The military enlistment offices of Moscow in the summer began to take students of the best universities in the capital to serve in the army. Students and human rights activists tell how the “cane system” of conscription works
Every year in almost all regions of Russia, from April 1 to July 15, there is a spring draft for compulsory military service for young people from 18 to 27 years old. Almost 135 thousand people are to leave for the troops during the season. Novaya Gazeta found out that in addition to the traditional problems that the army brings to those who do not dream of connecting their lives with the troops, students face unexpected difficulties. The military registration and enlistment offices of Moscow deny the existence of the so-called “postgraduate vacations”, which is why they are trying, contrary to the law, to call up students of state universities who are planning magistracy and postgraduate studies. Often this leads to courts, which are regularly lost by the military enlistment offices themselves.
Mikhail (the name has been changed at the request of the interlocutor. – Ed. ) Is a sixth-year student at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology in Dolgoprudny: “I studied there at the bachelor’s degree, now in the magistracy. And, like any boy, I have to go to the military registration and enlistment office every year until the age of 27 and be noted that I am still studying. ”
About 30 of more than 160 Moscow universities currently have military departments; as a rule, there are not enough places for them for all students, often there is a rather serious competition there. Therefore, not everyone is lucky to unlearn at the department. In addition, in each such university there is a so-called “second department” – this is a department for work with conscripts. For students, it is possible to receive a respite from the army once per degree. To do this, you need to put a special stamp on your student card. “You go to this“ second department ”and receive such a certificate in form two – one might say, a letter from military people to military people that you are studying. Usually they give you a summons in the fall or spring during the draft time, you go through the medical commission, then the draft. The latter asks about plans and decides your fate, – says Mikhail. – My military registration and enlistment office is in Horoshevo-Mnevniki(OVK Khoroshevsky district. – Ed. ) , In Serebryany Bor. Everything went well in the undergraduate program. I entered there in 2014, they asked what year I was studying, replied that until 2018, they gave me a reprieve, and that’s it. Then you just calmly carry these certificates. ” Note that part 17 of Article 59 of the Federal Law “On Education” establishes that vacations are provided to all students who have submitted an application for postgraduate leave to the rector of an educational institution.
But sometimes it happens differently: “My friend studied at Moscow State University, and they didn’t think about it and put him in defense at the end of June, not July 15th. And he was given a certificate to be sent to the troops in mid-July. Because on their territory, as lawyers joke, there is a charter, not the Constitution of the Russian Federation. The first desire when you stand there is to run, but there is nowhere to run. The guy asks the draft board to take his certificate that he is a student, and the approved application for postgraduate vacations, they do not take from him. He finds lawyers who tell him to urgently go to the office of the military registration and enlistment office and submit a certificate there. And it saves him. After that, they filed a lawsuit against the military registration and enlistment office, which they easily won, ”says Mikhail.
Mikhail himself entered the magistracy in 2019 and forgot to bring a certificate, he says, calling the situation “his own jamb.” The student consulted with a lawyer, he said that he would just have to come and note that Mikhail had entered. At the end of May 2021, Mikhail received a summons and came to his military enlistment office. “I passed the medical examination, and the draft board, disappointed that I had really studied all this time without interruptions, gave me a new agenda for the end of June,” he says. A week later, the student received two certificates from MIPT: the first – that his application for postgraduate vacations was accepted and signed (from July 16 to August 26 he will still be a student, and the expulsion order will be later); and the second – that he defends his diploma on 15 July. “In the end, the documents were accepted in the office of the military registration and enlistment office. I checked with a lawyer,
Vladimir Triginin, a lawyer with the Moscow Military Bar Association, who works with Mikhail, says that the military registration and enlistment offices forget to take into account one important point, which concerns the standard terms of training. “In order to receive education, a citizen has the right to a deferral, which is provided for the entire period of study, that is, for example, if he entered the bachelor’s degree in August of one year, then he must also graduate in August in four years. During the period of this normative period, a citizen has the right to a deferral, regardless of whether he has defended himself or not. And postgraduate vacations, like any other vacation, are also included in the learning process. This is the right to rest, which is provided after mastering the material, ”emphasizes the lawyer. According to the expert, a good mechanism that helps citizens to defend their rights, – this is a mechanism of “suspension of the execution of the decision of the draft board until the entry into force of the court decision.” “The military registration and enlistment office must fulfill the draft plan, especially for citizens with higher education. Their lawyers argue as follows: you will call ten, three will go to the army. Approach “We call on everyone, and whoever is able to defend their rights, let them, and whoever can’t – sorry, will serve,” says Origin.
