Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law amendment today that provides for a 10-year prison sentence for soldiers who desert or refuse to fight during periods of conscription.
In the middle of the week, Putin announced the partial mobilization of tens of thousands of reservists.
The amendment to the criminal code to toughen penalties for desertion was passed this week by parliament and published on the government’s website, meaning it has already come into force. A 10-year prison term is provided for those who desert, go “without approval” to the enemy, refuse to fight or disobey orders during periods of conscription. Looting is also punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
According to the Kremlin statement, Putin also signed a law making it easier to grant Russian citizenship to foreigners who pledge to serve at least one year in the army, as Moscow scrambles to recruit more men for to fight in Ukraine. Usually one is required to have lived in Russia for at least five years in order to apply for citizenship. This measure seems to be aimed primarily at immigrants from former Soviet republics in central Asia, who live in big cities and work in heavy and unsanitary occupations. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced Monday that a “recruitment office” will soon be operating inside the sprawling administrative center of Sakharov, through which all immigrants must pass.
Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan this week called on their citizens not to participate in any war.
Putin “Finished” General Bulgakov – Colonel Mizinchev in His Place
The general Dmitri Bulgakov was removed from the post of undersecretary of defense due to his “transfer to another position,” the ministry said, without elaborating. He will be replaced by the colonel Mikhail Mizinchev who “will be responsible for the logistical supply of the armed forces” he added. The 60-year-old Mizinchev, who until now was the head of the National Defense Control Center, will thus assume the duties of deputy minister.
During his long career Mizinchev held various positions of responsibility in the army general staff. He has been sanctioned by West because of the part he played in its siege Mariupoli by Russian forces last spring.
This change within the general staff comes a few days after the president of Russia Vladimir Putin announced the mobilization of tens of thousands of reservists to give new impetus to military operations in Ukraine. This mobilization is, however, an organizational challenge, since it requires gathering reservists from the four corners of a vast country, equipping them, transporting them to training centers and from there to the front. The invasion of Ukraine, however, brought to light the significant logistical difficulties facing the Russian military. Analysts believe that these deficiencies were one of the causes of the problems faced by Russian soldiers at the beginning of the war.