On April 17, the Arkhangelsk Regional Court refused to recruit Anatoly Veshchagin to do alternative civil service (ACS) due to a violation of the deadlines for submitting an application. In December 2018, the Solombalsky District Court had already refused, explaining the decision that the pacifist convictions of the young man could not have been formed in a period shorter than the deadline for submitting an application to the ACS.
According to the law “On alternative civilian service,” a conscript must submit an application to replace the service six months before the start of the call (before April 1, if the call is autumn). Anatoly Veshchagin filed an application later. Veshchagin claims that he did not know about the timing of the application. He pointed out that the military commissariat did not clarify his right to alternative service. The commission did not consider this to be a good reason for ACS and refused.
At the next call-up commission on November 30, 2018, Veshchagin again decided to exercise his right to ACS. He was filming what was happening in the military office with a phone.
“One of the officers tried and even took my smartphone away, and the military commissar grabbed my hand hard, not allowing me to take it off. At my meeting of the draft board, I was strictly forbidden to make any recording, referring to various orders and the law on personal data,” explained Veshchagin.
After that, Veshchagin appealed to the prosecutor's office of the city, region and the main military prosecutor's office with a statement that he did not agree with the refusal to transfer to alternative service. He also appealed against the actions of the staff of the Commissariat. Veshchagin received answers from the authorities, but considers them as replies, containing simply a list of orders and references to the law on personal data.
“Apparently, one of the prosecutor's offices transferred the case to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, because a month later I was called to the district police officer. Then the investigation of Severodvinsk took the case. One of the investigators came to me and also interrogated about everything that had happened. He informed me about the possible bringing of the military commissar to criminal liability, since his actions completely fell under the abuse of office,” said Veshchagin.
According to him, the investigation did not find corpus delicti in the actions of the military commissar. The letter from the Investigative Committee stated that the commissioner was trying to protect him from further violation of the law. In the same letter, according to Veshchagin, the investigation indicated that it could initiate a criminal case already against him under the article on a knowingly false report.
“They didn’t file a criminal case against me, only because some of the events I described were confirmed in the words of other officers of the military registration and enlistment office,” Anatoly Veshchagin suggested.
In March, he filed a new statement about the desire to exercise the right to replace the army service with alternative civil service.
Alternative Civil Service is a labor activity, replacing military service. Citizens who choose ACS instead of military service can work in favor of society and the state. This is usually a job in state institutions: orderlies, postmen, builders, or firemen. Every citizen has the right to replace alternative military service if army laws and regulations contradict his religion, or his convictions and worldview. Alternatively, a citizen of a small indigenous people who has a traditional lifestyle can also do alternative service.
Since the autumn of 2018, Anatoly Veshchagin is trying to use the right to alternative service, because service in the army contradicts his convictions, but the military commissariat and the court in two instances refused him.
Karina Zabolotnaya, "7x7"