Vladislav Kanyus, a young man from Kemerovo in southwestern Siberia, brutally killed his ex-girlfriend Vera Pekhteleva, torturing, suffocating and stabbing her for hours.

He was sentenced in July 2022 to 17 years after a high-profile trial that reignited a national conversation in Russia about the lack of protections against domestic violence and law enforcement indifference to such cases. But then Pekhteleva’s bereaved mother, Oksana, received a photo of Kanyus — not in prison but in a military uniform surrounded by other Russian soldiers.