prosecution of those “discrediting” volunteer fighters in the third and final reading. Penalties for “discrediting” participants in the war will involve fines up to 5 million rubles, up to 5 years of correctional or forced labor as well as imprisonment for up to 15 years (for “fakes'') and up to 7 years (for “discrediting” fighters). Criminal punishment will be applied if the offender has already been brought to administrative responsibility for similar actions during the year.
The State Duma introduced a bill simplifying the procedure for recognizing missing servicemen as dead in case of their participation in hostilities. In accordance with the document, to recognize a soldier as dead, a statement from his commander who saw his death would be sufficient. If there are no witnesses of the soldier’s death, then no later than six months after his alleged death shall he be recognized as missing. Immediately after receiving this status, family members would be able to recognize the fighter as dead through the court. Presently, it is necessary to wait two years after the end of hostilities to confirm the death of a missing serviceman. If the soldier is found alive, relatives will have to return all payments made to them, and Senator Andrey Klishas told the Vyorstka online media outlet. The relatives of the soldiers killed in the war are presently entitled to 12.4 million rubles from the federal budget. The amount, as well as other payments, may vary depending on the region.
A group of State Duma members submitted amendments to the law on state secrets, as well as to the law on the procedure for entering and leaving Russia. The document states that the law will affect not only lawyers who receive access to classified information but also servicemen, for some of whom access to state secrets may become involuntary.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia prepared and handed over to the Ministry of Defense a list of professions in demand for the "preservation and development of human resources" of enterprises in the military-industrial complex. This was stated by Vladimir Putin during his visit to the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant.
The Ministry of Finance proposed issuing "patriotic" government bonds in Russia. The placement of such bonds should give the government a new opportunity to replenish the budget. Bonds will be distributed through banks, financial platforms, and other financial institutions, the source of information explained to Interfax [Russian pro-Kremlin news agency]. According to the source, the Ministry of Finance sent a proposal to issue such bonds to the government at the end of February 2023.
An enlistment office of the Voronezh region and administrations of municipalities began to hand overdraft notices to residents of the region for “updating military service register data,” according to the official Telegram channel of the government of the Voronezh region. In the post, the administration “especially emphasizes” that the sole purpose of serving draft notices is “exclusively updating military service register data in enlistment offices of the Voronezh region.” According to the administration, draft notices will be handed out mainly at the place of residence and work of the citizens. Meanwhile, several men received draft notices from the enlistment office in the village of Studenchesky in the Sverdlovsk region at once. The notices call up residents liable for military service in the training camps. The men were notified of this on Mar. 13. The Sverdlovsk region’s enlistment office says it is a common practice.
Despite the ongoing distribution of draft notices as reported by the officials of the Voronezh region, Russian President’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that the Kremlin is not considering the second wave of mobilization.
According to sources in law enforcement agencies and several regional administrations reporting to the Vyorstka media outlet, Russian draft offices are launching a new recruitment campaign to attract volunteer fighters for the war in Ukraine. Therefore, the draft offices will use subpoena-like notices to “check-up military service register data." Along with the check-up, the citizens will be offered to go fight in Ukraine of their own free will. In such a manner, the military expects to compensate for the losses. As a reminder, the pro-Kremlin media outlet URA.RU, citing sources, previously reported that on Apr. 1, a campaign to recruit 400,000 contract soldiers would begin in Russia. This information has also been confirmed by the statements sent out by regional administrations to the managers of [regional] companies with a request for assistance.
A draft office in Podolsk, Moscow region, refused to issue a military ID to a resident who recently turned 27, as reported to the human rights project Military Ombudsman by the person trying to get the ID himself. The man applied for a military ID in early 2023. In response to his request, the officials of the draft office informed him that "they have been instructed by the authorities to suspend the issuance of military IDs to citizens born in 1996", writes the Military Ombudsman project.
Mobilized servicemen, who underwent training in Naro-Fominsk, were deployed in the Avdiivka direction without a chance to retreat. Relatives of the servicemen informed the Ostorozhno Novosti [Beware the News] Telegram channel that, initially, the men were trained to serve in territorial defense units. However, thereafter they were transferred under the command of the "DPR." Their military specialties were changed, and their military ID cards were stamped as "People's Militia of the DPR." Soon after, a group of these mobilized servicemen got sent in the Avdiivka direction as part of an offensive with assault rifles against heavy military equipment. According to one of the mobilized, they were taking losses and could no longer retreat from the combat zone due to the Ukrainian artillery cutting off escape routes. The men say they are in a critical psychological state. They need medical treatment and request immediate help from the Russian authorities.