According to a Novaya Gazeta source in one of the Moscow military registration and enlistment offices, the situation with illegal attempts to recruit students does exist, but the courts, as a rule, side with the students. “There are no collisions here. It’s just that according to Federal Law No. 53-FZ they call, and according to the law on education – leave. The approaches are different. Here the chances are 50 to 50. The law “On conscription and military service is all good, but they are entitled to leave after all the surrenders, what can you do here,” he says. The source explains the difference in approaches to students in different military enlistment offices by the location of the military enlistment offices. So, for example, according to him, finding recruits in the Central District of Moscow is a big problem: “And on average in Moscow, it takes five thousand young people for the draft, gives or take.”
Alexander Gorbachev, a lawyer with the human rights organization Soldiers’ Mothers of St. Petersburg, coordinator for alternative civilian service, is sure that the “cane system” and the conscription plan prevail over the military enlistment offices: “In St. Petersburg, the conscription was for many years about three or three and a half thousand people with difficulties. In Moscow, it is even larger, and it also goes through not without problems – this winter there were a lot of roundups. ” According to the human rights activist, the problem of ending the postponement and conscription is very old. “During the postponement period, the children should not even be called to the military registration and enlistment offices, it is illegal. However, in a huge number of cases, they are invited to conduct various activities while they are still students, at the beginning and in the middle of the spring call, when they are passionate about exams, preparing a diploma, and so on. There are times when they are sent for additional examinations or in general they make decisions about sending them to the troops when a person is still studying. Last year we had a case when a young man had an exam the day after the date he was sent to the troops, ”he describes.
As several MIPT students tell Novaya Gazeta, few Muscovites study at their institute, and most of the children are assigned to the Military Commissariat of the city of Khimki, about which none of the young people complains.
Maxim (name changed at the request of the interlocutor. – Ed. )completed his sixth-year master’s degree at MIPT in 2018. At the institute, he was told that the date for defending his thesis was set for mid-July and he would not have problems with the military registration and enlistment office. “The nuance was that in the middle of the magistracy, I moved out of the hostel and rented an apartment in Moscow. That is, I was registered in Khimki, and now I have moved to Moscow. In the spring, I was going to change jobs, it was a large bank, and they needed the most correctly executed documents for the military registration and enlistment office, where I have a temporary registration. I made registration in Maryino and went to Khimki to the military registration and enlistment office, brought documents that I was studying until July, and they gave me a reprieve until autumn. I brought all this to work, and they told me that this would not work and that I had to register with the military registration and enlistment office in Maryino, ”says Maxim. The new employer told Maxim, that “large companies are fined by the Ministry of Defense if they find draft evaders.” It should be noted that two lawyers interviewed by Novaya Gazeta denied the existence of such norms in any law.
