Aktion in Südkorea, 2015. Foto: Connection e.V.

Aktion in Südkorea, 2015. Foto: Connection e.V.

Digest April 2024


by The Movement of Conscientious Objectors

(04.06.2024) My dears, hello to everyone!

April was marked by the beginning of another conscription campaign in Russia and reforms of the military enlistment system in Moscow. The Russian government promised and finally adopted the latest regulatory act on the electronic registry of military service and electronic summons: with all these rules, we are facing a rather difficult end of the year. In Armenia, there was the second abduction of a Russian serviceman in five months. We believe
that it was carried out by the Russian military police and we are actively monitoring
the situation. And our organisation, together with colleagues from Ukraine and Belarus,
was awarded the Peace Prize by IPB! Enjoy reading!

The spring conscription campaign has started in Russia

From April 1, another conscription campaign for compulsory military service began. This time, the Russian authorities want to call up 150,000 people. This will be the first conscription with the changed conscription age. They will be calling up those who turned 27 in 2024. The unified conscription centre in Moscow has also become fully operational. It was created instead of the district military commissariats that existed in Moscow before. In the new building, the recruits are deprived of means of communication, and parents or lawyers are not allowed in. It is only possible to leave this "super conscription centre" with a special card. Accordingly, anyone inside loses their freedom for a certain period. The conscientious objectors movement considers Moscow’s reform of the military commissariats to be illegal. We have filed a lawsuit in the Moscow City Court demanding that the mayor of Moscow’s orders to create a unified conscription centre be declared illegal.

The Russian military police abducted a deserter for the second time in Armenia

In April, it became known that a serviceman of the Russian army, Anatoly Shchetinin, was abducted by the Russian military police in the Armenian city of Gyumri. Since December 2023, this is the second abduction involving the military police of military base No. 102, located in Gyumri. Russia does not adhere to official extradition rules for a simple reason: this procedure is complex, lengthy, and requires interaction with the authorities of Armenia. However, Russia has a military base in Gyumri and military police, whose actions are difficult to control. In fact, the military police can conduct operational-search measures in violation of both the legislation of the Republic of Armenia and the separate Agreement on the Russian military base. Armenia is the only country in the world where there is a large number of deserters who left Russia. In the current situation, they are all at great risk. The conscientious objectors movement has drawn attention to this story. We have addressed Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia and engaged with local human rights defenders. At the moment, Anatoly Shchetinin is being held at the military base.

The Russian government has amended the resolution on the electronic registry of military service

At the end of April, the Russian government published the procedure according to which both the electronic registry of military service and the electronic summons will operate. Full digitization of the conscription system in Russia is expected by the end of 2024. The electronic registry of military service will contain data on almost all men aged 18 to 70. This list of information includes fifty different points, from marital status to information on the right to property of movable or immovable objects. A huge amount of data on each conscript will be stored at the military commissariats. The launch of the electronic summons registry is also planned. Any summons posted in this registry will be considered delivered after seven days. Even if a person is unaware that such a summons has been sent to them, they will still be obliged to appear at the military commissariat. Such a notification system will greatly change the situation with conscription by the end of 2024.

The Movement of Conscientious Objectors received the Peace Prize from the International Peace Bureau

Our organisation, together with the Belarusian organisation "Our Home" and the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement, has been awarded the Peace Prize by the International Peace Bureau, established in 1891-1892, a laureate of the 1910 Nobel Peace Prize. The International Peace Bureau is dedicated to the vision of a World Without War. Their current main programme centres on Disarmament for Sustainable Development and within this, their focus is mainly on the reallocation of military expenditure.

Comment from Director Saša Belik in connection with the award: The movement is grateful to the International Peace Bureau for recognizing our efforts. Support from the international anti-war non-violent movement is extremely important for our visibility on the international stage. Such awards lend greater weight to our words, spoken from the platforms of the European Parliament, the Bundestag, and other foreign venues. In the wonderful future of Russia, such recognition will give weight to our organisation in dialogue with the Russian government.

Thank you for reading!

The Movement of Conscientious Objectors Russia (MCO): Digest April 2024, 04.06.2024.

Keywords:    ⇒ Conscientious Objection   ⇒ Conscription   ⇒ Desertion   ⇒ Draft Evasion   ⇒ Military   ⇒ Peace Movement   ⇒ Publications   ⇒ Russia