According to a Bloomberg analysis of the 2024 Russian budget proposal, military expenditures will reach 10.8 trillion rubles [$112 billion]. This is almost 70% more than the 6.4 trillion rubles [$66 billion] allocated for military purposes in 2023. For the first time, military expenditures will represent the largest share of the budget, surpassing social welfare spending, such as pensions and benefit payments, which will only increase by 15%. Classified expenditures will see an even greater increase at 11.1 trillion rubles [$115 billion], up from 6.5 trillion [$68 billion] last year, representing approximately 30% of the entire budget. The Agentstvo.Novosti [Agency News] Telegram channel estimated that Russia could have increased healthcare and education spending fivefold with the funds that it intends to spend on war in 2024.
Several related bills announced on Sept. 21 have been introduced into the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia]. If passed, they would allow Rosgvardia [the National Guard of Russia] to muster volunteer fighter units. A rumor suggests that former mercenaries of the Wagner Group could join these new units. Furthermore, the administrative and criminal codes would be amended to criminalize the discreditation of Rosgvardia fighters.
The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation announced that garrison military courts are now operating in the occupied territories. Until now, all cases concerning military personnel charged with a crime in the occupied territories were filed with the garrison military courts in Rostov, Novocherkassk and Sevastopol. Starting Sept. 21, garrison military courts are operating in the Kherson, Luhansk, Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions.
Andrey Kartapolov, Chairman of the Defense Committee of the State Duma, officially stated that no new rules would apply to the Fall 2023 regular conscription campaign. Men will be summoned to military commissariats [enlistment offices] with paper draft notices, while electronic draft notices may only arrive as part of testing until the military registry is fully launched. At the same time, the fine for not appearing before the military commissariat will be increased to 30,000 rubles [$312] this year already. In the opinion of human rights activists interviewed by international Russian-language online media outlets Meduza [international Russian-language online media outlet] and Vazhnyye Istorii [IStories, independent Russian investigative media outlet], Kartapolov’s statement is disingenuous as the law on electronic draft notices allows them to be sent even before the registry is fully operational.
Russia’s constituent republic of Chuvashia is forming its second national battalion, as revealed by a story aired on the Vesti Chuvashia TV channel, which covered a shipment of cargo collected by residents of the republic, local entrepreneurs, and "charity" funds to support the military. In the first public mention of the unit, the Sura volunteer battalion was named as the recipient of the shipment. Earlier, the Atal volunteer battalion had been formed in the republic.
The list of mobilized soldiers killed in the war has been updated to include Aleksandr Arndt from Khakassia [Russia’s constituent republic], Yury Zolotukhin from the Perm region, Eduard Turdymatov from the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region, Aleksey Deryugin from the Volgograd region, as well as the Vladimir region residents Sergey Mayorov and Dmitry Burdakov.
Based on open sources, Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] and BBC News Russian, together with volunteers, have managed to verify the names of 32,656 Russian fighters killed in Ukraine, including 3,723 mobilized soldiers. Over the past week, the list has been updated to include 492 servicemen, among them 10 mobilized soldiers.
Russian regions have purchased approximately 100,000 funeral wreaths since the beginning of the war. According to data from the government procurement contracts portal analyzed by The Moscow Times, a total of 121 million rubles [$1,256,490] was spent on this purpose in 2022–2023. Expenses for funeral services have sharply increased compared to the pre-war period. The highest amount spent on funeral products during the war—over 17 million rubles [$176,530]—was in Buryatia [Russia's constituent republic].
The Federal State Statistics Service did not provide data to Mediazona regarding the number of people who became disabled due to the war with Ukraine. Previously, this number was concealed by the Social Fund of Russia. According to Mediazona's calculations, from the beginning of the war until the summer of 2023, over 5,000 individuals have received the status of a disabled veteran.
In the Kherson region, a military serviceman detonated a grenade while consuming alcohol with local residents, resulting in the deaths of two people. A criminal case has been initiated for violating the rules of handling dangerous objects leading to death.
A criminal case of sexual violence has been initiated against a 28-year-old resident of Komi [Russia’s constituent republic] who has gone to war. According to the investigation, he committed sexual abuse against his 15-year-old stepdaughter. The suspect has not been detained as he left for military training before being deployed to war.
The appellate court has confirmed the decision not to investigate how Arsen Melkonyan, who was sentenced to 11.5 years in prison in 2022 for a deadly assault, was able to leave the correctional facility. Melkonyan was already at liberty in 2022, having joined the Wagner Group to participate in the war. Additionally, Aleksandr Kilin, who was serving an 18-year prison sentence for the rape and murder of a 19-year-old girl, also joined the war effort from a correctional facility.
