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Russia: More Control over Military Conscription

(Nov. 25, 2008) On November 12, 2008, the State Duma (legislature) of Russia adopted amendments to the nation's Federal Law on Military Duty and Military Service, which establish stricter control over all Russian male individuals age 16 and older who are subject to the military draft. According to the Law, all such individuals, in addition to carrying out mandatory registration at the military conscription office in their permanent place of residence, must report their whereabouts to police if they travel or relocate temporarily. The Law introduces special types of registration and permanent monitoring measures for naturalized citizens, former felons released from correctional institutions, and persons who did not register properly. (Bill No. 246583-5, Information on Events in the State Duma, State Duma official website, (last visited Nov. 15, 2008).)

The explanatory note attached to the Law states that the amendments are needed to improve military recruitment, but human rights activists believe that the changes will simply legitimize the existing practice of police arresting young men of conscription age on the streets and taking them to military recruitment centers, from which they are sent to military units to perform the obligatory 18 months of military service. These amendments are also viewed as a violation of freedom of movement and the freedom to choose a place of abode guaranteed by the Russian Constitution. (Andrei Kozenko, Propisnoe Svidetel'stvo [in Russian], KOMMERSANT, Nov. 13, 2008, available at