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The digital noose tightens around Russia
Your identity and civil privileges, all conveniently stored on a convenient app
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.
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, Topwar.ru, 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.
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.
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