Changes to the law on Russian citizenship came into effect on Oct. 26. While making naturalization easier in some cases, they also allow revoking an acquired citizenship for "disseminating fakes about the Russian Armed Forces, discrediting the Russian Army, as well as deserting." It is worth noting that authorities had earlier granted foreigners the right to apply for citizenship under a simplified procedure if they sign a military service contract.
The State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] approved in the first reading the 2024-2026 federal budget proposal, which would see defense spending increase by 68% to reach 10.77 trillion rubles [$114.2 billion]. For reference, defense spending was budgeted at 6.4 trillion rubles [$67.9 billion] in 2023 and 3.57 trillion rubles [$37.9 billion] before the invasion of Ukraine (read more).
The authorities of Russia’s constituent Republic of Tatarstan announced a new 305,000 ruble [$3,236] sign-up bonus for contracts concluded with the Ministry of Defense after Aug. 31, 2023. The offer is valid until Dec. 31, 2023. Earlier, residents of Kazan [capital of Tatarstan] became eligible for a 200,000 ruble [$2,122] sign-up bonus, if they enlisted in October 2023. Kazan residents are also eligible for 100,000 ruble [$1,061] and 105,000 ruble [$1,114] sign-up bonuses, offered by employers and the Tatarstan Volunteer Society for Cooperation with the Army, Aviation, and Navy [paramilitary sport organization], respectively. Finally, they can all be combined with the 195,000 ruble [$2,068] sign-up bonus from the Ministry of Defense. Thus, a Kazan resident could receive up to 905,000 rubles [$9,600] for enlisting at this time.
Authorities of the town of Svirsk, Irkutsk region, sent off a single volunteer fighter to war. A video of the farewell ceremony was published by the town mayor.
Head of Chechnya [Russia's constituent republic] Ramzan Kadyrov announced the creation of another battalion in the region. It will be named after Baysangur of Benoy and will become part of Rosgvardia [the Russian National Guard]. The unit will consist of 300 servicemen and will be commanded by Bekhan Chalayev. The battalion is named after Baysangur of Benoy, who was an insurgent commander and fought against Russian troops during the Chechen uprising of 1860-1861. The uprising was suppressed, and Baysangur himself was hanged in Khasavyurt. Kadyrov had previously announced the formation of the battalion named after Sheikh Mansur, which is led by Ruslan Geremeyev.
Ex-head of the Omsk police Colonel Yevgeny Bykov went to the war. Earlier, he was sentenced to ten years of imprisonment in a maximum security penal colony for bribe taking. Bykov took advantage of a new law that allows convicts to sign a contract to fight against Ukraine and to expect a pardon at the end of the service.
In the Bryansk region, during a mortar attack, a serviceman was killed, two more were injured.
Frontelligence Insight, an OSINT team founded by Ukrainian military analyst Tatarigami, disseminated a regulation on Z assault units, allegedly issued by Russia’s Ministry of Defense, that sets out processes of formation, training and combat designation of such units. The document has been available for public access online since April 2023. The Sota media outlet points out a large number of errors and inconsistencies in the regulation, leading reporters to suggest that the document is most likely a fake.
Ex-convicts who signed contracts with the Ministry of Defense struggle getting their benefits paid out, State Duma member Maxim Ivanov told the media. The official says he receives numerous complaints on missed or delayed payments from families of such fighters. Relatives also complain about being unable to trace their loved ones who were deployed to Ukraine.
The Baza Telegram channel covers the criminal investigation into the commander of a volunteer unit called "Vatan," suspected of murdering four fellow servicemen. Evidence suggests that the commander routinely subjected his soldiers to extortion, beatings and death threats. According to the victims’ relatives and fellow officers, he imposed an unlimited control over all incoming crowdsourced aid, reselling donated items to his personal benefit. He also forced members of the unit to participate in fundraisers; those who refused to chip in were beaten up and tied to trees. The murders are believed to have been committed while the suspect was attempting to extort money.
As reported by the VChK-OGPU Telegram channel, which is linked to the security forces, the double murder in the Storm-Gladiator unit (formerly Storm-Z), which was mentioned in our previous summary, could have occurred due to a conflict between the company commander, his deputy, and their subordinates over money that was donated to the unit.
In the Zabaykalsky region [Russia's federal subject], a serviceman was sentenced to two and a half years of imprisonment for refusing to execute an order.
The South Sakhalin Garrison Military Court has sentenced a serviceman to four years in a maximum security penal colony for going AWOL. In March 2023, a resident of Sakhalin Island escaped from temporary deployment grounds within the territory of the "DPR," and on April 19, he voluntarily returned to the military unit in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.
Criminal cases have been initiated against two men originally from Tajikistan who acquired Russian citizenship. They are being charged with evasion of military service. Muhammadnabi, aged 19, and Maksud, aged 18, were scheduled to report for regular biannual conscription but fled from the assembly point in Moscow. Subsequently, one of them was located via security cameras and apprehended, while the whereabouts of the second man remain unknown.
Ruslan Zinin, who opened fire on the military commissar in the town of Ust-Ilimsk, has been added to the registry of extremists and terrorists.
