Defense Ministry proposes ‘recruitment’ of private cars during war time

Defense Ministry proposes ‘recruitment’ of private cars during war time
The Russian Defense Ministry wants to include private vehicles, especially those with increased off-road capabilities, into the list of vehicles that can be commandeered from their civilian owners during times of war.

The Defense Ministry prepared amendments to the 2014 legislation allowing the military, during times of martial law, the right to confiscate any cargo truck or towed trailer from a private owner or company, according to Izvestia newspaper on Tuesday.

The new draft includes in this list all passenger cars and SUVs that have no more than eight passenger seats (apart from the driver’s). Also, the new edition of the regulation would allow the military to take portable power generators and compressor stations from their civilian owners.

However, one of the amendments directly specifies that the Defense Ministry would give preference to 4x4 vehicles produced in Russia, such as the UAZ SUVs built at Ulyanovsk car factory.

The existing draft also directly states that the step is only of temporary nature and that military must return the commandeered vehicles after they receive the necessary transport from logistics units. Also, the Defense Ministry must pay compensation to the owners, depending on the type of confiscated vehicle and time of its use.

To facilitate the process all vehicles potentially subject to commandeering must be registered with district military recruitment stations. The information about new cars and trucks will be sent there by the traffic police, the State Technical Inspection and the Federal Tax Service.

A similar system has existed in the Soviet Union where the military had the right to confiscate private 4x4 cars in times of war or other emergency situations. However, the rules did not apply to foreign-made cars and as the share of those in private hands grew, the agencies responsible for registering vehicles with recruitment stations stopped sending information to the military and by mid-2000 the system stopped to exist.

The order released in 2014 which the Defense Ministry seeks to amend only mentions trucks and trailers.

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