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Electronic call-up notices and other amendments to the law on military duty and military service

14 April 2023 saw the enactment of what is referred to as the law on electronic call-up notices[1], which amended[2] certain federal laws and primarily the law on military duty and military service.[3]

So, let us delve into what has changed.

A State information resource, the Register of military service records and the Register of sent (served) call-up notices will be created

The State information resource

  • will contain information regarding individuals which is required for military service records to be updated;

  • the users will be: the Russian Ministry of Defence and military enlistment offices.

Comment

The Russian Government will approve the specific aspects of how the Register will be maintained, the procedure for using it, its operator, the list of suppliers of information, the composition of information, the procedure, deadlines, and the regularity with which such data will be submitted.

The Register of military service records

1. The purpose of creating the register is to ensure information support with regard to military service records. The register will be created by the Russian Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and the Mass Media (the ‘Digital Ministry’) and will be maintained by military enlistment offices;

2. by information being entered in the Register, the following will be achieved: individuals will be placed on or removed from military service records, military service records will be updated, persons liable to military service will be released from active duty to the reserve force, and so on (including without individuals appearing in person at a military enlistment office);

3. it will be formed on the basis of information

  • from the state information resource,

  • obtained from state information systems and resources,

  • obtained from the following government authorities: internal affairs authorities, investigation and pre-investigation bodies, the Russian Federal Tax Service, federal courts, the Russian Pension and Social Insurance Fund (the Social Fund of Russia), authorities of constituent entities of Russia, including in the sphere of education, the Russian Central Election Committee, and the Russian Ministry of Education,

  • obtained from organisations, including healthcare and educational institutions, and from individuals;

4. it will record information regarding

  • call-up notices being sent by military enlistment offices to individuals and received by the latter,

  • an individual appearing further to a call-up notice or absconding,

  • temporary measures being applied to individuals that are aimed at ensuring the appearance of such individuals further to call-up notices,

  • measures of administrative or criminal liability being applied in connection with a breach of military duties,

  • resolutions of military enlistment offices and of conscription commissions being challenged and the outcomes of such appeals being considered;

5. information in an entry within the Register can be changed further to applications of individuals or their legal representatives (provided that such information is confirmed after being verified with competent authorities and organisations);

6. personal data being processed for the purposes of military service records without any requirement for consent to be obtained from a personal data subject for such data to be processed.

Comment

Currently, the Russian Government has not approved the procedure, deadlines and specific aspects of the establishment, putting into operation, operation, functioning and maintenance of the Register, its content and the deadlines for attaining milestones in terms of its creation, being put into operation and operation. According to the Digital Ministry[4], to put the Register into operation to the fullest extent will most likely be possible not earlier than the beginning of the next regular autumn conscription into the army.

The Register of sent (served) call-up notices

1. It will be created automatically based on the information in the Register of military service records, and will be publicly available;

2. will include copies of call-up notices that have been sent, information regarding the date on which a call-up notice was sent and was served, and whether an individual appeared at the military enlistment office, and information regarding an individual who is liable to be enlisted for military service;

3. access to the Register of call-up notices will be ensured by:

  • authorised access being granted to an individual’s personal account in the Register of call-up notices,

  • information being posted in the personal account on the Portal for state and municipal services (functions) stating that a call-up notice has been sent,

  • an individual applying personally to a Multifunctional Centre for an extract to be obtained from the Register of call-up notices (the Multifunctional Centre will, within 24 hours, notify the military enlistment office that sent the call-up notice regarding the application of the individual).

Comment

The Russian Government has not yet determined the procedure for maintaining the Register of call-up notices or its operator, and nor has the Register been created. The procedure has not yet been developed of authorised access being granted to an individual’s personal account in the Register of call-up notices (to be determined by the operator of the Register).

The procedure has been updated of how call-up notices are served on individuals who are liable to be enlisted for military service

Call-up notices may be served in written and electronic forms simultaneously. Such notices have equal legal effect.

Call-up notices are served in writing

  • personally by officers of a military enlistment office, with an acknowledgement of receipt,

  • at the place of work (study) by directors or other officers (employees) responsible for managing military service records, with an acknowledgement of receipt,

  • by registered mail, with delivery notification, at a place of residence or stay. They will be deemed to have been served on the date of delivery (service) of the relevant letters provided that there is a stamp of the postal service on the delivery notification stating that the letter was delivered to (served on) the individual.

Comment

Originally, it was anticipated[6] that it would be stipulated that call-up notices would be deemed to have been served with an acknowledgement of receipt if they had been delivered by post not only to the individuals to whom they are addressed but also to their family members of full legal age or authorised representatives. The law which has been enacted does not contain this rule.