Valery N., 26-year-old, has been detained on suspicion of arson of a relay cabinet in Saint Petersburg, which occurred on the night of July 14. It is reported that the man had previously been convicted of larceny and car theft and was declared wanted by federal authorities even before the arson. According to law enforcement, the man agreed to commit arson for a reward of 10,000 rubles [$107]. Currently, a case has been initiated against him for deliberate property damage, and he faces up to five years in a penal colony.
The appellate court has reduced by six months the sentence of Crimea resident Ivan Kupich in a case of arson of a draft office and preparation for the sabotage of a railroad bridge. In March, he was sentenced to 10 years in a maximum security penal colony. The verdict was changed upon the submission by the prosecutor, who requested a reduction of the sentence by one month.
As it was found out that on June 7, the court in Ryazan sentenced local resident Nikolay Baranov to a year of forced labor with the withholding of 10% of his income for the arson of a courthouse. He was found guilty of attempted deliberate property damage. According to the verdict, Baranov, in a state of alcohol intoxication, planned to set fire to a draft office after learning that his acquaintance had received a draft notice but confused the buildings and threw two Molotov cocktails at the courthouse.
The Federal Security Service (FSB) reported the "liquidation" of a man who allegedly intended to explode a draft office in Tver. It is claimed that he was a member of a "banned Ukrainian formation" who transmitted "data on military and energy facilities to Ukraine, and was supposed to explode the draft office." According to law enforcement, the man resisted arrest.
In Russia, for the first time, charges of treason were filed due to cryptocurrency transfers for the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The accused is Andrey Vechirko, a resident of the Khabarovsk region, and he is currently under arrest in the Lefortovo pre-trial detention center. According to the FSB, he "used cryptocurrency tools to transfer personal funds through third parties residing in Ukraine to the account of a foreign charitable foundation."
The Vyorstka media outlet analyzed the statistics from the Judicial Department of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation for the first six months of 2023 and found that the number of guilty verdicts for sexualized crimes and extremism in the first half of 2023 reached a record high over the past five years.
The government of the Samara region proposed to grant free plots of land up to 1,000 square meters to participants of the war with Ukraine. The Novosibirsk region assembly has already approved a similar bill that allows providing land for free to participants of the "special military operation" who have received state awards, as well as to the family members of deceased or injured military personnel. A similar bill has passed the first reading in the Legislative Assembly of the Perm region [Russia’s federal subject]. Previously, similar laws were adopted in several other regions. More details on this practice can be found in the Vyorstka article.
According to amendments to the legislation of the Primorsky region, spouses of killed participants of the "special military operation" who have not remarried will be exempt from transportation tax starting from next year.
Numerous reports on involving children in weaving camouflage nets and making trench candles in schools and children's centers appeared in regional social media groups in Russia’s constituent republics of Mari El, Bashkortostan and Tatarstan.
Parents in school chats are invited to participate in collecting items for injured soldiers from Chuvashia [Russia's constituent republic]. The emergency collection has been initiated by local foundations, one of which is led by the wife of the republic's head. Additionally, parents of Kolomna College students are being asked to raise money for servicemen for the second time.
In Novokuznetsk, a retired military officer and the chairwoman of the Society for Russian Culture recently conducted a "lesson in courage" for high school seniors. During this session, they discussed the "hybrid war of the United States and the West against Russia" and cited conspiracy theories and fake quotes from well-known military figures in support of their claims.
In the city of Rubtsovsk in the Altai region [Russia’s federal subject], several individuals have faced disciplinary action for selling military vehicles, which were intended to be displayed in the local Patriot Park, as scrap metal.
According to the analysis by the Agentstvo.Novosti [Agency News] Telegram channel, based on data from government procurement contracts, Russian government agencies and state-affiliated companies spent no less than one billion rubles [$10,6 million] on counter-drone defense in the first ten months of the second year of the war. This expenditure is six times higher than the total spending in the preceding year (167 million rubles [$1.8 million]) and 49 times larger than the expenses in the pre-war year of 2021 (21.5 million [$228,000]).
Residents of homes affected by attacks in Shebekino, Belgorod region of Russia, have been writing angry messages to the district head and the regional governor since the summer, hoping to secure the promised housing restoration from the authorities. However, their messages remain unanswered. The governor estimated the repair costs in the affected areas at 900 million rubles [$9.6 million], but contractors have not received funds from the authorities. At the same time, the region has signed an agreement for the restoration of social facilities in the "LPR" for a sum of 1,6 billion rubles [$17.1 million].
The Idel.Realii online media outlet [part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] investigated how the Volga region is coping with the development of unmanned aviation systems. In the Samara region, a plant for the production of drones is under construction, which is planned to be completed by the end of 2023.The Perm region will allocate 302 million rubles [$3.2 million] for the construction of a scientific and educational center for the development of UAVs. In Bashkortostan, serial production of the first domestic helicopter-type unmanned aerial vehicle, BAS-200, was organized in June. Drone production is also established in Russia’s constituent republics of Udmurtia and Tatarstan.