A man was detained on suspicion of attempting to set fire to relay cabinets on the railway in one of the districts of Rostov-on-Don. A criminal case was initiated against him under the charge of "Attempted act of terror," and he faces up to 20 years in prison.
A Tomsk school student, allegedly detained by police and the Federal Security Service (FSB) while attempting to set fire to a relay cabinet with a Molotov cocktail on the railway section between Tomsk-1 and Tomsk-2 stations, was arrested and placed in a pre-trial detention center. The charges were reclassified as an attempted act of sabotage.
The court in Perm has remanded Kirill Zamaleev to the pre-trial detention center until Nov. 13. According to the investigation, after the start of the war, he became "engaged in opposition internet resources," and in August 2023, he allegedly agreed to set fire to and explode the draft office for $400. To do this, he made something resembling a firecracker and tested the device in an empty area, but unsuccessfully. Zamaleev was apprehended, and he faces up to 10 years in prison on charges of attempted act of terror.
The Vasha Zanyatost [Your Employment] platform has been launched by the Krasnoyarsk Labor and Employment Agency for participants in the war in Ukraine and their families. On the platform, military personnel can submit resumes for job searching, apply for free training, learn about the progress of their cases, and register for disability benefits.
Deputies of the State Council of the Chuvash Republic have proposed providing housing to large families of soldiers without waiting in line. Currently, 380 families in Chuvashia are awaiting the allocation of housing. Previously, orphans who were involved in the war were eligible for similar benefits. Dmitry Artyukhov, Governor of the Yamalo-Nenets autonomous region, has instructed, that certificates for free tire replacements be issued twice a year, in the spring and fall, to the mothers and wives of military personnel.
The Rodnik Social Center in Nyagan (Khanty-Mansi autonomous region) will provide psychological support to fighters involved in the "special military operation" and their families through thematic clubs.
As part of the Pedagogical Landing project, students from Saratov have arrived in the occupied territory of the Kherson region to teach Ukrainian children the "history of the great and powerful country" referring to Russia.
Colleges in Kabardino-Balkaria [Russia’s constituent republic] and the Stavropol region have purchased several complexes for training drone operators, which will be used for Fundamental Life Safety lessons.
2nd and-4th year students at the Yelabuga Institute of Kazan Federal University are crafting cloak-tents for the military.
The Defenders of the Fatherland Fund organized a meeting in Komi for students of the Syktyvkar State University with a Wagner Group mercenary, who attended in uniform with Wagner Group patches and a covered face. The fund's website does not mention that the meeting was led by a Wagner Group member, and the group's symbols are obscured.
Residents of Irkutsk have initiated a signature collection campaign to remove a Z-banner from the facade of the Irkutsk Drama Theater, citing violations of city regulations.
One of the individuals elected to the Vladimir Regional Duma from the United Russia party [Putin’s ruling party] in the September elections was Valery Malyshov, who participated in the military invasion of Ukraine. He attended the inaugural session in military uniform adorned with medals and expressed his intention to soon return to the war.
In Russia's constituent Republic of Tatarstan, the Innopolis Special Economic Zone [technology park] and Innopolis University signed an agreement with the Unmanned Aviation Systems to organize testing of innovative unmanned aircraft concepts in the republic.
In the city of Yaroslavl, local authorities will erect a memorial for "those who died in the special military operation." According to the project plan, all burials will be decorated in a uniform style.
Civil defense classes will be conducted in Tolyatti libraries, with "training and consulting points" established in several libraries throughout the city.
Human rights activists from the Zona Solidarnosti [Solidarity Zone] Telegram channel have compiled data on incidents of arson, explosions and sabotage that have occurred throughout Russia's full-scale invasion in Ukraine.
The Lyudi Baikala [People of Baikal] independent media outlet released an investigative report on the Wagner Group mercenary cemetery near Irkutsk, which has doubled in size over the course of four months and is no longer kept concealed from the public. In April 2023, there were 53 graves, and by the fall, this number had increased to at least 140. Many of those buried there were convicts serving long sentences, typically without the possibility of parole, which was their main reason for signing mercenary contracts. Irkutsk authorities spent 14 million rubles [$145,978] to expand the cemetery, and now mercenaries are buried alongside mobilized soldiers and volunteer fighters.