by Ambra Visentin

There is no talk of a new military mobilisation, at least not officially. However, the Duma is creating the regulatory framework to simplify the process by adopting the draft law on new rules for enlistment and service of summons, which has been in the lower house since 2018. On 11 April, the updated text of the document was published on the Duma’s website, showing that summonses will now be served electronically on an equal footing with personal delivery. The new text contains many restrictions for conscripts, including a de facto ban on leaving Russia after receiving a summons.

The Kremlin said the law had nothing to do with mobilisation. ‘It has to do with military registration. And this needs to be understood and explained. Military registration is something that citizens of our country must face at least once in their lives, according to the Constitution. This system must meet the needs of the times,’ said presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

If, in the past, a lawyer could find legal ways to prevent a client from being mobilised or to save him from having to go to the recruitment office for ‘checks’, it now seems impossible to ignore a summons. One of the fundamental changes concerns the delivery of summonses. Whereas previously they could only be served personally against signature, the bill introduces ‘electronic’ summonses and summonses sent by registered mail. The former will be considered served from the moment they are deposited in a personal Gosuslugi account, a very efficient interface used by almost all Russians in their interactions with the administration (from issuing identity documents to visiting a doctor or paying municipal taxes), while the latter will be delivered on the day the registered letter is delivered. The draft law puts all three ways of receiving a summons on an equal footing.uc

The same section introduces another innovation that will make it impossible to avoid service (e.g. deleting the account on Gosuslugi does not seem to help). If a summons is not delivered by any of the available means, it is still deemed to have been served seven days after the date of its entry in the specially created summons register.

The text of the bill also includes provisions to ensure the appearance of those who were called up but did not report to the military registration and enrolment office. Such conscripts will be prohibited from registering a sole proprietorship and self-employment, registering real estate and having it registered in the land register, registering vehicles, entering into loan and credit agreements, and will be restricted in their right to drive vehicles.

‘It is a new version of serfdom,’ the exiled journalist Andrei Zakharov told Le Monde. ‘It is forbidden to leave the master’s domain, to dispose of his property…. You are only allowed to die for Putin’.

Cover image: © Aleksandr Fedotov on Flickr