In just one year, Russian military courts received nearly 3,000 cases involving soldiers who did not want to fight or did not show up.
Putin tightened sanctions. But more than half of them receive conditional sentences – to be sent straight back to the front.
Now a woman has been convicted for the first time. The military court in Vladikavkaz has sentenced pregnant Madina Kabalogeva to six years in a penal colony for failing to show up after Vladimir Putin announced a “partial mobilization,” reports said. Kommersant, Doxa And other Russian media.
It could result in ten years in prison
The ruling was postponed until 2032, when her eldest child will turn 14.
According to the woman, before the trial she received a recommendation from military doctors to leave the service, because she was pregnant and also had a five-year-old child – but the prosecution did not accept the arguments.
Kommersant wrote that her lawyer Roman Rabadanov believes the court ruling is illegal and will appeal.
VG’s review of Russian domestic media and Telegram channels shows that a very large number of people are being prosecuted. If a person is convicted of escape, it could result in imprisonment for up to ten years.
– Without defending them, I would like to say that there are many heartbreaking cases, says Department Head Inna Sangadzeva at the Helsinki Committee of VG.
- On 30 August, two soldiers from Russia’s Far East were sentenced to two years and eight months each. One organization also reported that Vitaly Dzunkowski and Ivan Tarasov were sentenced for refusing orders Lawyers who practice martial law On telegram. They blamed a lack of training and fear for their lives and health, but they were still convicted.
- Nikolai Shablokov from Pskov was recently sentenced to two years in prison for attending his mother’s funeral. The army claimed that it had not been notified, according to reports Doxa.
- In Chelyabinsk, Siberia, a man was sentenced to five years and eight months in prison for escape, also according to Doxa.
- An unnamed man was reportedly sentenced to two years and three months in a penal camp because he refused to go fight in Ukraine, because he grew up there and did not want to kill his friends there. Astra on Telegram.
- In Novotyrkassk, a man named Alexei K. was sentenced to death. He was imprisoned for five years and three months with a suspended sentence for not attending military service, according to military court lawyers.
- Private Dmitry Naryshkin fled the front three times. He was sentenced in July to 12 years in a penal colony, his military court lawyers wrote.
– Many are poor – and the salary in the army is good. So, they were tempted to sign the contract, Sangadzeva says.
– Others are wise. They thought they were going to an exercise, and suddenly found themselves in a war zone in Ukraine, says a human rights expert.
In September 2022, immediately after Vladimir Putin ordered the mobilization, sanctions were significantly tightened. What had previously been punishable by a maximum of five years in prison suddenly became punishable by ten years in prison. New sections have also been added so that “unauthorized surrender” can result in a sentence of up to ten years in prison.
Since military laws were tightened in September 2022, Russian military courts have received 2,930 cases against contract, conscript and mobilized soldiers, according to reports. Doxa.
– In about 75 percent of cases, the courts have already issued their rulings.
According to the report, the number of people sentenced to prison now is three times what it was before the war mediazone.
– It is not surprising that Russian men do not want to die on the front, Peter Viggo Jacobsen of the Danish Defense Academy told VG.
– When you see that they are taking convicts out of prison to become soldiers, it also shows how far Russia is willing to go to find soldiers – and that there are problems with recruitment.
Inna Sangadzhieva says that the Russian authorities are at a crossroads:
– On the one hand, they have a great need to recruit soldiers – and on the other hand, they should not scare people away from joining the army.
Therefore, the penalties should not be too severe either.
– Vladimir Putin needs cannon fodder. Therefore, he must have more soldiers. this is the most important.
Divided into four groups
Sangadzhiva divides soldiers into four groups: 1. professional military personnel, 2. contract soldiers, 3. conscripts and 4. military personnel. Mercenaries from the Wagner Group and other private companies.
The then head of Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, was conscripted into prisons. According to Sangadzhieva, they may have numbered about tens of thousands of prisoners – who were promised freedom after six months of military service in Ukraine.
-And now they are returning to Russia. Many of them are murderers and rapists. There is almost daily news of violence and theft… These convicts and former soldiers, now free men, are terrorizing entire villages.
– What do you do, or what do you do?
– The funny thing is that this is difficult for the police. Because there are also many laws that prohibit defamation of those who are in or participated in war. When they come home and do something criminal, conflict ensues. This is a time bomb, says Inna Sangadzhieva.
– Even the legal system doesn’t know how to deal with it.
It may also be one of the reasons why many soldiers receive suspended sentences – meaning they do not have to go to prison.
It allows soldiers to be returned directly to their military units, including the war in Ukraine, after Putin’s mobilization stipulates that you will only be expelled from the army if you receive an unconditional sentence.
Vladimir Putin announced the mobilization of 300,000 Russian troops in a televised speech on September 21, 2022.
Since then, the number of cases before military courts has been increasing every month. In July 2023, there were 522 people, more than ever before siberal.org. Most cases in the Moscow region.
mediazonean independent Russian outlet, found that in the first half of 2023 the number of cases was twice as many as in all of 2022.
Until September 2022, you could avoid military service by saying you had pacifist views. Now that is no longer possible.
– It was a possible way out for those who did not want to fight, says Sergei Krivenko of the Russian human rights group Citizens.Army.Rights. To sibreal.org.
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