New law putting deserters for 10 years in prison introduced in Russia

Russian leader Vladimir Putin has signed a law with amendments to the Criminal Code, for crimes against military service, with punishments of up to 10 years in prison for desertion and surrender, the independent news website Meduza reported on Saturday.

The amendments also toughen penalties for offences against military service during mobilisation and under conditions of armed conflict.

No surrender, desertion and disobeying orders

Under the new law, adopted by the State Duma (the lower house of the Russian parliament) a day before the announcement of a “partial mobilisation” in Russia, voluntary surrender is punishable by up to 10 years and looting by up to 15 years imprisonment.

The law provides for an aggravated penalty - up to 10 years - for arbitrary departure from a unit “during mobilisation or martial law”. Criminal liability will also be imposed on conscripts failing to appear when summoned by military authorities and on deserters.

Furthermore, a penalty was introduced for disobeying a commander’s order issued during martial law, in time of war or under conditions of armed conflict or armed actions, as well as for refusal to participate in war or armed action (from two to three years in prison).


On September 21 Russian leader Vladimir Putin announced a “partial mobilisation” in Russia for the country’s military campaign against Kyiv.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu stated that Putin’s decree on partial mobilisation would see 300,000 additional personnel called up to serve in Russia’s military action in Ukraine.