A decree adopted on 22 November and entered into effect on Monday, 11 December, requires Russian citizens who are banned from travelling to hand in their passports to authorities within 5 days from being notified.
According to Russian law, under extreme circumstances, the authorities can take away citizens’ right to travel. The measure targets people who, once abroad, could pose security risks to the country, such as employees of the Federal Security Service (FSB) or people who have access to state secrets or “information of special importance”, as well as conscripts and convicts, who could seek to flee the country to not fight in Ukraine.
According to the decree, citizens prohibited from travelling abroad have to hand in their passports to a governmental authority, such as the issuing local authority or the interior or foreign ministries. They are given five days, from the time of being notified, to hand in their passports, otherwise they are automatically considered invalid.
The authorities then register, store and return the passports back once the measure is lifted or the documents expire. When, or if, the measure is lifted, citizens can then submit an application to receive their passports back. In addition to the application, conscripts also have to present a military ID that proves they completed military service, otherwise their suspension remains.
Since the beginning of the war, Russia has been taking measure after measure to fuel its invasion, especially when it comes to putting men on the ground. It has been recruiting not just prisoners, but also men from neighbouring countries, offering $5,200 sign-on bonuses.
In September 2022, up to 300,000 reservists were called up to fight. At the time, Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu explained that the mobilisation would be limited to citizens with experience as professional soldiers and would focus on soldiers up to 35 years old and non-commissioned officers up to 45. In the meantime, the recruitment age has been lifted to 70 years old.