Contents in a disciplinary military unit - comments from a Federal Judge / MIP Law Group

A special military unit is a disbat in the army, which is responsible for the re-education of soldiers who have committed a crime. After serving his sentence in disbat, the convicted person will not have an official criminal record. The time spent in such a unit does not count towards the period of compulsory service.

Military personnel are a special category of people to whom special requirements and rules apply. This attitude extends to all areas of their activities, including prosecution for crimes committed.

For a serviceman in respect of whom the fact of committing an illegal act has been established, a specific type of punishment is provided that is not assigned to ordinary citizens - disbat. Serving in a correctional military unit has a large number of restrictions and rules that create special conditions of detention.

Basic definitions

Disbat, a special military unit that combines the distinctive features of a prison and an army. In such correctional institutions, sentences are served by:

  • Soldiers.
  • Sergeants undergoing military service.
  • Cadets of military educational institutions.

The military court determines the punishment and place of detention (disbat or prison). In all disciplinary battalions, there are two categories of personnel:

  • Constant. Officers and soldiers of security companies. The total number of permanent personnel in the disbat is 300 people.
  • Temporary. Military men who were convicted and sent to serve their sentences in disbat. The total number of temporary staff should not exceed 500 people. During the period of detention in the disbat, the military man is deprived of all ranks, and he continues to serve as a soldier or sailor.

Difficulties in execution of punishment

Unfortunately, today the execution of this type of punishment is complicated by the small number of disciplinary military units to which military personnel must be sent. Today there are only two units where military personnel can serve their sentences.
Another problem is the actual replacement of the re-education function with a labor function. There is no developed methodology for interaction with persons convicted and sent to the VHF, or an individual approach.

The main activity of those who have committed a criminal act is not to perform military duties, but to agricultural, industrial, technical and other work.

In addition, it is worth noting that a disciplinary military unit is not actually a specialized and professional institution, the members of which can effectively carry out not only military-administrative, but also penitentiary (related to justice) assignments.

Formally, they function as ordinary military institutions, which exacerbates the problem of implementing the correction of convicted persons.

Assigning a deadline

The current regulations on disciplinary battalions regulate all aspects of the activities of such military units, including the period of serving the sentence. The minimum period of stay in disbat cannot be less than three months, and the maximum should not exceed two years.

The time spent in such a unit will not be counted towards the period of service in a regular unit. Upon expiration of the imposed sentence, the serviceman returns to the military unit from which he was taken after committing the crime. It is possible to count the time spent in the disbat towards the period of compulsory military service. A similar situation will be possible after filing a petition from the administration of the disciplinary battalion to the commander of the military district.

General provisions

Let's look at the general provisions about the disciplinary military unit. In relation to a military man, a correction measure can only be recognized as effective when he manages to instill in him the need for unconditional execution of the regulations and obedience to orders, which is most feasible under conditions of strict discipline and compliance with all rules. The progressive system of serving a sentence in a disciplinary military unit or unit allows the violator to realize that strict adherence to the rules provides benefits and improves conditions of service, and violation of the regulations and orders is fraught with imprisonment in a punishment cell.

Formally, the conditions of detention of military personnel sentenced to disciplinary punishment differ little from the standard service in terms of content, except for the lack of benefits and concessions, as well as the equalization of all those punished in the single rank of private or sailor. Strict requirements and labor conscription, instead of the usual drill, combat and tactical training, complement a set of measures to force the military to discipline military personnel who have committed misconduct.

The imposition of a disciplinary measure of correction on a military serviceman does not deprive him or his family of state benefits, with the exception of the right to annual travel to where the leave will take place. Such a restriction is determined by the lack of vacations for persons who are ordered to serve a term in a disciplinary military unit.

Read below about who should carry out punishments in a disciplinary military unit.

This video will tell you more about the execution of punishments in a disciplinary military unit:

Persons who are given such punishment

Convicted military personnel held in disciplinary military units can only be persons undergoing military service, or subjects who have entered into a contract for military service, but have not yet served a period equal to their conscription term. Confinement in a disciplinary military unit is not assigned to:

  • those remaining for long-term service;
  • not related to privates and sergeants, including warrant officers, officers and midshipmen.

Terms of punishment

The period of detention in a disciplinary military unit is also important. The period of stay under conditions of strict discipline and strict adherence to the statute can range from one quarter to two years, including replacing a comparable interval of punishment in the form of imprisonment.

Next, we will tell you about the places where you serve your sentence in a disciplinary military unit.

