March 30, 2023

Following five other Russian regions, on March 17, Mari El announced the start of the distribution of subpoenas to “clarify the data” of those liable for military service. Earlier, the Voronezh, Penza, Yaroslavl, Tyumen regions and the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug announced the distribution of subpoenas for the same reason. The first information about this appeared on March 15, and human rights activists immediately announced that some Russians had received summonses with the intention not only to “clarify the data”, but also to send them to military training. To what extent is the new wave of agendas massive and similar to the second wave of mobilization in Russia?

Where and why are subpoenas distributed?

According to Agora human rights activist Pavel Chikov, summonses have been sent to people in at least 43 regions of the Russian Federation, and the list is constantly growing. The specific purpose why the reserve or future conscript needs to arrive at the military registration and enlistment office is usually not reported, simply talking about “clarifying the data.”

Several cases of mass mailing of subpoenas are already known. Students of Novosibirsk State Technical University received notifications in the form messages in your personal account on the university website with the requirement to appear in the military registration and enlistment office. The text of the message says that the student “is obliged to receive a subpoena against receipt” in one of the buildings of the university within three days from the date of receipt of the notification. If the student does not appear, the military enlistment office can apply to the “relevant internal affairs bodies.” Graduates of one Penza University in general, they promised to hand over agendas complete with diplomas.

According to Alexei Tabalov, head of the human rights organization “Conscript School”, “this is a rubber wording, a lure, with the help of which the military registration and enlistment offices lure in, and then begin processing. Processing concerns, first of all, that they will convince them to sign a contract.” This information is also confirmed by State Duma deputy Viktor Sobolev, according to him, summonses are sent to those Russians to whom “military registration and enlistment offices are ready to make an offer for contract service.” Contractors are recruited “exclusively” on a voluntary basis, the deputy added.

Are military charges legal now?

Following reports of a wave of subpoenas, news came that many of those who came to the draft board were being sent to military training camps. Mari El authorities directly referred to the presidential decree on military training this year. At the same time, no decree was made publicly available. Such fees are common in non-war times, and the President signs a decree on them at the beginning of each year.

human rights activist
Pavel ChikovPhoto: DW/M. Bushuev

Pavel Chikov explains the absence of a decree by the fact that “it can be secret or for official use. Since the beginning of hostilities, a large number of decrees – on pardoning convicts, on rewarding, even partially a decree on mobilization – have not been published.”

Has the second wave of mobilization begun?

However, information about the second wave of mobilization does not seem to apply to this wave of agendas. Human rights activists are talking more about the upcoming emergency call, which is due to start on April 1. Also, the distribution of subpoenas is associated with the new army reformaccording to it, the Ministry of Defense needs to find another 350 thousand new soldiers.

“This time they don’t talk about mobilization. They wrapped it up in such a shell as if all the service was under contract. I think in order to reassure people: allegedly mobilization finished, now only contractors. However, contractors are actually the same mobilized. Let people not reassure themselves that they will conclude a contract for three to six months, shoot back and leave. No, they will not leave the war, they will fight either until it ends or until their death. The third is not given,” says Alexey Tabalov to DW.

What to do if a summons arrives

The current wave of subpoenas differs from the previous one in that this time it is mainly students who are protected by law who are affected. However, the storekeepers should adhere to all the same rules: do not take a summons and remember that there is an alternative civilian service. “Any conscript who does not want to go into military service can replace it with an alternative civilian one,” adds Sergei Krivenko, director of the Citizen. Army. Law human rights group. March 16 in Russia happened precedent with the victory of the mobilized in court. While doing alternative service, Pavel Mushumansky was mobilized into a military unit, despite the fact that this was contrary to his convictions. After filing a lawsuit against the decision of the military registration and enlistment office, Pavel was returned to his civil service and the decision to mobilize was declared illegal.

If you nevertheless ended up in the draft board, then you are not required to sign a contract for military service, without it no one has the right to send you to the front. “I would like to repeat that the contract is a voluntary matter. And there is no responsibility for the fact that a citizen refuses to conclude a contract. You just need to clearly state that you don’t want to serve in the military in a war and leave,” Sergey Krivenko recommends.

See also:

“Fear has been replaced by apathy”: how mobilization has changed the Russians

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