For peace: how the new law may legalize Russian mercenaries

The government in connection with the “changing military-political situation” in the Duma introduced a bill allowing to conclude fixed-term contracts wishing to participate in safeguarding international peace. The amendments to the law “On military duty and military service”.

The purpose of the document the government calls the required level of manning by contract servicemen of military units. Now the first contract with soldiers, sailors, sergeants, petty officers may be concluded for a period of two or three years, by choice, with the ensigns, warrant officers or officers — five years. Contracts for shorter periods of time (from six months to one year) is provided only during emergencies or for participation in “activities for the maintenance or restoration of international peace and security.”

Now the list of cases when the conscript may sign short-term contract extended. The government complements its “suppress international terrorist activities outside the territory of Russia” and participation in the campaigns of the ships. In addition, the change and the term of imprisonment a short-term contract. If before the military reserve and completing service conscripts could sign a contract for a period of six months to a year, now from the law will disappear minimum threshold of six months.

The appearance of the list of emergency operations, “peacekeeping and the fight against terrorist and extremist organizations” is due to “changes in the military-political situation”.

The document also summarizes monitoring activities of the points of selection for military service under the contract, according to which of the total number of people who applied for the issue of receipt on military service under the contract, about 20% would like to conclude contracts for shorter periods to participate in specific activities or operations.

Short-term contracts for seafarers will appear, due to the fact that sailors conscripts serve on ships an average of about six months, and if the ship is in a long voyage, it often happens that the period of notice occurs in the period of the campaign. Now it will be possible to conclude a contract until the end of the voyage.

The adoption of the law will help to equip military units, including consolidated and non-standard, contract, and increase their combat effectiveness, stated in the explanatory note to the bill.

The government also proposes to expand the definition of a soldier. Now, this status will be also taking part in “activities to maintain or restore international peace and security” or suppress international terrorist activities outside of Russia.

Interviewed military experts attribute the appearance of this bill with the need of legalization of the activities of the employees of private military companies in Syria. “Of course, the bill may present an opportunity for PMC mercenaries Wagner to make their work clean,” — said the Deputy Director of the Institute of political and military analysis Alexander Khramchikhin. According to him, the bill is an attempt to legalize and simplify the activities of squad of Wagner, who, according , involved in a military conflict on the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic.

The group of Wagner, or Wagner’s PMC (private military company) — an informal grouping consisting of 2.5 thousand fighters, most of them are former Russian military. According to estimates , the project support group Wagner cost the state and “senior businessmen” from $ 5.1 billion to 10.3 billion. the Group actively uses the infrastructure of the Russian military Department, and, according to sources , weapons and equipment.

According to Professor of international law Department of MGIMO Dmitriy Labin, a similar law will be able not only to justify the status of PMCs Wagner in the framework of international law, but also to create the legal framework for the emergence of such structures. “Will be the basis for creating something similar to the French foreign Legion, where soldiers perform tasks based on nationality, remuneration or other benefits,” — said the expert.

Such findings do not agree, first Deputy head of the Federation Council Committee on defense and security Frants Klintsevich. He believes that the bill is aimed at solving short-term tasks outside the country. “You may need in the division, which will last eight to nine months, and guard the military bases abroad, engaged in construction and preparation,” — said Klintsevich . The Senator notes that such units will be able to join people who have already completed service in the armed forces. Klintsevich said he did not know anything about the band Wagner and does not associate the bill with the activities of the group.