Places of departure

To instill in soldiers and sergeants who violated the rules of military service the concepts of patriotism, unquestioning compliance with the regulations and the inadmissibility of offenses, special military units are created by orders of the Minister of Defense. The number of parts is determined by the need for correction, which has decreased significantly in recent years and does not exceed two hundred people per year.

As a result, the presence of two disciplinary military units, one in each military district, is considered sufficient:

  • military unit No. 12801 for employees of the western part of the country;
  • military unit No. 44311 for those serving in the eastern regions.

A person's criminal record after a disbat

The opinion that disciplinary battalions have the same status as a penal colony is erroneous. After fully serving the assigned sentence in a disciplinary battalion, the serviceman does not have a mark of criminal responsibility in his biography.

The only reminder of the disbat remains in the military ID, which indicates information about service in a specialized military unit and its number. The only problem after getting into disbat is the impossibility of further career in the army. For work in civilian professions, such a mark has no effect.

Parole from the disciplinary battalion

The current regulation on disciplinary military units operating on the territory of the Russian Federation No. 669 implies the possibility of releasing convicts on parole. To do this, a serviceman serving a sentence must fulfill the following conditions:

  • Show yourself positively in military service.
  • Actively participate in public life.
  • Do not cause criticism from commanders.
  • After serving at least 1/3 of the assigned term, the convict receives the right to perform work outside the territory of the disciplinary battalion and is transferred to the category of “correctional persons.” This practice significantly increases the opportunity for a serviceman to show his best side.
  • Conditional early punishment is possible in relation to persons who have served at least half of the assigned term and have been transferred to the category of “correcting persons”.

The concept of a disciplinary military unit

A disciplinary military unit is a special military unit in which those employees who have committed a crime while performing military service are placed. The main task of this formation is to correct the behavior of the serviceman and adapt him to life in society.

This goal is achieved through the establishment of military discipline, which in turn is formed due to certain factors, including:

  • Nurturing the moral and ethical qualities of the individual and instilling conscious subordination to the command staff;
  • Establishment of personal responsibility of all employees for the performance of duties that were assigned to them upon entering military service;
  • Maintaining normal relationships within the team and establishing a strict daily routine;
  • The daily demands of the command staff, which manifests itself in determining the main responsibilities of employees;
  • Creation on the basis of the military formation of the necessary material and technical base necessary for the normal functioning of employees.

It is worth noting that detention in a disciplinary military unit is typical for employees of the lower echelon of the military hierarchy. Article 22 of the Federal Law “On Military Duty and Military Service” establishes that officers, as well as employees who are undergoing long-term service, cannot be placed in special disciplinary units.

The disciplinary military unit establishes a certain procedure for the execution and serving of punishment, which ensures:

  • Correction of the behavioral model of convicts;
  • Education and instilling in violators of military discipline and a conscious attitude towards their obligations;
  • Realization of the rights and interests of convicts and their adaptation to normal interaction with other military personnel;
  • Protecting convicts and monitoring them and their actions;
  • Ensuring the personal safety of convicts.

Features of guardhouses

There are certain differences between a guardhouse and a disciplinary battalion.

BaseDisciplinary violationsCrimes
Duration of maintenanceNo more than 30 daysUp to two years
Additional measuresThe offender is deprived of all insignia, but retains the rankWithout exception, everyone is demoted to private.
Conditions of detentionSeparate closed chambersGuarded general barracks

Difference from a guardhouse

Any serviceman can be sent to the guardhouse for a serious violation of discipline. The offender is kept in a separate cell for no more than 30 days. In this case, the offender remains in his rank. The disciplinary battalion was created for those who commit crimes in the army listed in the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

All convicts will be stripped of their ranks, and they will serve as ordinary soldiers or sailors. Disputes in the army are a necessary measure to fight against soldiers and sergeants who have broken the law. Service in the battalion is difficult, but it gives a person the opportunity to take the path of correction. Many are given a chance not to become a criminal later, after returning from the army.

Why is disbat prescribed?

A certain list of crimes has been established for which soldier offenders are sent to serve their sentences in a disbat:

  1. Failure to comply with a direct order from the commander.
  2. Unauthorized leaving of the place of service or military unit.
  3. Escape from a sinking ship.
  4. Constantly being late after legal dismissal.
  5. Desertion.
  6. Causing harm to the health of other military personnel.
  7. Insulting the honor and dignity of colleagues.
  8. Intentional damage or loss of property of a military unit.

There are other cases of referral to disbat, which are listed in the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation - articles 348-352.

