The State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] approved the draft federal budget for 2024-2026 in its second reading. Journalists Farida Rustamova and Maxim Tovkaylo note that next year’s budget will be the most militarized in modern Russian history. Defense and law enforcement expenditures are set to exceed 14 trillion rubles [$157.8 billion], or around 39% of the federal budget. Meanwhile, 1.2 trillion rubles [$13.5 billion] worth of spending have been declassified by amendments introduced ahead of the second reading. Most of it now appears under the national defense section, whose planned expenditures grew by 725 billion rubles [$8.2 billion]. Out of these, 305.26 billion rubles [$3.4 billion] will be spent on goods, labor and services in the defense sector, as well as social guarantees for military personnel. Another 370 billion rubles[$4.2 billion] will be spent on personnel compensation. Earlier, the State Duma had passed a bill to raise military pensions by 4.5% on Oct. 1, 2024.
The Ministry of Education published an order to consider participation in the war against Ukraine as a personal achievement in college [specialized professional training school] applications. Similarly, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education had earlier instructed universities to grant up to 10 extra points to applicants for participating in the war.
Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin announced the city has fulfilled its 2023 contract soldier recruitment objectives ahead of schedule. If he is to be believed, more than 22,000 individuals have enlisted since the beginning of the year, reaching a total of 47,000 since the start of the “special military operation.” Recruitment efforts are expected to continue regardless.
The authorities of Mari El [Russia's constituent republic] have increased the one-time sign-up bonus for participants in the war in Ukraine who voluntarily sign a contract with the Ministry of Defense from 100,000 [$1,120] to 250,000 [$2,800] rubles. Additionally, Head of Udmurtia [Russia's constituent republic] Aleksandr Brechalov announced that starting from December, mobilized men who sign a contract will receive a regional payment of 50,000 [$560] rubles. These payments will also apply to those who have already signed a contract. It is worth noting that last week, several regions introduced additional payments for those willing to sign a contract with the Ministry of Defense.
Journalists from 72.RU [Tyumen city online media outlet] discovered that it has become extremely difficult for convicts to obtain parole or have their sentences changed to forced labor. Instead, they are persistently offered the option to sign contracts with the Ministry of Defense. According to a source among the convicts, this September around 120 men were transported out of the IK-6 penal colony in the town of Ishim.
In the city of Voronezh, the police conducted a roundup at a restaurant, checking the documents of those present at a birthday celebration. Draft notices were handed to 50 men of Azerbaijani origin to report to the draft office for statutory military service. Later, a source in the region's law enforcement confirmed the roundup. According to the source, a significant portion of the group had recently acquired Russian citizenship but had not registered for military service, prompting their invitation to the draft office for a "data check-up." It is worth noting that in recent months, authorities have regularly conducted roundups targeting migrants who had acquired Russian citizenship, issuing draft notices and forcibly conscripting them into the military.
Women whose husbands and sons had been mobilized to fight in Russia's invasion of Ukraine applied for permission to hold a rally on Nov. 25 on Teatralnaya Square in Moscow, the Put Domoy [Way Home] Telegram channel reported. According to the application, the purpose of the rally is “to support mobilized citizens and their families, to promote human rights, and to stand for demobilization of civilians and limitation of a maximum length of service under partial mobilization to one year.”
In Novosibirsk, the authorities have allegedly permitted the wives of mobilized men to rally indoors. As announced earlier, the activists will convene at a local community center on Nov. 19. Attendance will be strictly limited to family members in possession of their relative’s mobilization certificate. Those willing to participate will be required to register within 24 hours prior to the gathering.
In Siberia, women are being threatened by law enforcement officers for planning to protest for their loved ones’ return home. Some women from the Kemerovo and Krasnoyarsk regions told Vazhnyye Istorii [IStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet] they had received intimidating police visits after having joined the social media groups campaigning for the return of mobilized forces from the “special military operation.” The women were warned by police that they were facing potential fines for taking part in unauthorized protests. Some of them said police had forced them to unlock their phones and reveal their Telegram subscriptions. Shortly after these phone searches the chat for the relatives of mobilized residents from Kemerovo was deleted.
Journalists from the Vladimir-based independent Russian media outlet Dovod have reported on residents of the region who are missing in action. Notices about these missing persons have surfaced in the Telegram channel of the Storm-Z unit. Almost all of them are ex-convicts recruited by the Ministry of Defense to fight in the war. Some have not been heard from since June.
The mother of Andrey Prischepa, a mobilized father of three serving in the 1007th Regiment, recorded a video address, begging for her son to be demobilized or at least be granted leave as he has not been home for a year. His family had already petitioned the Ministry of Defense, the Presidential Administration and the Military Prosecutor’s Office, but were denied across the board. At the time of mobilization, the man already had three children, although only two of them were officially documented.
