Punishment for desertion in 2022 – September 23, 2022

The new “mobilization” rules that suddenly fell on the heads of the Russians and the concrete decisions that followed were regarded by many as a sign of a terrible totalitarian state. But it seems that we have begun to forget what totalitarianism and militarism look like at full volume.

According to laws adopted on Tuesday, now for desertion (or non-appearance of a conscript or contractor for service for more than a month), draft dodgers face up to 10 years in prison. The same number – for those who try to feign illness in order to avoid mobilization. For the first time, the concept of “voluntary surrender” is introduced into the Criminal Code of the new Russia – and again 10 years.

However, firstly, there have always been penalties for desertion. Until last Tuesday – 7 years in prison. And secondly, one should be horrified by these decisions while still understanding the historical context.

For example, impressionable people were imbued with a short story about “voluntary surrender.” And what if, they say, I ran out of ammo and in general there is no way out but to surrender? Here, of course, everyone must decide for himself. But those very grandfathers who fought lived under completely different legislation. More precisely, according to the Criminal Code of the 1926 model. If you even glance at it with your eyes, it becomes obvious that somewhere, where, but here and now in Russia, “military” laws are more than vegetarian.

Let’s see under what laws our grandfathers and great-grandfathers went to war.

Criminal codes are divided into a general part, which describes the conditions and principles of their application, and a special part, which, in fact, describes all possible crimes and punishments for them. In the current Criminal Code of the Russian Federation of the 1996 model, the special part begins with crimes against the person and the first article there is 105 murder. In 1926, the special part began with state crimes, the first of which were counter-revolutionary crimes.

The first criminal offense in that “Stalinist” Criminal Code was this: “Any action aimed at overthrowing, undermining or weakening the power of the workers’ and peasants’ councils is recognized as counter-revolutionary.” And the first article – 58_1a – Treason to the motherland. It meant espionage, the issuance of state and military secrets and – attention – going over to the side of the enemy.

Here is how the punishment for such a crime was formulated: they are punished – by the highest measure of criminal punishment – by execution with confiscation of all property.

Those 10 years, which are considered as a punishment in the new amendments to our Criminal Code, were also provided for in the Criminal Code of 1926 – but only if there were extenuating circumstances. Let’s do justice to the humanism of the world’s first state of workers and peasants, the list of extenuating circumstances was wide:

a) although in excess of the limits of necessary defense, but to protect against encroachment on Soviet power, the revolutionary legal order or the person and rights of the defender or another person

b) for the first time;

c) for motives devoid of self-interest or other base motives;

d) under the influence of threat, coercion, official or material dependence;

e) under the influence of strong emotional excitement;

f) in a state of hunger, need or under the influence of a combination of difficult personal or family conditions;

g) due to ignorance, inconscience or a random combination of circumstances;

h) by a person who has not reached the age of majority, or by a woman in a state of pregnancy.

And here is the next article 58_1b, which dealt with the same betrayal of the homeland, but committed by military personnel. She no longer assumed any mitigating circumstances: execution with confiscation of all property. Dot.

Furthermore. All adult members of the traitor’s family, even if they did not know anything about the plans of their relative, were subjected under the Criminal Code of 1926 to deprivation of voting rights and exile to remote regions of Siberia for five years. This is literally a quote from the text of the code.

Move on. Many spears have recently been broken about the law on foreign agents. They are forbidden to be officials, to teach children and something else. And all their posts on social networks should be marked with a disclaimer.


“58_3. Relations for counter-revolutionary purposes with a foreign state or its individual representatives, as well as assistance in any way to a foreign state that is at war with the USSR or is fighting against it by intervention or blockade, entails “…. And they entail exactly the same thing as raising a full-fledged uprising with the aim of seizing power: the highest measure of social protection is execution.

There was an option. Depending on the circumstances, the criminal guilty of violating Article 58_3 could be subjected to a now non-existent punishment: “declaring the workers as an enemy with confiscation of property and deprivation of citizenship of the Union Republic and, thereby, citizenship of the USSR and expulsion from the borders of the USSR forever and ever“. This is” FOREVER “- a very bold touch to the poetics of the Criminal Code of 1926, which the current law is completely devoid of.

