UPDATE: Russia’s State Duma set to vote on law criminalising refusal to take part in Russian combat actions

Russia's State Duma discusses law criminalising refusal to take part in Russian combat actions. Image: Jonas Petrovas/Shutterstock.com

RUSSIA’S State Duma is set to vote on a law criminalising the refusal to take part in Russian combat actions following a proposal from deputies to introduce the concepts of “mobilisation” and “martial law” into Russian Federation law, as reported earlier on Tuesday, September 20.

UPDATE 2.30 pm (September 20) – Andrey Klishas, chairman of Russia’s Federation Council’s committee for constitutional legislation and state building, has said that the upper house of parliament will consider introducing the concepts of “mobilisation” and “martial law” in the country’s Criminal Code as early as Wednesday, September 21.

“The Sovfed will consider it tomorrow [September 21],” Klishas said, as reported by the Russian state media outlet TASS.


ORIGINAL 12.53 pm (September 20) – Russia’s State Duma deputies have proposed introducing the concepts of “mobilisation” and “martial law” into Russian Federation law, as reported on Tuesday, September 20.

Russia’s State Duma just passed a bill introducing the concepts of “mobilisation” and “martial law” into law, which the upper house could approve by Wednesday, September 21, after which Putin would then sign it.

The relevant document of the bill was published in the electronic database of the lower chamber of parliament.

“In paragraph ‘l’ of part one of article 63 the words ‘in conditions of armed conflict or hostilities’ shall be replaced by words ‘during mobilisation or martial law, in wartime or in conditions of armed conflict or hostilities’,” the bill read.

Article 63 of the Criminal Code now lists the circumstances that are considered aggravating.

Paragraph “l” of the article defines such circumstances as committing a crime during a state of emergency, natural or other public disasters, as well as during mass disorder, armed conflict or military actions, as reported by the Russian media outlet Gazeta.

According to new amendments, if a serviceman surrendered to the enemy, he will face 10 years in prison (or more if it was treason).

Reservists summoned to the military units, but failed to arrive, will face the same punishment as contract deserters.

Multiple people have reacted to the news on social media.

Russian state media TV channel RT said: “Judging by what is happening and what is about to happen, this week marks either the eve of our imminent victory or the eve of nuclear war. I can’t see any third one.”

“I wonder if this will actually be passed, or if it is designed as a threat to coerce currently serving Russian servicemen who are refusing to deploy,” Rob Lee wrote.

“The number of Russian soldiers who are refusing to fight is not an insignificant number. 20-40% of units in some cases. Getting them to fight, even if unmotivated, would provide an important manpower boost. But it is still a short-term solution to a longer-term problem.”


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Matthew Roscoe

Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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