Governor of the Irkutsk region Igor Kobzev spotlighted the aid delivered to the mobilized troops of the 1439th Regiment, known to have complained about being “sent to slaughter.” According to the governor, the aid included mobile shower units and thermal goggles. Meanwhile, a soldier mobilized from the Ust-Orda Buryat Autonomous District of the Irkutsk region contacted the Lyudi Baikala [People of Baikal] independent media outlet and reported that the regiment still kept attacking the fortified area in the town of Avdiivka.
On Mar. 14, in Sukhoi Log, Sverdlovsk region, a memorial service was held for Valery Timiraev, a mobilized father of three killed in the Luhansk region two months ago. Meanwhile, Khyshikto Tsybikov, a university graduate, philosopher, and theologian who had served in the Ulan-Ude branch of the Egitui datsan before joining the war, was laid to rest in his home village of Bulum in Buryatia [Russia’s constituent republic]. Aleksandr Khokhlov, Anatoly Anufriev, and Vladimir Mizurenkov, all three from the Vladimir region, too, lost their lives in the war with Ukraine.
In February, according to the state-run VTsIOM pollster data, the Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s public trust rating dropped to 11.2% hitting its historic low since 2017, as the Mozhem Ob'yasnit [We can explain] Telegram channel revealed based on archive poll records.
A resident of the Ryazan region, Vasily Bolshakov, was charged with “discrediting” the [Russian] Army because of a joke about the retreat from Kherson. He faces up to three years in prison.
In St. Petersburg, 16-year-old Yegor Balazeykin, suspected of setting fire to two draft offices, is threatened by FSB [Federal Security Service] officers with rape and beatings. The young man is in a detention center. According to his mother, he was diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis. She fears that without medical attention, her son's condition will worsen, which could lead to liver cirrhosis.
A military court sentenced a man mobilized from Omsk to 1.5 years in a penal colony for going AWOL. He stayed at home for more than 10 days on vacation as he supported his father after the death of his mother.
The prosecutor's office accepted the activists' complaint about the violation of the rights of Masha Moskalyova, who is kept in an orphanage. Tomorrow, on Mar. 15, there will be a trial on the issue of depriving Masha's parents of parental rights. At the time of the release of the summary, a petition demanding to return Masha Moskalyova home gained 120 thousand signatures.
At the CHP-2 plant in Chita, students of a local college began to be hired to replace mobilized electricians, the government of the Zabaykalsky region reports. As the representative of the plant explained, the students completely covered the lack of workers.
The Sibir.Realii [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] media outlet published a video report from Ulan-Ude, the regional capital of Buryatia, where Vladimir Putin arrived on Mar. 14. Thousands of contract and mobilized soldiers are sent to the front from this depressed region. Meanwhile, the residents of the republic are no longer as good as they used to be towards Vladimir Putin, Aleksandra Garmazhapova, Head of the Free Buryatia Foundation, told the Mozhem Ob’yasnit Telegram channel. According to Garmazhapova, people are very tired, Buryatia suffered many losses, and everyone in the republic knows about it. “And of course, everyone is asking the question: why aren’t Moscow and St. Petersburg [residents] fighting?” she notes. Last week, the Free Buryatia Foundation recorded 622 deaths in Ukraine (a third more than two months ago).
The court evicted Aleksandr Antonov, a disabled veteran of the Afghan war, from his apartment in Omsk. He had taken out a loan and had been regularly paying it off until his "creditor" disappeared and turned out to have sued Aleksandr. So Aleksandr Antonov, who also has a disabled son, had no choice but to go to the war in Ukraine to earn money.
The authorities of the village of Aginskoye in the Zabaykalsky region announced a state contract for 11.3 million rubles for the creation of a memorial complex, "To the Heroes of the Special Military Operation," in the center of the settlement. Earlier, we reported about the contest for the sketch of this monument.
100 children of mobilized residents of Volgodonsk will be sent to summer camps in the Rostov region. Head of the Evenk community, Mikhail Trofimov, handed over 64 kilograms of foal meat to wounded mobilized soldiers from Yakutia [Russia’s constituent republic]. Members of the legislative assembly of the Kaliningrad region “shared” firewood with the families of mobilized soldiers. In the Sakhalin region, the wife of a mobilized man would reportedly be helped with repairing a leaking roof in her house. In Vologda, Volgograd region, children of mobilized soldiers were promised free access to a quest based on the TV series Wednesday. Meanwhile, in Bratsk, Irkutsk region, a man stole a box of aid for Russian servicemen from a store.