Putin signs Bill allowing electronic conscription notices

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Russian president Vladimir Putin has signed a Bill allowing authorities to issue electronic notices to draftees and reservists amid the fighting in Ukraine.

The Bill signed into law by Mr Putin was published on Friday on the official register of government documents.

Russia’s military service rules previously required the in-person delivery of notices to conscripts and reservists who are called up for duty.

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President Vladimir Putin’s action closes a loophole for conscripts (Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

In the past, many Russians avoided the draft by staying away from their address of record.

The new law closes that loophole in an apparent effort to create a tool for quickly beefing up the military ahead of a widely anticipated Ukrainian counter-offensive in the coming weeks.

Recipients who fail to show up for service would be prohibited from leaving Russia, would have their drivers’ licences suspended and would be barred from selling their apartments and other assets.

Kremlin critics and human rights activists denounced the new legislation as a step towards a “digital prison camp” that gives unprecedented powers to the military conscription offices.

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A Ukrainian soldier stands near an apartment building damaged by recent Russian shelling in war-hit Avdiivka (Libkos/AP)

Ms Narusova, whose late husband was Mr Putin’s mentor, said that the Bill contradicts the country’s constitution and various laws, and strongly objected to its hasty approval.

The swift enactment of the law fuelled fears of the government initiating another wave of mobilisation following the one that Mr Putin ordered in the autumn.

However, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said this week that the measure was needed to streamline the outdated call-up system in view of the flaws that were revealed by last autumn’s partial mobilisation.

“There was a lot of mess in military conscription offices,” he said. “The purpose of the Bill is to clean up this mess and make the system modern, effective and convenient for citizens.”

Mr Putin announced a call-up of 300,000 reservists in September after a Ukrainian counter-offensive that pushed Russian forces out of broad areas in the east.

The mobilisation order prompted an exodus of Russian men that was estimated to number in the hundreds of thousands.

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