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‘Partial mobilization is over, full stop,’ says the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. Why doesn’t Putin sign a decree to make this official?
On October 28, the Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu reported that Russia’s conscription goals had been met. On October 31, President Vladimir Putin said that mobilization was completed — and that he’d “talk to the lawyers” to find out whether a “demobilization” decree was needed to make this official. Now, the Kremlin cites legal opinions that no such decree is necessary. But human-rights advocates are concerned: they think that Putin’s earlier mobilization decree, signed on September 21, is still in effect.
The Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said in a briefing that no presidential decree is needed to end Russia’s “partial mobilization.” Mobilization started in Russia on September 21, by the president’s mobilization decree that, some worry, still remains in effect, in spite of claims to the contrary.
Journalists at the briefing tried to address the common concern that another decree might be necessary to legally end the mobilization. “We inform you,” Peskov said,
there is no need for a decree; we have an opinion on this from the State Legal Directorate of the President’s Office. Accordingly, partial mobilization is over, full stop. The Defense Ministry has sent out appropriate telegrams to enlistment offices, to stop sending out any summonses, and so forth.
When answering a follow-up question, about the possibility of a new round of the draft if the current mobilization decree remains in effect, Peskov replied that the decree of September 21 specified a goal of “up to 300,000 people; therefore, that decree has been fulfilled.”
Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu reported meeting this goal on October 28. On October 31, the Defense Ministry said that no more draft summonses would be issued or sent out. On the same day, President Putin said that he would “talk to the lawyers” to find out whether a second decree was needed to end the mobilization.
Pavel Chikov, an attorney and founder of Agora International Human Rights Group, has posted a legal opinion about the status of Russia’s current mobilization.
Chikov points out, among other things, that the target number of people to be conscripted according to Putin’s decree remains classified. Shoigu’s and the Defense Ministry’s reports and press releases (mentioning the target number of 300,000) are not legally binding. Meanwhile, some sources insist that the actual number in the classified paragraph is 1,200,000.
The Russian law does not have a concept of “demobilization” as an opposite of “mobilization.” This means that, once decreed, mobilization remains in effect until its goals are met, or until the military threat that justified mobilization disappears. Chikov points out that, since the “special operation” continues, and the target number of conscripts remains, de jure, unknown, it’s early to speak of meeting the conditions for “demobilization” contained in the decree of September 21.
Putin certainly has the power to issue another decree, says Chikov. But a decree that ends mobilization would automatically restore the contract servicemen’s rights of discharge, which they lose under mobilization. We do not see anyone claiming their right of discharge in the Russian contract army.
Although a “demobilization” decree could reduce tension in the Russian society, Putin clearly has no intent of signing such an order, Chikov concludes.
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