Not just the West – a digital passport for Russia

Not just the West – a digital passport for Russia

The digital noose tightens around Russia

Your identity and civil privileges, all conveniently stored on a convenient app

April 16, 2023

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday signed into law the use of electronic military subpoenas, as well as the creation of a unified register of all those who qualify for service.

Under the newly approved legislation, anyone sent a summon via state services portal Gosuslugi—regardless of whether it is actually read—will be prevented from leaving the country until they report to an enlistment office.

Suspected draft dodgers can be barred from driving, buying or selling property, and taking out loans.

Digitalization without representation

The law was blitzed through the Federal Assembly without any meaningful debate before landing on Putin’s desk. The State Duma unanimously passed the bill in under 30 minutes, despite the fact that the text wasn’t made available to lawmakers until shortly before the vote.

The “hasty, ill-conceived” law will lead to more “stupidity” and “social tension”, State Duma Deputy Nina Ostanina wrote in a recent op-ed:

[F]or the Ministry of Defense, [the draftee] is just a conscript, but for a mother it is a son, for a wife it is a husband, and for a child it is a father. […]

It is not clear to me what is being planned, and why it needs to be introduced now, because the constant failures of the state services portal indicate that this system is imperfect.

On April 14, Russia’s most popular military news portal,, published a scathing op-ed about the new law, warning that it could open a Pandora’s Box of corruption, government incompetence, and social unrest:

[T]he law has two enemies: the constantly lying state and the self-preservation instinct of citizens.

Coincidentally, just days before the digital summonses law was ratified, Russians were informed that they could no longer delete Gosuslugi from their phones—purportedly to protect them from “hackers”.


The decision was eventually reversed after public outcry. Officials stressed the curious episode had nothing to do with the possibility of another wave of mobilization.


Meanwhile, the Ministry of Digital Development has submitted a draft bill that will allow Russians to use Gosuslugi as a replacement for their domestic (paper) passports.


While not mandatory, Gosuslugi is used by the vast majority of Russians to carry out daily tasks that would otherwise be bogged down by horrific bureaucratic red tape.

You can even use Gosuslugi to make an appointment for a safe and effective genetic injection!

Again, just to reiterate: None of this is being forced on anyone—it’s just extremely convenient; it’s what people crave.

And now under this extremely convenient system you will be able to conveniently identify yourself and/or check at your convenience if you are allowed to leave the country, or sell your house.

The digital kill switch for dignity is already here. The future is now.

Putin signs new conscription law

Russia will start serving summons electronically, using a digital database of eligible citizens

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday signed into law amended conscription and mobilization rules, establishing a unified digital database of citizens subject to military service. The measure was fast-tracked through the legislature in Moscow in less than a week.

The Ministry of Digital Development was tasked with establishing the registry, which will be operated by the Ministry of Defense. The government will draw on its existing databases to populate the registry, including tax, election, medical, police and court records, and those drawn from employers and universities.

The register will help track the summons sent out to eligible conscripts not just by mail but now also electronically, using the “appropriate” platforms, such as the state services portal ‘Gosuslugi’. The summons will be considered served within seven days of being posted to the registry. From the moment the summons is issued, the recipient will not be allowed to leave Russia.

The new law also introduces penalties for failing to report. Those who do not respond to the summons within 20 days, without a valid exemption, will not be allowed to register a business, vehicle or real estate, or to obtain bank loans. Various regions and republics may also limit or discontinue the payment of benefits and other government support. Such decisions may be appealed in court, however.

The amendments were introduced by the State Duma’s defense committee on April 10, and the lower chamber voted to pass them the following day. The Russian Senate approved them on April 12. Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov described the fast-track procedure as being driven by national security priorities.

Russian law prescribes one year of mandatory military service for male citizens between the ages of 18 and 27. Two rounds of conscription are conducted each year, with the size of the call-up specified by a presidential decree. However, lawmakers recently introduced a separate amendment to move the age bracket up over several years, reaching 21 to 30 in 2026. The proposed change is meant to protect those in their late teens and early 20s from disruptions to their education.

Moscow has not declared a general mobilization due to the Ukraine conflict, preferring to conduct operations with professional troops and a cadre of some 300,000 reservists, called up in October 2022.

Last year’s call-up exposed some structural problems with the conscription infrastructure inherited from the Soviet Union, including loopholes and poorly maintained registries that resulted in summons being issued to citizens without prior military experience, or otherwise ineligible. 

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