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State Duma legalizes conscripting convicted felons into Russian military
Russia’s State Duma has passed a series of amendments to the law that governs mobilization, lifting the prior ban on conscripting persons with unexpunged felony records.
Some categories of felony conviction still disqualify a person from serving in the Russian army. Crimes that disqualify a person from joining the military are:
- crimes against the sexual inviolability of an underage person;
- terrorist acts;
- taking a hostage;
- organizing an illegal armed formation;
- attempted murder of a state official;
- public calls to extremism;
- organizing and financing an extremist organization.
The draft legislation also specifies that, during mobilization, citizens performing alternative civilian service in organizations subordinate to bodies of executive power or local self-government may be transferred to civilian personnel positions within the Russian armed forces.
Russia began its “partial mobilization” campaign on September 21, claiming an official conscription goal of 300,000 troops. Independent sources, however, suggest that more than a million Russians might be the real target number for the draft.
Russia’s incarcerated population, too, is being visited by army recruiters. Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner Group was first to begin recruiting in Russian penal colonies. Following its lead, the Defense Ministry, too, began to compete for conscripts, promising prisoners pardon, money, and “better chances of survival” in Ukraine.
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