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Partial mobilization in the Russian Federation. Lawyer on what you need to know – DW – 09/21/2022

On September 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the Russians, during which he announced a partial mobilization. He promised that “only those citizens who are in the reserve” will be called up for military service, and, above all, those who “served in the ranks of the armed forces, have certain military specialties and relevant experience.”

Putin said that the corresponding decree had already been signed, the chambers of the Federal Assembly had been informed and partial mobilization starts immediately. About who will be called up in the first place and how the mobilization process will go, DW talked with Alexander Peredruk, a lawyer for the Agora international human rights group, who specializes in protecting the rights of conscripts and military personnel.

DW: Who will be the first to be affected by partial mobilization? What will be the order of the call?

Alexander Peredruk: First of all, the mobilization will affect those who are in the mobilization human reserve. These are citizens who voluntarily entered into a special contract with the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation on enrollment in this category. They receive monetary allowances, have certain benefits, and are trained. That is, they are professional reservists.

Lawyer
Lawyer of “Agora” Alexander PeredrukPhoto: Privat

Following them, citizens who have already completed military service will be subject to conscription from the reserve, including conscription, depending on the order in three categories – taking into account age and military rank. The first category includes, for example, privates up to 35 years old. (It also includes junior officers under 50, majors and lieutenant colonels under 55, colonels under 60, and senior officers under 65. – Ed.) Privates from 36 to 45 years old belong to the second category, from 46 to 50 – to the third. There is a table provided for by Article 53 of the Federal Law “On Military Duty and Military Service”, where you can see who belongs to what category.

People belonging to these three categories are subject to mobilization in the first place. But that doesn’t mean they can’t summon other ranks as well. At least, neither the legislation nor the adopted decree contains any restrictions. By presidential decree, it is determined that the number [резервистов] established by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. Accordingly, the number and terms for each subject of the Russian Federation will be determined by the Ministry of Defense. And the number depends only on him.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced the call for 300,000 reservists. How realistic do you think this figure is?

– Here I can not comment on anything.

Are there any groups of people who are not covered by partial mobilization?

– There is a list of persons entitled to enjoy a deferment from mobilization. It is provided for by Article 18 of the Federal Law “On mobilization training and mobilization in the Russian Federation”. This list is quite extensive. Deferments are provided, for example, to persons with four or more children (under 16 years old. – Red.), women at gestational ages of 22 weeks. These may be people who care for loved ones – they provide them with constant extraneous care in the absence of other persons obliged by law to provide this care. And a separate category of citizens who are not subject to conscription as part of mobilization are persons who have an unexpunged and unexpunged conviction for committing a serious crime.

Who is responsible for the implementation of the decree on mobilization in the field? How will this actually happen?

– Implementation in accordance with the presidential decree will be carried out by the highest officials of the subjects of the Russian Federation and, accordingly, military commissariats accountable to the Ministry of Defense.

Top officials of subjects RF are they governors?

– Yes. Based on the decree, they were instructed to ensure the call of citizens as part of the mobilization within the time frame set by the Ministry of Defense. Directly the call will be entrusted to the draft commission for the mobilization of citizens. That is, in fact, this is interdepartmental interaction.

How will subpoenas be served?

– According to the law, the summons is handed in the only way: personally against signature. It can be handed over at the place of residence, at the place of work, in any other way – the main thing is that this happens in person and against signature. The law does not provide for sending subpoenas by mail or through the Gosuslug website.

There are still people who have mobilization signatures. If a person is in the reserve and he was previously given a mobilization signature, it indicates at what point and during what time he must arrive at the military commissariat or any other place determined by the mobilization order, without additional calls.

Are there anythen the restrictions on right of departure of reservists abroad before receiving the summons and after receiving it?

– In the law on mobilization (paragraph 2 of article 21. – Ed.) it is clearly stated that citizens who are registered with the military, from the moment mobilization is announced, do not have the right to leave their place of residence – the place of residence means the city of residence – without a special permit. Such permission is given, for example, by the military commissariat. Already today there were statements that there would be no restrictions in terms of leaving. (The head of the State Duma committee, Andrei Kartapolov, said that there were no additional restrictions on the right to leave reservists in connection with partial mobilization. – Ed.) But from the point of view of the law, formally the right to leave should already be limited, since mobilization has been announced. We will find out in the near future how this will work in practice, whether these restrictions will apply, whether they will prohibit leaving.

Are there any legal ways to avoid mobilization?

– Only the existence of grounds for granting a deferment from mobilization? No others.

State Duma deputies on September 20 in the third reading approved the introduction into the Criminal Code of the concepts mobilization” “martial law and war time. Why and to whom are these amendments directed?

– The amendments concern various categories of persons. But, first of all, they are aimed specifically at military personnel. For those who have not received a summons, there are no changes in this regard, they will continue to be subject to administrative responsibility. These amendments concern mainly military personnel.

Could you elaborate on these changes??

– The amendments relate to such offenses as unauthorized abandonment of a military unit, desertion, disobedience to an order, and the use of violence against a commander. New offenses are emerging, such as looting or voluntary surrender. That is, the spectrum is quite wide.

Yes, an amendment has also been introduced stating that the commission of crimes during the announced mobilization is an aggravating circumstance. And now it can affect anyone. That is, if a person commits a crime during the period of mobilization, he will be judged more severely.

Now in the Criminal Code there is article 331 (“The concept of crimes against military service.” – Ed.) which states that criminal liability for crimes against military service committed in wartime or in a combat situation is determined by wartime legislation of the Russian Federation. Now part 4 of article 331 will be deleted and qualifying features will be added to each of the new articles. For example, a qualifying sign for criminal liability for disobedience to an order will be disobedience during the period of participation in hostilities.

– And before there was no punishment for these violations?

– No, they were. But the Criminal Code did not have, for example, a separate article “looting” or “voluntary surrender.” Now they will appear.

See also:

“It’s like agony”: Ukrainians about mobilization in Russia

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