Call-up notices are sent in electronic form

  • according to the procedure and using the methods to be established by the Russian Government and are deemed to have been served once they have been posted in an individual’s personal account within the relevant information resource or information system. The drawing up and sending of call-up notices of military enlistment offices will be managed with the use of the Register of military service records.

Comment

The Digital Ministry has reported that the law on electronic call-up notices does not expressly specify that they will be sent via the Portal for state and municipal services (functions). The Russian Government is required to establish the methods for sending call-up notices, but has not yet done so.

If an individual has refused to receive a call-up notice, it will be deemed served on the date of such refusal.

If a military enlistment office has no information as to whether a call-up notice has been served in person, by post or via a personal account, such call-up notice will be deemed served 7 days after it was posted in the Register of call-up notices.

If an individual who is liable to be enlisted for military service has not received a call up notice from a military enlistment service during conscription, such individual must, within two weeks from the start of the next period of conscription, personally appear at the military enlistment office to have the relevant military service records cross-checked.

The possibility has been introduced to interact with a military enlistment office via the Portal for state and municipal services (functions)

Interaction of an individual and a military enlistment office via the Portal

A military enlistment office will

  • notify an individual that he has been put on or removed from military records, and that military records have been amended (if they were amended without an individual being present),

  • report any progress or the outcome of individuals’ applications being considered,

  • send notices of restrictive measures being applied or lifted,

  • provide an opportunity to access information in the Register of call-up notices, regarding call-up notices being sent and received,

Comment

As the draft law's promoters have declared on numerous occasions, in future call-up notices might be sent with the use of the Portal. However, the Russian Government has not yet determined the procedure and methods for serving call-up notices.

An individual will

  • submit documents and information necessary for managing military service records,

  • apply for information in the Register of military service records to be updated,

  • file statements to be put on military records in the following situations: when an individual is removed from the lists of personnel of a military post in connection with the discharge from active military service to the reserve of the Russian Armed Forces; is released from imprisonment; when a female individual obtains a military occupational speciality, or when an individual obtains Russian citizenship (for individuals who must be put on military service records),

  • file applications for physical evaluation if there are grounds for a deferral of a call-up, or for an exemption from being called up to the army,

  • advise that a call-up notice was received after the date indicated in it when the individual should have come to the military office (the deadline for a relevant message to be sent will be two weeks after an individual received a call-up notice),

  • send appeals to the conscription commission of a constituent entity of Russia.

Individuals’ applications that have been submitted electronically should be signed with a simple electronic signature. The possibility of interacting via the Portal does not preclude the possibility of interacting with a military enlistment office in person.

Interaction of an employer and a military enlistment office via the Portal

1. A military enlistment office will send

  • a request for necessary information,

  • call-up notices in electronic form summoning individuals for them to be served,

  • notifications of an opinion being issued with regard to an employee stating that the employee did not complete military service as a conscript without any legitimate grounds for doing so, etc.

2. An employer will send

  • information regarding individuals that is required for maintaining military service records to the operator of a state-run information resource and a military enlistment office (within 5 days starting from the date when relevant information has been changed (previously, the timeframe was two weeks)),

  • information regarding individuals being identified who had not but should have been put on military service records (within 3 business days (previously, the timeframe was two weeks)),

3. notifications of dismissing an employee where the employer receives notification that an opinion has been issued with regard to such employee stating that he did not complete military service as a conscript without any legitimate grounds for doing so, etc.

Companies’ applications that have been submitted electronically will be signed with an enhanced qualified electronic signature of a director of the company.

Temporary restrictive measures

Departure from Russia will be prohibited from the date when a call-up notice has been served (or the date from which it is deemed served) as a temporary measure aimed at ensuring that an individual will show up further to a call-up notice. A resolution regarding this measure will be automatically drawn up in the Register of military service records and will be in effect until an individual discharges the obligation to appear at the military enlistment office further to the call-up notice.

If, 20 calendar days after the day stated in the notice, an individual who has been put on military service records does not appear, without any legitimate excuse, further to the call-up notice that has been served on him, this will entail the following temporary measures being applied to such individual aiming at ensuring that he will appear:

  • prohibiting an individual to be registered with a state authority as an individual entrepreneur,

  • prohibiting an individual to be registered with a tax authority as a taxpayer who applies the special “Tax on professional income” tax regime (for a self-employed person),

  • suspending the registration of real estate with a state cadastral authority and/or state registration of ownership title to real estate and transactions with it,

  • limiting an individual in terms of exercising his right to drive motor vehicles,

  • prohibiting state registration of transport vehicles,

  • refusing to enter into a credit or a loan agreement with the individual.

