Russian Soldier In Snow
Representation. Russia is recruiting reinforcements from the country's Far East region as "they are better adapted to life in low temperature conditions and will be more effective in winter," according to Ukrainian intelligence. Eugene_69/Pixabay


  • A Russian soldier changed his perspective about war after he was converted to Buddhism
  • Russia seeks imprisonment for servicemen who 'refuse to follow a senior officer's order'

A Russian soldier who has changed his perspective on war due to religion was sentenced to prison, recent reports revealed.

Senior Lieutenant Dmitry Vasilets was sentenced to two years and five months in prison after a Russian military court in the Murmansk region found him guilty of not following orders during combat operations, Meduza reported.

The 27-year-old soldier has refused to return to war after converting to Buddhism.

"There's no sense in killing people. This won't help anything, but will only multiply suffering and destruction, making the situation worse. We should fight the anger within ourselves, instead of the enemy," he told the Novaya Gazeta in December before his sentencing, as translated by Meduza.

At the beginning of the Russian invasion, Vasilets was deployed to Ukraine for what he was told would be "training maneuvers."

"I think lots of us imagined that it would be just like Crimea — that everything would happen peacefully. At first, I had this unreal feeling, as if trapped in a video game or a movie," he told the outlet.

Vasilets was able to secure a 15-day leave of absence after five months of service, during which he visited the graves of his deceased army friends.

He also met one of his friends that visited Buryatia and his parents gave Vasilets a string of mala beads which are used in Buddhist and Hindu prayer ceremonies and meditation.

He later "accepted the philosophy of Buddhism" and realized that there was no point in fighting the war.

In August, Vasilets informed his superiors through a letter that he wouldn't return to the battlefield. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin had shortly reinstituted the draft which eliminated servicemen's rights to be discharged at will.

Vasilets was once again ordered to return to service in September, but again refused. In the same month, Putin approved the amendment to Russia's Criminal Code which seeks imprisonment for up to three years for servicemen who "refuse to follow a senior officer's order during martial law or to go to combat".

Russia then announced the mobilization of 300,000 men.

In October, Vasilets was charged with refusal to follow orders during combat. On April 7, Vasilets was found guilty and sentenced to a colony settlement.

"I know I'll end up in prison. I had a choice and I made it," he told Novaya Gazeta in December.

In January, a Russian court sentenced soldier Marsel Kandarov to five years in prison for refusing to fight against Ukraine.

Kherson is the capital of one of the four regions -- along with Donetsk, Lugansk and Zaporizhzhia -- that Russia claims to have annexed