Copy of Conscription Law; the number of recruits; penalties imposed on those who were unsuccessful in obtaining conscientious objector status; areas, excluding Chechnya, where conscripts would be subjected to armed combat (January 2000 - November 2000) [RUS35824.E]

A 1 July 2000 International Herald Tribune article states:

Requests for alternative service are rarer: about 1,500 a year according to pacifist groups. Under Article 59 of the Russian Constitution, conscientious objectors have the right to perform civilian work rather than submit to service in the armed forces. But the Russian Parliament has never established or publicized guidelines for such service.

A 27 October 2000 ITAR-TASS article states:

The Russian Defence Ministry and the State Duma lower house of parliament are working jointly on the bill concerning alternative civil service, Chief-of-Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Anatoly Kvashnin told Itar-Tass on Friday. Kvashnin confirmed the statement of Duma defence committee chairman Andrei Nikolayev, who said on Thursday the ministry and lawmakers were drafting the bill together....Kvashnin declined to forecast the time of the bill's passing. "Everything depends on the State Duma," he said. Nikolayev said on Thursday the bill was likely to be approved already in spring 2001.

For information on the number of conscripts drafted annually, on alternative service and on the avoidance of military service, please see RUS32254.EX of 24 June 1999.

A 28 April 2000 Christian Science Monitor article states that "about 500 young Russian men end up in prison every year for rashly mentioning their constitutional right to an alternative when called up for obligatory military service."

The following Russian court decisions pertaining to exemption from military service have been obtained from the Website of the Moscow-based Antimilitarist Radical Association:

February 9 [2000], Novgorod. Today the City Court of Novgorod has sentenced Arkadii Zarakovskii to a year of imprisonment on probation. Zarakovkii is a conscientious objector fighting for his right to perform the alternative civilian service instead of the military service.
March 2 [2000], Lyskovo (Nizhegorodsky region). The City Court of Lyskovo sentenced the 22-years conscientious objector Andrey Vasiliev who since 1997 has been striving for his constitutional right to perform the alternative civilian service instead of the military service, to a fine of 200 minimal salaries (more that 16,000 rubles) according to the Art. 328.1 of the Russian Criminal Code ("evading the military service").
March 23 [2000], Moscow. The Tushinsky Intermunicipal Court of Moscow (Judge Elena Nikitian) has acquitted for the lack of corpus deliciti the member of the Radical Party and the ARA Vasily Bazhenov, accused of "evading the military service" according to Art. 328.1 of the Russian Criminal Code.

Petrozavodsk-Moscow, August 10, 2000.

The Military Court of the Petrozavodsk garrison examined today the criminal case of the conscientious objector Andrey Zudov, accused according to Art. 338.1 of the Russian Criminal Code (desertion), and sentenced him to two years of imprisonment. Nevertheless, in the same sentence the court applied the act on amnesty in view of the anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War and discharged the convict of serving his sentence.

Additional information on the above-mentioned cases can be obtained from the Antimilitairst's Website referenced below.

A 1 July 2000 International Herald Tribune article states:

Dmitiri Neverovsky [a 26-year old computer programmer in Obninsk with a history of resisting military service] spent 146 days in jail for refusing to serve in the army and, although he has been released by court order, he remains under investigation, vulnerable at any time to another trial and another period behind bars.

An 8 May 2000 AP article states:

Courts in three Russian regions have allowed young men to avoid the draft in recent weeks because of their religious beliefs, the Jehovah's Witnesses Russian office said Monday. Draft exemptions for conscientious objectors are almost unheard of in Russia, where all men aged 18 to 27 are subject to conscription.

For additional information on the ability of Jehovah's Witnesses to be excluded from military service, please consult RUS33669.E of 24 February 2000.

A 28 January 2000 Human Rights Without Frontiers article states:

On January 26, 2000, the cassational board of the Novgorod Regional Court overturned the decision of the Valdai City Court on drafting of the Seventh Day Adventist Church member E. Siminiuk. The court has issued a new decision on the case, by which the decision of theValdai drafting commission was recognized illegal. This is one of few decisions in Russian judicial practice which have been made in favour of a draftee, refusing from military service on the basis of his religious beliefs.

Copies of the 1993 Russian Federation Law "On Military Obligation and Military Service," are available at Regional Documentation Centres.

No list of areas, excluding Chechnya, where conscripts in the armed forces of the Russian Federation would be subjected to armed combat, could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Antimilitarist Radical Association. 26 April 2000. Issue 35. "Antimilitarist on-line; Press Releases." [Accessed 07 Nov. 2000]

The Associated Press (AP). 8 May 2000. "Russian Courts Allow Jehovah's Witnesses to Avoid the Draft." (NEXIS)

The Christian Science Monitor [Boston]. 28 April 2000. Fred Weir. "Young Russians Fight the Draft." (NEXIS)

Human Rights Without Frontiers [Brussels]. 4 February 2000. "Court Cancels Decision of Drafting Commission." [Accessed 3 Feb. 2000]

International Herald Tribune. 1 July 2000. Daniel Williams. "Military Service in Russia: Some Prefer a Jail Cell." (NEXIS)

ITAR-TASS. 27 October 2000. Alexei Kravchenko. "Russian Military, Lawmakers Drafting Bill on Civil Service." (NEXIS)

Additional Sources Consulted

Correspondence sent to one oral source.

IRB databases


Internet sites including:

Amnesty International

European Bureau for Conscientious Objection.

Memorial Society

War Resisters International

World News Connections