At approximately 0516 EST, several deputies of the Russian State Duma took to social media to suggest that the government should change the criminal code including concepts of mobilization, martial law, and armed conflict. Four separate MPs suggested longer prison sentences for servicemembers for desertion and up to 15 years for looting during wartime.
At 0630, the lowerhouse of the Duma approved legislation which amended the criminal code with regards to the aforementioned areas. The legislation is authored by deputies Dmitry Vyatkin, Ernest Valeev, Vasily Piskarev, Andrey Kartapolov, Leonid Slutsky, Oleg Nilov, Vladislav Davankov, Viktor Sobolev, Nikolai Kolomeytsev, as well as senators Andrey Klishas and Olga Kovitidi.
Soldiers absent for two to 10 days will face up to five years in prison—up from one year. Russian soldiers who are absent for a period of 10 days to one month could face a jail term of seven years—up from three years. Meanwhile, leaving a unit for more than a month will result in a punishment of up to 10 years, up from five.
Soldiers who disobey orders from superiors during wartime, or refuse to fight, will also face, according to the legislation, two to three years behind bars, and in more severe cases, three to 10 years.
The legislation also proposes a 10-year sentence for military-industrial sector workers who fail to hit delivery targets and deadlines on state orders. Now the bill will go to the upper house, the Federation Council for approval before being signed by President Putin.
The lower house of the Duma also passed legislation at 0906 EST which allows foreign nationals to receive Russian citizenship after serving in the military for one year. The Mayor of Moscow, responded shortly after by ordering city officials to open specialized enlistment centers for foreign nationals wanting to join the Russian Armed Forces.
This legislation comes during heightened suspicion the President Putin will announce a general mobilization to increase the war effort in Ukraine. Currently, the Kremlin has been reported to be scrambling to answer the successful Ukrainian counter offensives in Kharkiv and Kherson. This legislation may signal that the Duma and President Putin intend to enforce these laws on newly conscripted soldiers if a mobilization is called.