In Russia, a 17-year-old Ukrainian citizen was served a draft notice. In 2022, Bohdan Ermokhin was deported by Russian soldiers from the occupied city of Mariupol and placed in foster care into a Russian family. Irina Rudnitskaya, a Moscow region resident and the teenager’s legal guardian, indicated that Ermokhin has been summoned to the draft office for a data check-up. He is a student, has been granted a draft deferral and should not be conscripted, she asserted. The youth had earlier received Russian citizenship. He nevertheless tried to escape Russia and return to Ukraine in March 2023, but was stopped by law enforcement officers at the border. According to Vazhnyye Istorii [IStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet] estimates, the number of minors in the Russian federal orphan database, which were taken from Ukraine, could reach 2,500. The media outlet describes what happens to Ukrainian children in Russian orphanages. They are forced to celebrate the days of annexation of Ukrainian territories, write letters to the "heroes of the special military operation," sit behind school desks, which honor Russian participants of the war, and obtain Russian citizenship when they turn 14, all in an attempt to teach them to love their "greater homeland."
The competition between regions for volunteer fighters, who are willing to sign a contract with the Ministry of Defense and join the war, continues. Each region is presumably looking to meet the recruitment targets it was assigned from above before the year’s end.
- Governor of the Lipetsk region Igor Artamonov will be seeking to amend the regulations currently limiting eligibility for the sign-up bonus to the region’s residents only. Moreover, the sign-up bonus amount will be increased by five times, i.e. from 50,000 ($540) straight to 250,000 rubles ($2,720).
- Several advertisements seeking contract soldiers for the Russian Army have been posted on Avito, Russia’s largest online marketplace, the Mozhem Ob'yasnit [We can explain] Telegram channel revealed. While the headlines of these ads remain seemingly trivial, offering employment in civil service, the detailed description lists terms and conditions of contract-based military service, including the monthly salary range that starts from 325,000 rubles ($3,810). The ads are targeting a number of regions, albeit with Moscow always listed as the location where the contract is to be signed. The ads also mention an additional monthly benefit of 50,000 rubles ($540) offered by the Moscow Mayor’s office. Finally, a yet additional monthly allowance of 75,000 rubles ($820) will be paid by an unspecified state-owned institution.
- Concurrently, Head of Chuvashia [Russia's constituent republic] Oleg Nikolaev raised the sign-up bonus for volunteer recruits who conclude a contract with the Ministry of Defense from 50,000 ($540) to 150,000 rubles ($1,630). Furthermore, the regional administration will be granting allotments to the participants of the war against Ukraine.
- Governor of Bashkortostan [Russia's constituent republic] Radiy Khabirov issued a decree awarding an additional sign-up bonus worth 100,000 rubles ($1,090) to conscripts and mobilized soldiers who sign a contract with the Ministry of Defense after Nov. 10. The benefit is reserved for residents of Bashkortostan with no prior service in any of the volunteer units existing in the republic. The decree will apply until Dec. 31, 2023. Yet, back in January 2023, Khabirov had signed another decree to introduce a benefit of 200,000 rubles ($2,180) payable to Bashkir volunteer fighters for every six months of duty in a combat zone of the "special military operation."
The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Victor Zharkov from Russia’s constituent Republic of Dagestan, Sergey Tishinin from the Vologda region, Andrey Ionov from the Yaroslavl region and Savva Mikhailov from Russia’s constituent Republic of Sakha.
It has also been reported that Savva Mikhailov, a mobilized communist from the Republic of Yakutia, died in the hospital in Saint Petersburg. He returned to the frontline after losing the elections to the legislative assembly of the republic, but later ended up in intensive care with a "digestive illness."
Authorities in the Khabarovsk region [Russia’s federal subject] have erected a monument at the site where 12 OMON (riot police) members from Komsomolsk-on-Amur were buried. All of them belonged to the Uragan [Hurricane] special unit and were killed in Ukraine on July 20, 2022, as a result of an attack on a barracks in the Luhansk region. The details of the unit’s death are still kept secret by the authorities.
Vazhnyye Istorii uncovered that Russian soldiers have extensively transferred to the Luchi [Lights] banking app. The Ministry of Defense’s website states that soldiers can make transactions using their bank cards in this application. Information about the app is actively discussed by the relatives of mobilized individuals in closed chats and communities. The developer is the Russian company Multicarta, part of the diversified T1 Group holding, which, in turn, may be associated with VTB [Russian majority state-owned bank].
The Astra Telegram channel has published several videos from protests that relatives of mobilized soldiers held at Teatralnaya Square in Moscow on Nov. 7, during a communist rally dedicated to October Revolution Day. One of the videos features both Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of CPRF [the Communist Party of the Russian Federation], and Viktor Sobolev, a State Duma member and the chairman of the "Movement in Support of the Army," whom relatives of mobilized soldiers asked to appeal to the president in order to return their loved ones from the combat zone.
Putin granted a pardon to Vladislav Kanyus, who had received a 17-year sentence at a maximum security penal colony on murder charges. According to the document, Kanyus was pardoned on April 27, 2023, through a presidential decree with further release and removal of the conviction. In January 2020, in Kemerovo, Vladislav Kanyus killed his former girlfriend, 23-year-old Vera Pekhteleva. He tortured the young woman for more than three hours, and then strangled her to death. The victim's body had 111 various injuries recorded on it. Vera's mother shared her opinion on the killer's pardon with the Ostorozhno, Novosti [Beware the news] Telegram channel.
