Russian National Guard soldiers banned from traveling to 237 countries

Members of the Novosibirsk Russian National Guard do not have the right to take vacations to Israel or 236 other countries, RBC Novosibirsk reports, citing a publication by the “Ombudsmen Police”.

The Ombudsmen Police claims to be in possession of a copy of an order signed by police colonel Rovshan Kurbanov, head of the Directorate for Extra-Departmental Safety of Troops of the Russian National Guard in the Novosibirsk Province.

The order lists the countries and regions that are considered safe for members of the National Guard to visit, in light of the military and political situation, the level of crime, the climate, and the situation surrounding sanitation and epidemics. The list is very short: Abkhazia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Vietnam, Indonesia (Bali island), Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Cuba, the UAE, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and South Ossetia.

“Kurbanov’s requirement stipulates that the list must be used as a guide when considering vacation reports, and third countries that are not mentioned… are prohibited,” the news outlet observes.

Legal expert Ekaterina Semenova from Novosibirsk explains that the document has the status of a normative act of the local Russian National Guard. “However, the provisions of such acts may not contravene the legislation of the Russian Federation or the provisions of the constitution, in this case, Federal Law 114 on the procedure for leaving and entering the Russian Federation,” the expert notes.

“To propose that absolutely all personnel of the Russian National Guard have access to state secrets is absurd. The situation looks like this: the point prohibiting travel to a number of countries is mentioned not in the order, but in the briefing which the employee must sign. This means that travel is not banned; the employee imposes the ban on himself and consents to it. Employees cannot refuse to sign the briefing, and very few resolve to dispute such an act,” Semenova explains.

The document’s list of countries and regions with favorable conditions that will ensure a safe stay is extremely dubious, the legal expert notes. In her opinion, it does not comply with the relevant legislation, since it does not clearly delineate the criteria for classifying a region as favorable or unfavorable.

Representatives of the National Guard directorate in Novosibirsk commented that the requirements and the list are “advisory in nature” and “intended to preserve the lives and health of Russian National Guard employees and their family members”.

Russian legislation stipulates that travel abroad can be restricted for personnel with access to state secrets only if their names are listed in the report by the Interdepartmental Commission for Protection of State Secrets.

  Russia, Novosibirsk, Azerbaijan