In Russia’s constituent republic of Tatarstan, the State Council [regional parliament] has proposed to prosecute citizens for "discrediting" the Armed Forces, even when they left the country. The council co-authored a federal bill with Ayrat Farrakhov, member of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] from Tatarstan, in order to amend the Criminal Code. The changes would extend the list of crimes to be prosecuted, even when committed abroad. Until now, the only such crime was participation in the activities of an undesirable organization. The continuation of the "special military operation" is leading to increasingly frequent antiwar statements by Russians abroad, argue the bill authors.
Moreover, the State Council of Tatarstan has drafted another bill, which would allow citizens to perform their alternative civilian service in enterprises of the military-industrial complex. The bill is published on the web site of the regional parliament. It would amend the federal laws on military conscription, military service and alternative civilian service. The legislative initiative aims to mitigate the manpower shortages in the defense sector.
The State Duma will be considering a bill, which would integrate up to 60,000 Registered Cossacks of the Russian Federation into the mobilization reserve, which the Ministry of Defense could deploy to Ukraine. Nikolai Doluda, member of the State Duma and author of the initiative, admits that this would include all of the members of the paramilitary formation, excluding students and the elderly.
A draft office in Moscow denied a request to be taken off military rolls from a man who left Russia a year and a half ago. He had submitted all the necessary documents, but received a negative response. He then had legal help to draft a new letter, where he listed the reasons why he could not make the request in person. "Only people, who are planning to leave the country can request to be taken off military rolls, but not those that have already left," was the draft office response.
Another raid targeted illegal migrants and men who recently obtained Russian citizenship but have not registered for military service in the city of Krasnoyarsk. During the raid, draft office personnel issued draft notices to 13 market workers. In September, the police reported a raid resulting in at least 20 draft notices being issued. Similar raids have been conducted across the country in recent months.
The employees of one of the major industrial companies in the city of Yekaterinburg have reported that the company sent them to the draft offices for their data check-up. According to the management, this is necessary for issuing draft deferrals.
The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Sergey Petlevan from the Omsk region, Kirill Sharikaev from Bashkortostan [Russia's constituent republic], Aleksey Dolgaychuk from the Volgograd region, Renat Abaydullin from the Tyumen region and Dmitry Kulikov from the Tomsk region.
Relatives of mobilized soldiers continue their efforts to bring their loved ones back home by sending messages to government representatives during live broadcasts. The latest attempt was made during a conversation between Aleksandr Brechalov, Head of Udmurtia [Russia's constituent republic], and residents of the republic. In response, he stated that currently, more than 100 people from the ranks of the mobilized in Udmurtia are on leave. However, more than 400 servicemen have not been granted leave yet.
The administration of Rzhev town buried an unidentified body under the guise of mobilized soldier Mikhail Smirnov (more details here), who was believed to have been killed in the war. Acquaintances of the killed soldier claim that distant relatives went along with this to receive death gratuity. Friends refused to participate in the farewell ceremony, as they continued to hope that Smirnov was still alive.
Journalists from the Vyorstka media outlet discovered that in the first half of 2023, Russian garrison military courts issued verdicts in criminal cases involving 2,726 military personnel. This is the highest number since 2012, as it had not exceeded 2,000 cases in recent years. According to data from Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet], the charge of going AWOL may lead in the number of verdicts.
A mercenary from the Wagner Group was arrested in Kamyshin for the rape of two underage girls. On Oct. 9, the man met the victims and invited them to his home. The man was subsequently detained.
In the Kemerovo region, an intoxicated fighter from the Wagner Group recruited for the war in Ukraine from the penal colony and returned home in August, attacked his acquaintance’s former husband with a knife during a gathering. The victim was hospitalized, and the mercenary was apprehended. A case of causing grievous bodily harm has been initiated. The man had previously been convicted seven times.
The Ulan-Ude Garrison Military Court sentenced Artyom Popov, a contract soldier, to three years in a penal colony and ordered him to pay 400,000 rubles [$4,000] in compensation for causing grievous bodily harm with the use of a weapon. It is reported that during his treatment after being wounded, he stabbed a man during a dispute over loud music. The court considered his voluntary deployment to the war at the beginning of mobilization as a mitigating factor.
A court in Rostov-on-Don sentenced Ilsur Aminev, a mobilized soldier, to 10 years in a maximum security penal colony for the murder of a fellow soldier during the war in Ukraine. According to the verdict, Aminev shot him with a Kalashnikov assault rifle during a heated conflict. Aminev requested a reduction in his sentence during the appeal, citing the alleged "immoral behavior" of the victim, who purportedly threw Aminev’s belongings out of the trench shelter. However, the Southern District Military Court upheld the decision.
The Primorsky Regional Court declared the search for Mayor of Bolshoy Kamen Rustam Abushaev, who fled to the war in March to evade criminal prosecution, as illegal. After the cases were initiated against him, the court ordered his detention in absentia but later revoked the decision. In August, it also canceled the search order.
The Chita Garrison Military Court found Senior Warrant Officer Dondok Budaev guilty of abuse of power involving violence and eight counts of petty bribery. He was sentenced to a fine of 700,000 rubles [$7,000].
The Kazan Garrison Military Court sentenced Ilnar Kharisov, a mobilized soldier, to five and a half years in prison for going AWOL during the period of mobilization. After a month at the training center, Kharisov left during his day off and did not return. On May 3, he was arrested in a rented apartment where he was hiding.
A woman was detained for attempting to set fire to a draft office in Tatarstan. The woman admitted that she was coerced into doing this by scammers who allegedly forced her to take out bank loans and give them almost 1 million rubles [$10,000]. The scammers ordered the woman to set fire to the draft office in order to get her money back. The police are considering opening a criminal case under the article "intentional destruction or damage to property."
According to Mediazona, Russian courts have received over 8,055 protocols mentioning the discrediting of the Russian Armed Forces since the beginning of March 2022. What exactly constitutes "discrediting" is interpreted as broadly as possible. For instance, it includes actions such as showing disrespect for the letter Z, which has become an unofficial symbol of the invasion of Ukraine, as well as making calls for individuals not to join the army and publishing information about civilians killed during the war.
Students at the Sarapulsk Industrial College in Udmurtia are forced to participate in the "We Are Together" campaign to support the Russian Army. In social media, they have been instructed to purchase toothbrushes and wet wipes for the frontline.
The Presidential Grants Foundation will invest 10 million rubles [$100,000] in a "war correspondent school." The application was submitted by a graduate of Tomsk's journalism department and a fan of propagandist Zakhar Prilepin [a Russian author, political and social activist]. Aspiring journalists will be sent as trainees to Donetsk and Luhansk. The project aims to "highlight the cultural unity of the Donbas with Russia."
According to the Vedomosti [The Record] business daily newspaper, the number of job vacancies for teenagers aged 14 to 17 on Headhunter [the leading online recruitment platform in Russia] has increased by 454% compared to the previous year. Since the beginning of the year, the employment service has helped over 370,000 young people find jobs, accounting for 6% of the total number of minors in the country.
Courses specializing in unmanned aviation systems will be introduced in Novosibirsk schools in the 2024-2025 academic year, according to Vladimir Shchukin, Deputy Minister of Education for the Novosibirsk region.
As reported by Vazhnye Istorii [IStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet] based on open sources, at least sixty schools in Russia have been named after the participants killed in the war with Ukraine. Two schools have been named after Wagner Group mercenaries.
The Voyennye Advokaty [Military Lawyers] Telegram channel explains how the rules for military registration have changed in educational institutions.