A Russian soldier has fatally shot two civilians in an occupied village in the Kherson region of Ukraine. According to the Astra Telegram channel, on Nov. 5, in the village of Nechaeve, neighbors found the bodies of local residents Tatyana Filenko and Serhii Avdeyev in the yard of a house. The suspect in the murder is reported to be detained, and identified as Aleksey Kosenkov, a 28-year-old serviceman of the 24th Regiment of the Russian Armed Forces, from the town of Kirovsk, Leningrad region. He admitted to shooting unknown local residents from his Kalashnikov assault rifle, however, the motive for the crime is unclear. It is worth noting that, at the end of October 2023, in the Russian-occupied town of Volnovakha, Donetsk region of Ukraine, nine local residents, including two children, were killed. Two Russian servicemen from the 155th Guards Naval Infantry Brigade were detained on suspicion of committing the crime.
According to the VChK-OGPU Telegram channel, in the Perm region [Russia’s federal subject], a former Wagner Group mercenary named Gladkov, who had been previously convicted four times, was detained on charges of sexually abusing a 12-year-old schoolgirl. At the same time, he was presented as a hero in the school.
The Volgograd regional court confirmed the verdict of Aleksandr Sokolov, who was sentenced to four years for robbery. Sokolov had previous convictions for thefts and double robbery. In 2019, he was sentenced to five and a half years in prison, but while in prison, he signed a contract with the Wagner Group. Sokolov attempted to challenge the new sentence, citing his awards and injuries from the war, but the court did not consider them.
In the Volgograd region, a widow whose spouse was killed in the war with Ukraine was robbed by a Wagner Group mercenary who had been assisting her after her husband's death. Additionally, in the same region, fellow soldiers are threatening the family of a Wagner Group mercenary whom they had killed. At the end of October, a mercenary named Gamid Panakhaliyev was beaten to death at the entrance of a residential building. Now, the relatives of the murdered man have reported receiving threats from Panakhaliyev’s former fellow soldiers, with whom he was in prison for drug trafficking and later signed a contract with the Ministry of Defense.
The Ufa Garrison Military Court sentenced 29-year-old Rafael Migranov, a volunteer fighter of the Shaimuratov volunteer battalion, to six years in a penal colony for going AWOL. According to the case materials, Migranov signed a contract with the Ministry of Defense in June 2022, upon learning about the death of his brother in the war. Half a year later, he returned home and continued to work as a locomotive driver at the Russian Railways [Russian fully state-owned railway company]. According to the defendant, he was unaware that the Ministry of Defense contract automatically extended until the end of the "partial mobilization."
The Federal Security Service (FSB) has detained a resident of Buryatia [Russia's constituent republic], who, according to the FSB, was operating on the orders of handlers from "Ukrainian intelligence services and the Azov Brigade." He was allegedly encouraging Russian soldiers to switch sides and join the Armed Forces of Ukraine. A criminal case for treason has been initiated against the detainee.
The FSB also apprehended an unnamed resident of Nizhny Novgorod while attempting to cross the border with Ukraine to join a "Ukrainian militarized terrorist organization." Based on the video, the arrest appears to have taken place during the summer or early fall. The man has been placed in a pre-trial detention center on suspicion of treason.
In the Arkhangelsk region, a criminal case has been launched against a 26-year-old Ruslan G. for calling on the internet to burn draft offices. He is charged with publicly inciting activities against the state's security. The maximum penalty for this offense is up to six years of imprisonment.
The military appellate court has upheld the verdict against Valeria Zotova, who was convicted for attempting to set fire to an aid collection point for mobilized soldiers. In late Jun. 2023, the 2nd Western District Military Court in Moscow sentenced her to six years in a penal colony.
The investigation has reclassified the charges against Balashikha resident Aleksandr Chestnykh, detained in connection with the arson of relay cabinets in the Moscow region. He is now accused of attempting to disable transportation and communication routes, committed in conspiracy. Previously, Chestnykh was charged with an act of terror committed in a group in conspiracy, with the case initially handled by the Investigative Committee and later handed over to the FSB.
In the Vladimir region, on Oct. 30, employees of one of the youth centers conducted an interactive program for schoolchildren titled "If I Were a Partisan." Children were taught to provide first aid to "injured soldiers" and were "introduced to combat techniques."
Educational programs for training internet police have emerged in Russian universities. Graduates will combat extremism and destructive content online. Additionally, in September 2024, one of the 16 military centers to be established at universities will be launched at Northeastern State University.
In the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region–Yugra [Russia's federal subject], the prosecutor's office demanded that a bank settle the debts of a woman whose husband was killed in the war in Ukraine. The widow approached the credit institution to settle a debt of 600,000 rubles [$6,503] based on her husband's death, but the bank refused. However, after the intervention of the prosecutor's office, the organization waived all the woman's debts.
Irkutsk authorities used the regional budget to purchase 457 apartments worth 1.5 billion rubles [$15 million] in 2023 for orphaned children. 100 of these orphans joined the war in Ukraine. Last year, apartments were granted to 865 people. There are a total of 11,900 orphans in the region waiting for apartments.
Omsk volunteers constructed 25 drones with explosives for Russian soldiers. Each drone cost 35,000 rubles [$350]. Additionally, volunteers from Belgorod sent Russian soldiers camping pillows, trench candles and warm clothing.
BBC News Russian published a report about a resident of the Kostroma region who spent many months trying to find her contract soldier son who had joined the war. She reached out to the military unit and even went to identify a body in the morgue in the Rostov region. Meanwhile, the news161.ru [Rostov-on-Don online media outlet] told the story of a female resident of Donetsk who had been searching for her husband, an ex-convict volunteer fighter who signed a contract with the Storm-Z unit to fight in the Donbas.