Russia’s State Duma approves specific amendments to the country’s Criminal Law relating to the military

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Amendments to the country’s Criminal Law have been approved by deputies in Russia’s State Duma, to include the words ‘mobilisation’, ‘martial law’, and ‘wartime’.

On Tuesday, September, the deputies of Russia’s State Duma unanimously adopted amendments to include the concepts of ‘mobilisation’, ‘martial law’, and ‘wartime’ in the Criminal Law of Russia.

In addition, the State Duma approved a proposal to punish voluntary surrender and looting, as well as tougher liability for violating the terms of a state defence order contract. The document was published in the electronic database of the lower chamber, as reported by

In paragraph “l” in the current wording of Article 63 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, in the section relating to ‘Circumstances aggravating punishment’, it reads: ‘the commission of a crime in a state of emergency, natural, or another public disaster, as well as during riots, in conditions of armed conflict or hostilities’.

These circumstances, respectively, have been subsequently replaced by the words: ‘mobilisation’, ‘martial law’, and ‘wartime’.

A group of articles on the non-execution of the state defence order and violation of the terms of the state contract is also introduced in Articles 201.2, 201.3, 285.5, and 285.6 of the Criminal Code.

For the violation of the terms of a state contract under a state defence order, a term of up to 10 years in prison can be received. For the refusal or evasion of a person punished for failure to fulfil the requirements under the contract (parts 1 or 2 of article 7.29) from concluding a state contract, a sentence of up to eight years of imprisonment could be passed.

The amendments introduce several new articles of the Criminal Code:

• Article 352.1 – ‘Voluntary surrender’. This has now been updated to a sentence of from three to 10 years in prison for any soldier that surrenders, if there are no signs of high treason.

• Article 356.1 – ‘Looting’ – now carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.

• Article 337, which relates to the unauthorised abandonment of a unit during a period of mobilisation and martial law – (not to be confused with Article 338 ‘Desertion’) – will be punished more severely:

Part 1 – from two to 10 days – up to five years in prison, and not one year, as it was before.
Under part 3 – from 10 days to one month – up to seven years in prison instead of the original term of up to three years.
According to the 4th part – more than a month – this carries a jail term of from five to 10 years in a colony. Previously, this term was five years.

• Article 339 – Evasion from the performance of military service duties by simulating illness now carries a jail term of from five to 15 years.

• Article 340 –  ‘Violation of the rules of combat duty’ now carries a prison tern of from five to 10 years. In the case of ‘negligent or dishonest treatment’, this can be up to five years.

• Article 347 – For personnel judged guilty of the destruction or damage of military property it is proposed to introduce either a fine of up to 200,000 rubles (€3,271), loss of wages or other income for a period of up to 18 months, arrest for up to six months, detention in a disciplinary military unit for up to two years, or imprisonment for up to two years.

• Article 348 – The loss of military property in conditions of mobilisation or wartime, is now punishable with imprisonment of up to seven years.


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he 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