Many Russians fled across the border into neighboring nations like Georgia, Finland, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia after Putin’s order to mobilize 300,000 reservists to fight in Ukraine in September 2022 prompted nationwide demonstrations.
In recent weeks and months, the Russian president has taken action to crack down on draft dodging.
The first pregnant Russian soldier to be incarcerated for dodging mobilization since Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion of neighboring Ukraine in February 2022 has been arrested.
Russian daily Kommersant reported on Monday that Madina Kabaloyeva, a Lance Corporal, was given a six-year sentence by the Vladikavkaz Garrison Military Court in Southern Russia for failing to report for military service in September 2022.
In Russia, draft evasion carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and Kabaloyeva is the first female soldier to be found guilty of this crime.
The medical company for Kabaloyeva’s military unit recommended that she be temporarily released from military service because she was pregnant and already had a little child (born in 2018) at the time.
She didn’t show up for military service and justified her absence by saying she trusted the medical unit’s chain of command to report her absence.
Military prosecutors, however, claimed that because Kabaloyeva was still receiving her military stipend and benefits, she was technically still serving and could be prosecuted for dodging mobilization.
The military court at Vladikavkaz garrison delayed the execution of her punishment until her child turns 14 in 2032.
The State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, adopted a new digital registry of all qualified military service personnel in April, making it more difficult for anyone to escape fighting in Ukraine with Russia’s military.
The legislation will enable subpoenas to be served by registered mail or online via Russian military registration and recruitment authorities. After receiving a summons, the recipient must report to a military recruitment center to register and sign up for service.
According to local media, a “draft dodger” will soon lose their ability to drive, register property, and apply for credit.
In July, Putin signed a bill into law that enhances penalties for those who ignore their conscription notification and fail to report to the military enrollment office. As of October 1, the penalty will increase from 500 to 3,000 rubles ($5-31) to the new range of 10,000 to 30,000 rubles ($103-310).