Russia: Surge in Criminal Investigations Against Military Objectors
(June 2023) In the first half of 2023, Russian military courts have received 2,076 criminal cases concerning unauthorized absence from military service, as per Article 337 of the Russian Criminal Code. This number is twice as high as the total cases for the entire year of 2022 and three times higher than the pre-war year of 2021. The majority of the accused are not contract soldiers but those who have been mobilized. Courts are now issuing around 100 verdicts per week, and this number is on the rise.
The surge in cases started in March 2023, following the onset of mobilization. By June, military courts were issuing 100 verdicts per week under Article 337. Since October 2022, any unauthorized absence is being treated as a crime committed during the period of mobilization, leading to stricter penalties. While most of the accused received conditional sentences, mobilized individuals are now more likely to receive actual prison terms compared to contract soldiers.
Source: Movement of Conscientious Objectors, June Digest 2023