Comment

There are no restrictions in terms of the range of potential lenders; however, the mechanism is still unclear of how the prohibition will be implemented in practice with respect to companies and private individuals that are not credit institutions.

The list of temporary restrictive measures that has been laid down in the law is not exhaustive. Authorities of constituent entities of Russia may restrict the receipt of payments, allowances, support measures and other benefits by relevant individuals.

A resolution to apply temporary restrictive measures will also be automatically drawn up in the Register of military service records.

Restrictions that are imposed may be appealed both at the pre-trial stage and in court. The pre-trial procedure implies that an appeal will be considered within 5 calendar days after its filing date, or within 7 calendar days after it has been received at a Multifunctional Centre if filed via the Multifunctional Centre.

Comment

Restrictive measures may be imposed on individuals who are liable to be enlisted for military service but reside outside Russia and did not appear at the military enlistment office further to a call-up notice.

Restrictive measures have no maximum validity period. Yet, they will be lifted within a day once an individual appears further to a call-up notice or his legitimate excuses for failing to appear are automatically confirmed.

A pre-trial procedure has been introduced for challenging resolutions

The following may be challenged before a conscription office of a constituent entity of Russia at the pre-trial stage:

  • a resolution establishing temporary restrictive measures aimed at ensuring that an individual will appear further to a call-up notice from a military enlistment office;

  • resolutions of a military enlistment office refusing to amend information in the Register of military service records;

  • resolutions that a commission adopts regarding individuals being put on military service records, being released from active duty to the reserve force, or being exempted from military service duty,

  • a resolution (opinion) of a conscription commission that an individual should be enlisted for military service, sent to perform an alternative civilian service, be granted a deferral of the call-up, or be exempted from being called up to the army.

The procedure that has been introduced for submitting appeals and considering them provides for a right to challenge resolutions by an individual with respect to whom the resolution has been adopted.

Challenging a resolution at the pre-trial stage is not mandatory.

What liability may arise and what for?

The new law does not amend the procedure or the grounds on which administrative or criminal liability is imposed, and nor does it alter penalties that apply.

Administrative liability for the failure to fulfil duties relating to military service records has been established by article 21.5 of the Russian Code of Administrative Offences and provides for a warning, or for an administrative fine to be imposed of RUB 500 to RUB 3,000.

The duties relating to military service records include the following: the failure by an individual to appear at a military enlistment office by the established date to be put on or removed from military service records, for amendments to be introduced to military service records, as well as the failure to appear further to call-up notice by the established date and at the established place without a legitimate excuse.

Neither has the list of legitimate excuses for the failure to appear been changed (article 7(2) of the Law on military duty and military service) and it includes the following:

  • an individual having an illness or injury that involves him being disabled,

  • an individual’s father, mother, spouse, son, daughter, sibling, grandfather, grandmother or adopted parent being in a critical health condition, or an individual taking part in the funerals of the above persons,

  • an obstacle that emerged owing to a force majeure or another circumstance beyond the reasonable control of an individual (such as a natural disaster).

Other excuses may be recognised as legitimate by a conscription commission at a military enlistment office or subsequently in court.

As regards criminal liability for absconding from a call up for military service, this is stipulated by article 328 of the Russian Criminal Code and provides for a penalty of up to 2 years of imprisonment.

An absconding individual means an individual who did not appear, without any legitimate reasons, further to a call-up notice of a military enlistment office and who, therefore, intends to avoid the duty imposed on him to perform military service as a conscript.

The risks have increased, in our opinion, of individuals being held liable who are eligible to be enlisted for military service and who reside abroad and have not appeared at a military enlistment office further to a call-up notice since electronic call-up notices can now be served (or be deemed served) on them.

What to think about

The law has no retroactive effect as it obviously worsens the position of individuals. Nevertheless, the new rules may be applied to the autumn conscription or during the second wave of mobilisation, if there is one. Whether all rules or some of them will be applied will depend on the regulatory and technical capacity: whether the Russian Government passes necessary regulations and the registers are created.

Help from your adviser

Pepeliaev Group’s lawyers are ready to provide you with comments and recommendations in relation to the new regulation, assess actions of authorised officers from the perspective of whether such actions are lawful and assist you with taking measures to protect the rights and legitimate interests of your company and its employees.


[1]Federal Law No. 127-FZ “On amending individual items of the legislation of the Russian Federation” dated 14 April 2023.

[2] The amendments listed below are, in our opinion, the principal ones. Nonetheless, the law also contains other new developments.

[3] Federal Law No. 53-FZ dated 28 March 1998.

[4] A military enlistment office may also send call-up notices to cross-check information and to obtain military service records. The procedure of sending and receiving such notices remains the same.

[5] See: The explanatory note to the draft law.

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