Maxim went to the OVK of the Lublin region without bad expectations, since he already had a reprieve from the Khimki military registration and enlistment office. However, things did not go according to plan. First, the student was sent to undergo a medical commission, then a draft one. “I don’t remember how I ended up with the military commissar, who told me that the Khimki military enlistment office had no right to grant an adjournment. I say: “Do you have more than one organization?” He replies, they say, no, this is the Khimki military registration and enlistment office, it does not apply to us, we are a different military registration and enlistment office. I told him: “Is your Defense Ministry also different? Why do you need this at all, if I have grounds for a delay? ” Well, then he began to deny the postgraduate holidays that I would still get a higher education, even if they took me away after graduation, ”says Maxim. The first certificate provided by Maxim to the military registration and enlistment office of Lyublino did not fit, I had to go to the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology again, where he was told that with this particular military registration and enlistment office the university constantly has problems, even reaching the courts. The student has postponed the date of defense to the last day of the draft and even the diploma was reprinted with a different date. “They said:” The military registration and enlistment offices spoil our life, but we will not give you over to anyone, if necessary, we will go to court. ” I took the documents, the military commissar was clearly dissatisfied, but what should he do, ”sums up Maxim.
Alexander Gorbachev, a lawyer with the human rights organization Soldiers’ Mothers of St. Petersburg, coordinator for alternative civilian service, explains that the university cannot have a legal agreement with the military registration and enlistment office. “It may be theoretically verbal, but I think the situation is simpler: if they have a hostel on their territory, then there is a colossal amount of recruiting resources in one place, which means that they easily fulfill the plan at the expense of the guys who are ready and willing to serve. But I want to emphasize that this is my personal subjective opinion, the Moscow military registration and enlistment offices are the worst in the country in terms of human rights observance. It is easier to defend the right in the regions than in the capital, ”he says.
“We have such a postgraduate course at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, there is a real training of scientific personnel, and it is not the guys who run from the military registration and enlistment office to hide. You just can’t get there. For example, I did not study in our graduate school just because it is not for show, there people are engaged in science. The state spends a lot of resources to prepare them. And the military registration and enlistment office uses a loophole and takes even such people. This is a blow to education. There are many people who go to graduate school at MIPT to do science, the smartest, the creamiest. There are not so many of them in the country, but they are being pulled out. It is very important that the learning process is continuous, because you have both publications and connections with the scientific instructor, and it is important to be on the agenda. It turns out that the state is playing against itself very strongly, ”says Maxim.
For a long time, all conscripts passed the medical commission, regardless of whether they will serve in the near future or not. On June 6, 2021, a law came into force that allows conscripts who received a respite from the army and not for health reasons, not to undergo a medical examination.
Now, if a young man of military age receives a reprieve, not for medical reasons, but, for example, for family reasons or because of study, then he does not need to undergo a medical examination.
“The implementation of the bill will reduce the number of cases of medical examination by 50% of the number of certified citizens subject to conscription,” the explanatory note said. Legislators also stressed that the bill would not only reduce the number of medical examinations but also improve the quality of the remaining examinations of conscripts.
Vasily (name changed at the request of the interlocutor. – Ed. )two years ago I finished my studies at the magistracy of MTUCI and decided to go to graduate school. Even before defending his thesis, he received a summons from the OVK of the Golovinsky district. Vasily went through all the doctors and came to the draft board. “They said that I was fit and should serve. I had a document with me that I was granted a postgraduate vacation, that I would graduate on 31 September. But at the military registration and enlistment office, I was told that this is not included in the training period and I am obliged to go to serve. I said that I want to go to graduate school, but it doesn’t really matter, they deny the very right to take vacations after graduation, ”says Vasily. The student had to contact “Prizyva.net”, where he was prompted to write a registered letter to the military registration and enlistment office, attaching documents to it, and also to challenge the decision of the draft board in the central military registration and enlistment office. “This gave me a reason not to appear at the control turnout and recruiting events. Of course, it’s uncomfortable, you are sure that you have some kind of legal right, but it is denied, looking at your face, ”he says.
Oksana Paramonova, chair of the human rights organization Soldiers’ Mothers of St. Petersburg and longtime head of the department for the protection of the rights of conscripts, believes that the difference in the behavior of military enlistment offices is explained by the position of the military commissar. “We also have military registration and enlistment offices in St. Petersburg, with which there are no problems, but there are those where it is dangerous to enter without the police,” she says.