I have British and Russian citizenship and passport. When I go to Russia on my Russian passport there I am no longer British but Russian and likewise in Britain.

Under Russian law, you are required to do military or alternative service when you are 18. Say if I travelled there when I am 18 or over would I still be called up to do service?

As there I am Russian. Could I go to the British embassy while there and ask for help?

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's about law not travel. – DJClayworth Dec 31 '18 at 15:00
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    You always hold both your citizenships. They are not like clothing you put on when it suits you. That is the advantages as well as the disadvantages. – Willeke Dec 31 '18 at 15:19
  • In general, you are not entitled to consular assistance in a country where you hold citizenship, when you get into trouble, e.g., if you get arrested, you have no Vienna Convention right to see a consular officer (because you are not a "foreigner"). – xuq01 Jan 1 '19 at 8:01

A second citizenship does not prevent you from being drafted in Russia unless you've already served in the UK military.

There are, however, multiple other exemptions, such as:

  • Being younger than 18 or older than 27.
  • Being physically or psychologically unfit for the military service.
  • Having a PhD or another postgraduate degree.

If you're uncertain you're exempt and want to avoid the service, I strongly suggest consulting a lawyer specializing in military draft before your visit and avoid visiting Russia during the draft period (April 1 through July 15 and October 1 through December 31).

References: rg.ru, pravoved.ru.

  • I still want to visit on a regular basis. What can be done? – Xnero Dec 31 '18 at 14:31
  • @DManokhin Find a good lawyer specializing in military draft or serve in the military for 1 year. Chances are you already have an illness or a personal circumstance that make you exempt, but only a lawyer will be able to tell you with certainty and defend your rights in case it gets overlooked during the fitness exam. – undercat applauds Monica Dec 31 '18 at 14:36
  • I have a back condition?? I want to visit twice a year. Should I get a visa everytime I go? I don't want to pay for a lawyer – Xnero Dec 31 '18 at 14:38
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    @DManokhin Dual Russian citizens cannot get a visa, but must enter as Russian citizens. And no, the shortcut you're looking for simply does not exist. Stay away from Russia for the time being or be prepared for the possbility of having to deal with the hassle. – Crazydre Dec 31 '18 at 14:40
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    I don't know about Russia but some countries will not allow you to revoke citizenship if there is uncompleted military service. – DJClayworth Dec 31 '18 at 15:02

Indeed, if you are "permanently residing outside the Russian Federation" you are exempt from military registration ("воинский учёт"), hence, a fortiori, from military service. Here is the link to the law: https://ru.wikisource.org/wiki/%D0%A4%D0%B5%D0%B4%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%B0%D0%BB%D1%8C%D0%BD%D1%8B%D0%B9_%D0%B7%D0%B0%D0%BA%D0%BE%D0%BD_%D0%BE%D1%82_28.03.1998_%E2%84%96_53-%D0%A4%D0%97/%D0%A0%D0%B0%D0%B7%D0%B4%D0%B5%D0%BB_II#%D0%A1%D1%82%D0%B0%D1%82%D1%8C%D1%8F_8 (see last line of the header of paragraph 1, just before subparagraph 1.1)

Concretely, to benefit from this, you need to cancel your registration ("регистрация по месту жительства") at your Russian address (if you still have one), and then to register at the consulate ("консульский учёт"). (Maybe registering at the consulate automatically cancels your registration in Russia, but if I remember correctly, it does not: you have to first de-register from Russia, then register abroad, in that order.)

If I understand correctly, in order for them to send you an invitation ("повестка"), you need to register at the military commissariat first. If you have not done this, then they are not even aware that you exist. They will certainly not pick you up at the airport. Your only risk is to be caught in a conscription roundup conducted by the police, e.g. in the metro. I have heard about them happening, but have never seen one (and I have spent about a year total in Moscow). And in any case, I do not think they ever happen outside the draft period (given in @undercat 's answer).

And if you are ever caught in such a roundup, be aware that the law grants you much more protection than the police would let you think. Do your research, and refuse to cooperate to any illegal requests of the police. (For example: they are not allowed to take you directly to the military commissariat, only to the police station.)

Source: I used to be in a similar situation with a similar issue, so I did my research at that time.

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    This is a very good point. Various law forums seem to generally confirm it, though also seem to imply one will still need to visit the conscription center(военкомат) to de-register if one hasn't done it yet. (And will probably give you a roundabout at first claiming insufficient grounds or some other nonsense.) – undercat applauds Monica Dec 31 '18 at 16:57
  • AFAIK conscription roundups are largely a thing of the past: they used to be common during the Chechnya wars when everyone did their best to evade draft, but now military service is not that bad, and there's enough volunteers. – IMil Jan 21 '19 at 3:56
  • @IMil There may be no "roundups" as such these days, but having army officials knock on your door and coerce you to sign a повестка to show up for a medical fitness exam next day is not unheard of and happened to a couple of university friends of mine, one of which is still recovering from the shock he's experienced during his brief military service against his own will and law. This story is an anecdote of course, but with the lack of any official data anecdotes is all we can have, which is why this practice still exists. Just looking up news on conscript suicides is deeply unnerving. – undercat applauds Monica May 11 '19 at 3:15

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