Digest of the Movement of Conscientious Objection Russia

December 2023

(31.01.2024) Hello, dear friend. This is Artem Klyga, the advocacy manager of the Russian MCO. I want to share some news from December and update you on our activities in the last month of the past year. December was marked by unprecedented raids on conscripts. President Putin instructed the Ministry of Defense to launch an electronic register of military conscription from the fall of 2024. We continued to assist conscientious objectors in courts, military commissariats and draft commissions.

The latest conscription for mandatory military service has ended in Russia

The Ministry of Defense of Russia reported the completion of the fall-winter campaign to draft new conscripts into military service. According to authorities, 130,000 individuals were sent into service. In this call-up, military offices definitively shifted to a tactic of forced conscription, aided by amended legislation and legal practices against conscripts. Any man of conscription age can be detained without cause on the streets and brought to the military office within a day, from where they are illegally sent to their place of military service. Police and military raids are conducted at places of work or study or in locations with a large number of people. Citizens who obtained Russian citizenship not by birth are in a particularly high-risk group. The police provide information about them to military offices and intimidate them with the revocation of Russian citizenship for evading mandatory conscription. Under the new rules, a Russian citizen who acquired citizenship by application, not by birth, can be stripped of citizenship for committing a criminal offence of evading mandatory military service.

President Putin demands the launch of an electronic register of military conscription from the fall of 2024

The electronic register of military conscription, introduced into Russian legislation in 2023, is not yet functioning technically. President Putin calls for a solution to this problem. In his written instructions to executive authorities, he demanded that the Ministry of Defense conduct the draft in October-December 2024 using the electronic register. The register will significantly complicate opportunities for conscripts to evade mandatory service, as it will collect a vast amount of personal data, including medical records. Currently, conscripts have the advantage that no sublegal acts have been adopted on how this register will operate. The technical question is also unresolved. Authorities are creating the largest registry of citizens’ personal data, but, as it turns out, establishing it nationwide is a task that goes far beyond a single year.

The MCO exposed crimes against the Kiskorov brothers

We received information from Semen Kiskorov and Gennady Kiskorov about the pressure exerted on them by Russian army commanders for filing applications to replace military service with alternative civilian service. "My brother was tied to a tree, and they won’t let me see him," wrote Semen Kiskorov, Gennady Kiskorov’s brother. Captain Rubanov, deputy commander of the military-political work battalion of the first motorised rifle battalion of military unit No. 21005, refused to accept reports from the brothers. To force Gennady Kiskorov to agree to participate in combat actions, he was tied to a tree on the street for the entire night in winter and not allowed inside. According to our information, Gennady eventually agreed to participate in combat actions. Semen Kiskorov said that similar measures are applied to other military personnel who refuse to engage in combat. In our channel, there is a separate video showing an attempt to tie a person to a tree. We filed reports of a crime based on these events with the Investigative Military Administration.

Protests by mobilised wives are taking place in Russia

Protests by the wives of men mobilised by Russian authorities for the war with Ukraine are taking place in Russia. Women demand leave for the mobilised and adjustments to the mobilisation service term. To achieve these goals, they address officials and deputies with public letters and attempt to organise public rallies. In December, the wives of the mobilised called on President Putin to stop the war against Ukraine or go to the front himself. It is worth noting that the movement of mobilised wives cannot be purely labelled anti-war. Women are primarily concerned with the rotation in the Russian army and the establishment of specific rules regarding the term of service for current servicemen. This movement does not explicitly articulate anti-war slogans directed at ending the war with Ukraine.

Thank you for reading!

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Movement of Conscientious Objection Russia (MCO): Digest December 2023

Keywords:    ⇒ Russia