In October, 100 Cossack volunteer fighters from the Krasnodar region left for the combat zone, and now, as claimed, there are over 6,400 members of the Kuban Cossack Army on the frontline.
Details have emerged about the mass murder that occurred a few days ago in the Russian-occupied town of Volnovakha. During the night of Oct. 27–28, unknown assailants entered the house where a family had gathered for a birthday celebration and shot dead everyone present, including two minors. At the time of the murder, all the victims were asleep. The VChK-OGPU Telegram channel has provided a list of nine deceased individuals. However, according to Izvestia [The News, a Russian pro-Kremlin daily broadsheet newspaper and a news channel], a total of ten people were murdered, as the body of an infant was allegedly found in the house. A wanted poster for the suspects has also been published, indicating that two unknown individuals, presumably military personnel armed with automatic weapons, are being sought. The criminals may be moving around on a red-and-white motorcycle. According to VChK-OGPU, the crime scene indicates that well-equipped military personnel, using night vision devices and silenced assault rifles, were involved. Additionally, according to relatives, no valuables were taken from the house. Furthermore, according to the channel’s information (caution: links contain photos of the deceased, including children), the murder was preceded by a conflict between the homeowner and a group of allegedly Chechen military personnel. This information was confirmed by a family acquaintance in a conversation with Vazhnyye Istorii [IStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet]. According to him, the military demanded moonshine. When their request was refused, they started a quarrel, threatening the people. Subsequently, they returned at night when the entire family was asleep and "avenged" themselves for the denied alcohol. On the evening of Oct.30, the Investigative Committee announced the arrest of two contract soldiers from the Far East on suspicion of murder. The names of the detainees have not been disclosed. According to the Investigative Committee, the motive for the murder was a conflict on domestic grounds.
In the Chukotka autonomous region [Russia's federal subject], Yury M., 39-year-old, who had returned home from the war, slashed his wife's throat with a kitchen knife during a heated argument. The incident led to the woman's hospitalization, but she survived. The soldier was detained and charged with petty hooliganism and is now being investigated for intentionally causing minor harm to his wife's health. The man could face up to two years of imprisonment.
In the Sverdlovsk region, Vladimir Shcherbakov, a former Wagner Group mercenary who had a prior criminal record, was detained on suspicion of brutally murdering an elderly woman in the village of Beloyarsky. According to the investigation, he hit her multiple times on the head with a log, stole money and jewelry. The attacker was apprehended three months after the crime, but the victim's relatives fear that he might rejoin the war and be pardoned by the president once again. The 41-year-old man had previously been convicted of theft and, while serving his sentence, he joined the Wagner Group and traveled to Ukraine. He was granted a pardon in April.
Vazhnyye Istorii explored the verdicts of garrison military courts and found several cases of Russian soldiers offering bribes to their superiors to avoid deployment to Ukraine. The bribes varied in amount, ranging from 10,000 rubles [$108] to 400,000 rubles [$4,350]. Five of the convicts received suspended sentences and fines as punishment. Given that the court dates and case texts are nearly identical, it can be assumed that the same commander demanded bribes from them. The sixth soldier was probably mobilized for service in the "LPR." He had to pay 400,000 rubles [$4,350], but he was apprehended during the transfer, leading to a two-and-a-half-year sentence in a maximum security penal colony.
The Mozhem Ob'yasnit [We can explain] Telegram channel, based on statistics from the Judicial Department of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation for the first half of 2023, found out that Russians are now less frequently fined for protests but face more fines for activities related to the "foreign agent law" and "LGBT propaganda." In total, first-instance courts imposed fines exceeding 162 million rubles [$1.75 million] for violations classified under "political" articles within the Code of the Russian Federation on Administrative Offenses. The article on "discrediting of the Armed Forces" remains one of the primary sources of income, though the number of convicted individuals and the total fines imposed under this article have decreased by almost half.
The Kurgan Regional Court is preparing to hear the case against local resident Maksim Kharytonov, who is accused of "cooperation on a confidential basis" with a foreign organization. Kharytonov was likely detained in mid-October. According to the investigation, in March, he contacted representatives of an unnamed Ukrainian organization banned in Russia and received "instructions for subversive and sabotage activities" from their representatives. He faces up to eight years of imprisonment.
In Saint Petersburg, plans are underway to allow free access to state museums and parks for Ukrainian war participants, along with their spouses and children.
As winter approaches, authorities are providing families of mobilized soldiers with firewood. For example, in Bashkortostan [Russia's constituent republic], after a mobilized soldier's mother made a request, firewood was delivered to seven families. In the Vologda region, employees of a penal colony in the village of Chebsara helped the wife of a mobilized man in chopping wood.
At school, during the "Talking About Important Things" classes, children will learn about the difference between Russia and the Roman Empire. Schoolchildren will be told that the Roman Empire, like other subsequent colonial powers, "subjugated nations, eroded their cultures, seized property, and appropriated cultural treasures." This will be compared to the Russian state, which is based on the idea of unity among nations and a common culture. Tenth-grade students will also learn about the valor of the Alyosha tank crew, which thwarted an attack by the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
An exhibition of military toys titled "Who is the most important among toys?" has been opened in Vologda at the "Museum of Childhood.” More than 2 million rubles [$21,600], allocated by the Presidential Fund for Cultural Initiatives, were invested in this patriotic exhibition featuring "appropriate games for children."
Russian authorities have established a school for FPV drone operators based on a sports club at the Crimean Federal University. There are a total of four training centers on the peninsula, each graduating 10 pilots every two weeks.
In Ingushetia [Russia’s constituent republic], Young Army [pro-Kremlin youth organization] members have been deployed to the regular "adult" army. This information was reported by the Young Army official Telegram channel in Ingushetia. The post states that the Ingush youth bid farewell to their families and set off for deployment. The exact number and age of these youth are not disclosed.
Using the example of 68-year-old Yury Kazakov from Krasnoyarsk, journalists demonstrated how psychologists are working to help war veterans. Initially, the man, who had struggled with alcoholism for a long time, had his son deployed to the frontline, and later, the man himself volunteered to join the war effort. After completing a six-month contract, he was released from service, but he still yearns to return to the war. Thanks to his wife, he began to address his issues through psychotherapy.
Three Russian citizens who fled the country after the start of mobilization have beenliving at Incheon International Airport in South Korea for more than a year. Local human rights activists are calling for them to be granted political asylum and humanitarian aid.
Artist Aleksandr Prosvirnov from the Samara region painted an icon of Ilya of Murom [Russian epic hero canonized by the Russian Orthodox church] with portraits of the soldiers who were killed on New Year's Eve in Makiivka. Among the other victims, the icon depicts the son of the priest from the artist's church. The Ministry of Defense reported 89 dead, while the names of 143 victims of the Makiivka strike are known from the obituaries collected by CIT and volunteers.