Well, let’s say it was in a real war or blockade. But even in peacetime:

“58_4. Rendering in any way assistance to that part of the international bourgeoisie, which, not recognizing the equality of the communist system that is replacing the capitalist system, seeks to overthrow it, as well as to social groups and organizations that are under the influence or directly organized by this bourgeoisie, in the implementation of a hostile against the Union SSR activity”. The wording is somewhat archaic, but the general meaning is now read more easily than ever.

Punishment for this: imprisonment for a term not less than three years with confiscation of all or part of the property. This is at best. If there were aggravating circumstances, then the same notorious highest measure of social protection.

We go further – calls for the imposition of sanctions. The maximum that this threatens under the new article of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation is 3 years in prison. And most likely a fine. It was not so in 1926 and during the war.

“58_5. Inducement of a foreign state or any public groups in it, through communication with their representatives, the use of false documents or other means, to a declaration of war, armed intervention in the affairs of the USSR or other hostile actions, in particular: to blockade, to seize state property of the Union of the SSR or union republics, the severance of diplomatic relations, the severance of treaties concluded with the Union of the SSR, etc.”

Such words and language, of course, describe a crime for which no fine is imposed: “The highest measure of social protection is execution or declaring the workers an enemy.” Receive – sign.

Now, actually, to military crimes.

And right off the bat: “193_2. a) Failure to comply with an order given in the course of service is punishable by imprisonment for a term of up to five years. In wartime or peacetime, it doesn’t matter.

“193_7. b) Unauthorized absence of private and junior commanding officers more than once up to two hours or for a duration of more than two hours at least once in wartime” – from 3 to 7 years.

Absence longer than a day is equated with desertion and is punished in peacetime with 10 years in prison, in military terms with the highest measure – execution with confiscation of property.

“193_9. a) Unauthorized abandonment of a unit or place of service in a combat situation entails the highest measure of social protection with confiscation of property.

And to the most important. “193_10a. Evasion of conscription for mobilization into the ranks of the Workers ‘and Peasants’ Red Army and from further calls for staffing the Workers ‘and Peasants’ Red Army as part of wartime entails imprisonment for a term of not less than one year, and for persons in command – not less than two years, with confiscation of all or part of property, with an increase, under especially aggravating circumstances, to the highest measure of social protection – execution, with confiscation of property.

Now for this – a fine of up to 200 thousand rubles. In the worst case, imprisonment for 2 years.

For the smart ones:

“193_12. a) Evasion of military service duties by a serviceman by inflicting any injury on himself or by feigning illness, forgery of documents or other deceit is punishable by imprisonment for up to five years.” This is in peacetime. In the military – is punishable by the highest measure of criminal punishment – execution with confiscation of all property.

And finally: “193_22. Unauthorized abandonment of the battlefield during the battle, surrender, not caused by the combat situation, or refusal to use weapons during the battle, as well as going over to the side of the enemy, entail the highest measure of social protection with confiscation of property.

But there are also extremely democratic aspects in such a seemingly bloodthirsty criminal code of 1926. Probably, mindful of how they got power, the workers and peasants, in whose name the code was written, established very mild punishments for participating in mass riots.

For example, riots accompanied by pogroms, destruction of railways or other means of communication and communications, murders, arson and other similar actions, entail, according to Article 59_2, even in relation to organizers and leaders of riots, it provided for punishment with such a lower bar: deprivation freedom for a period not less than two years, with confiscation of all or part of the property. In theory, the truth could shine there to the highest degree, but the circumstances must have been very aggravating.

And for other participants in pogroms, arson and destruction – imprisonment for up to three years.

Moreover, riots that are not aggravated by the crimes mentioned above, but are associated with a clear disobedience to the lawful demands of the authorities or with opposition to the performance by the latter of their duties, or forcing them to comply with clearly illegal requirements, entail … imprisonment for a term of up to one of the year.

For comparison. The current Criminal Code of the Russian Federation provides for organizing riots – up to 15 years in prison, and only for one participation – up to eight years. And for repeated participation in an unsanctioned rally – up to 6 years in prison.

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