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Russia adopts law on new military draft rules

Conscripts and reservists who are being called to arms will get draft notices online under new legislation

Russian MPs have supported a bill that introduces electronic draft notices for conscripts and reservists and also imposes restrictions on those attempting to evade military service. The bill was passed almost unanimously by the State Duma – the lower house of the Russian parliament – with all but one MP supporting it.

Under the new rules, a conscript or reservist would receive a draft notice through his account on the electronic state services portal ‘Gosuslugi’, which is used in Russia for a wide range of public services, from paying taxes to getting various documents. Notices can also be served at what are called Multifunctional Public Services Centers – a kind of a unified public service desk in Russia helping citizens to resolve mostly bureaucratic issues.

Some of the more traditional ways of delivering draft notices will also remain, according to the bill. Conscripts and reservists will still be able to receive them personally from a military recruitment official, through their workplace or via a certified letter.

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The authorities will create a new public register of draft notices, the bill says. A notice is automatically considered to be served a week after it is registered as being delivered even if the addressee did not confirm receipt, the bill says. The legislation also obliges the local authorities, tax offices, police departments, medical organizations and other public institutions to provide all the data necessary to form a unified database of conscripts and reservists. The police must also search for people dodging conscription or military draft, the text of the bill adds.

Draft dodgers would face certain restrictions if the bill comes into force. Those served a draft notice would be banned from leaving Russia starting on the day when the notice is considered to be delivered, the legislation says.

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Someone who received a summons but fails to arrive at a recruitment office within 20 days upon receipt without a valid reason would be barred from registering as sole proprietors or self-employed workers. Such an individual would also be deprived of the right to real estate and would have his driver’s license suspended. The draft dodger would also be unable to apply for a loan in Russia. All the restrictions are to be lifted within 24 hours after a person arrives at a recruitment office, the bill adds.

The legislation also eases certain procedures linked to military registration. People will be able to register with the Russian military authorities or cancel this registration, as well as provide the data requested by the military authorities via the internet. Currently, a visit to a recruitment office is necessary for that.

The bill is yet to be debated and potentially passed by the Russian Federation Council – the upper House of the parliament. After that it would have to be signed into law by President Vladimir Putin. The Federation Council announced it would review the bill on Wednesday.

The legislation was introduced during the annual spring conscription campaign in Russia. According to MP Andrey Kartapolov, the ongoing draft, which is scheduled to end in July, will not be affected by the new rules.

April 12, 2023 at 01:24AM

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