Support The Moscow Times!

Russia Says Surveillance System Helping to Find Draft Dodgers

Moscow Military Commissar Colonel Maxim Loktev. Sergei Kiselev / Moskva News Agency

The Russian military has begun using Moscow’s vast video surveillance system to find conscripts who evade compulsory service, Moscow’s chief draft officer Maxim Loktev told state-run news agency TASS on Tuesday.

“Moscow’s video surveillance systems are being used to determine a conscript’s residence,” said Loktev. 

He added that workplaces and educational establishments will also provide information on those required to perform military service.

Russian President Vladimir Putin last week signed a controversial law that seeks to tighten Russia’s military call-up system, replacing paper summons with electronic summons, creating a new digital database of those eligible for military service and blocking those sought for call-up from traveling abroad. 

Russia’s spring military service call-up, which is expected to see the enlistment of 147,000 men, is currently underway. 

Loktev told TASS that one of the main problems for military enlistment officers was that they did not have up-to-date information for the addresses of men eligible for military service. 

With the help of Moscow’s CCTV camera and face-recognition technology, he said, more accurate information on addresses could be collected. 

Under Russia's the new law, which was passed and signed at breakneck speed last week, the Russian authorities can now issue call-up papers online instead of being required to deliver them in person. 

A digital database of all Russians eligible for military service is expected to launch this fall. However, Loktev said Monday that the online call-up papers will be “tested” during the ongoing spring draft.

Russian officials have previously said men conscripted for Russia’s mandatory year-long military service will not be sent to the front. 

But experts warn that the bloody failure of a Russian spring offensive to achieve significant territorial gains and Kyiv’s imminent counter-offensive could mean the Kremlin is soon facing a manpower shortage in Ukraine. 

… we have a small favor to ask.

As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just 2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.


Read more