In the Saratov region, Dmitry Kiryukhin, on leave from the front, conducted a “lesson of courage” at a local school, where he told children of his participation in combat. Upon returning home, he assaulted his neighbor and his wife to the point where the man lost consciousness. The victims were hospitalized, and charges have been filed with the police. However, they fear that Kiryukhin will return to the war, evading punishment. Following the incident, the city administrators and the school, where the lesson took place, deleted the social media post about the event.
Responding to request for comment by the NGS42 news outlet, the Federal Bailiff Service refuted the claim that Vladislav Kanyus, the murderer of Vera Pekhteleva, is relieved from paying compensation to her family: “Payments owed by him are deferred until he is demobilization, as is the case with any other participants in the special military operation.” According to the bailiffs’ records, Kanyus is still in the combat zone. However, already in September, human rights activist Alyona Popova, representing the interests of Vera’s family, wrote that Kanyus had been out of combat and “posting pictures of BBQing trips.”
The head of police in Perm has instructed the personnel to monitor former convicts who were pardoned for their participation in the war in Ukraine, even though official supervision cannot be established over them. According to an anonymous source, the police are also required to communicate politely with the pardoned individuals and address them formally.
On the night of Nov. 15, a man threw a Molotov cocktail through the window of the military commissariat [enlistment office] in the city of Prokhladny, Kabardino-Balkaria [Russia’s constituent republic]. As a result of the arson, a table in one of the offices caught fire. The arsonist was apprehended. According to the SHOT Telegram channel, correspondence with his “handlers” was found on his phone. According to the Astra Telegram channel, the detained 24-year-old Daniil K. explained the arson by the fact that he had previously been summoned to this military commissariat.
In Perm, a 42-year-old woman was arrested for attempting to set fire to the military commissariat. She threw a bottle with an incendiary mixture through the window of the first floor. The bottle shattered against the glass outside the building, and the military commissariat suffered no damage. It is reported that anonymous individuals messaged the woman, posing as law enforcement officers, and demanded that she commit arson. The arsonist is preliminarily charged with deliberate destruction or damage to someone else’s property.
In Saint Petersburg, a female pensioner set fire to a minibus near the regional military commissariat. She was detained, presumably by a passerby, to whom she allegedly stated that it was a protest action. According to the Fontanka media outlet, the pensioner’s target was the military commissariat. According to initial reports, she had been continuously talking on the phone with “officers from the Federal Security Service (FSB)” who advised her to set the car on fire since she could not approach the military commissariat itself.
A court in Sevastopol has placed a woman who attempted to set fire to a military commandant's office under house arrest. Criminal proceedings for hooliganism have been initiated against her, and she faces up to seven years of imprisonment.
In Dzerzhinsk, Nizhny Novgorod region, railroad relay cabinets were set on fire, resulting in the delay of two passenger trains.
Details have emerged about the 15-year-old teenager from the Kherson region whose detention was reported yesterday. His name is Danylo Kliukyn. As The Astra Telegram channel found out, there were no charges against the minor at the time of his detention, and the reasons for his arrest are unknown. Another school student was detained with Danylo, but he was released. The current whereabouts of this teenager are unknown.
The mosque in the town of Novocheboksarsk initiated a collection of aid for the military at a hospital in Samara. Meanwhile, in Udmurtia, prosecutors received letters about the need to raise money for the army, requesting 1,000 rubles [$11] from each employee.
The Ministry of Education submitted a bill for discussion in the State Duma, proposing to include the basics of using drones in combat in the school course "Fundamentals of Security and Defense of the Motherland." Additionally, students will be informed about the properties of weapons of mass destruction and the functioning of firearms. For the new Fundamentals of Life Safety course, schools are purchasing ammunition and injury simulators. Furthermore, within this new course, students will be taught to recognize extremism and counteract it.
In Saint Petersburg, schoolchildren were given a test to "assess their personal development." The test included questions related to the war with Ukraine, prisoners of war and the concept of “justifiable murder.” Some parents were outraged by these questions and wrote complaints to the education committee. Officials replied that the test was imposed from above; however, ultimately, the survey was suspended.
According to a recent study by the sociological company Russian Field, opposition to the continuation of the war has peaked since the beginning of the “special military operation.” Only 39 percent of respondents supported continuing the war, 38 percent approved of a second wave of mobilization, and 74 percent were ready to support the president’s decision to sign a peace agreement as soon as possible and end the war. In the meantime, Novaya Gazeta [independent Russian newspaper] conducted an interview with sociologist Aleksey Levinson to investigate changes in the views of the Russian majority regarding the "special military operation," as well as the existence of a public demand for peace.
In Buryatia, Russia's constituent republic, a voting precinct has been named after the deceased mobilized individual, Bimba Budaev, who, prior to his mobilization, worked as a physical education and Fundamentals of Life Safety teacher.
The Cherta media outlet has released a piece on men who fought in the forces of self-proclaimed republics in eastern Ukraine and sustained serious injuries, with Russian authorities showing reluctance to provide assistance to them.