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First criminal case on “failure to execute an order in wartime” initiated in Russia

Russia’s Investigative Committee has initiated Russia’s first criminal case on the “failure to carry out orders during wartime,” lawyer and human rights activist Pavel Chikov reported on 27 October. The accused is a contract soldier who refused to participate in “combat operations” – his name, as well as the region where he is from, have not been disclosed.

The case was initiated under part 2.1 of Article 332 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation – “failure by a subordinate to carry out an order of a superior during martial law, during wartime, as well as the refusal to participate in military or combat actions.” This section of the code was introduced by the mobilization-related amendments passed by Russian lawmakers in September. The punishment under this clause is two to three years in prison.

According to state investigators, the defendant in this case, being a contract serviceman, “did not execute a deployment order in order to participate in combat, and thus refused to take part in them.”

The day before, Russia opened its first criminal case on the “unauthorized abandonment of a military unit by a draftee.” The accused was a resident of Yakutia. He was allegedly drafted after the mobilization began and left his military unit in Buryatia, where he had been sent from the military registration and enlistment office.

“I won’t go to Ukraine and won’t shoot at any Ukrainians,” the man told the unit commander. After his refusal, the man was threatened with reprisals and criminal prosecution. He escaped from the unit through a hole in the fence.

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