The following military personnel cannot be sent to the disciplinary battalion:

  • Officers holding relevant positions.
  • Military personnel serving under a contract who have already completed military service.

To get into disbat in the army, the conditions specified in Article 55 of the Criminal Code must be met:

  1. At the time of committing the unlawful act, the attacker was undergoing military service.
  2. The criminal act was qualified in accordance with Article 33 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.
  3. A soldier who has committed a crime is serving under a contract, without undergoing compulsory service.

Conditions in disciplinary battalions

Units for holding military offenders are located in close proximity to industrial zones or military camps. All violators held in the disbat serve in a closed area. The territory of the unit is guarded by permanent personnel.

All convicted military personnel serve their sentences in general barracks, which have metal bars on the windows. Bunk beds are installed throughout the barracks, where each person serving his sentence has his own bed and bedside table. Each military man is allowed to keep:

  • Hygiene items: soap, toothpaste.
  • Small size mirror.
  • Protective shoe cream.
  • Paper notepads, pens, pencils.

All those serving a sentence in the disbat officially continue to perform military service, so they must always have a belt and stripes. On the territory of a disciplinary military unit, convicts are allowed to move only by running or marching. Particular attention is paid to the neatness and appearance of military personnel.

To keep themselves in proper shape, they are given special time every day to take hygiene procedures and put their clothes and shoes in order. Every week, all those serving a sentence must visit the bath complex located on the territory of the unit.

In the disciplinary part, strict rules and regime are established, but they do not exceed the requirements of the regulations for other military personnel of the Russian Federation. For military personnel detained in the disbat, free time is limited, the possibility of dismissal is excluded, and any violations are punishable by penalties or placement in a guardhouse for a certain period of time.

Types of detention in a disciplinary military unit

The placement of convicts in a disciplinary military brigade is of an educational nature. It is believed that thanks to special educational methods, it is possible to correct the offender’s behavioral model, as well as ensure his normal interaction with other military personnel.

The detention of a criminal in a specialized military formation is carried out in two types:

  • Short-term placement of the offender in a disciplinary unit. This punishment will be applied to those military personnel who have committed minor offenses against military service. As a rule, in this situation the sentence will range from 3 months to six months;
  • Long-term placement of a criminal in a disciplinary unit. This punishment is applied to those persons who have committed a significant offense, which entailed certain consequences, including socially dangerous ones.

Daily routine of convicts

All actions of convicts are strictly regulated and must comply with the established daily routine. The day starts at 6.30. During the day, time is set for the following actions:

  • Personal hygiene.
  • Physical exercise.
  • Eating.
  • Labor activity.
  • Communication with a doctor.
  • Drill training classes.
  • Free time.
  • An evening walk.
  • Lights out.

Deviation from the established regime is possible in exceptional cases, with the permission of the administration of the military unit.

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Convicts eat food three times a day according to an established schedule. All soldiers eat in one guarded room. In the disbat there is no division between convicts by rank and privileges. Food preparation for permanent and temporary composition is the same. Military cooks do the cooking. The food in the disbat is not very varied. Standard breakfast includes:

  • Porridge.
  • Eggs.
  • Casserole.
  • Coffee or tea.


  • Salad.
  • Soup.
  • Side dish with meat (beef or pork).


  • Main course: dumplings or side dish with fish.
  • Fresh fruits.
  • Compote or other drink.

Labor activity

One of the main educational processes in a disciplinary battalion is labor activity. Every day, convicts are required to work for a period of 8 hours. Among the most common types of work activities:

  • Manufacturing of reinforced concrete structures.
  • Loading and unloading operations.
  • Cleaning the territory and premises of the unit.

If a convict is assigned the status of “correctional”, he has more freedoms, and he can engage in labor activities in enterprises that are located outside the unit. Payment for the work of convicted military personnel is established based on the organization’s rates. The monthly salary received is divided into two equal parts. One of them is received by the military unit, and the other half goes to the personal account of the convicted serviceman. Of the funds received, he is allowed to use no more than 3,000 rubles per month to purchase food and basic necessities.


The daily routine of military personnel includes time for mandatory training sessions. In addition to them, there is the possibility of self-education by reading books from the local library. Since 2016, military personnel who committed a crime while receiving education via correspondence can continue their studies directly on the territory of the disciplinary unit.

Attitude to religion

In all military units of the Russian Federation, discrimination based on religion is strictly prohibited. The disciplinary battalion is no exception. Military personnel serving sentences are allowed to:

  • Read religious literature.
  • Perform religious rituals.
  • Keep religious items with you.

The listed and other actions related to religion are permitted if they do not contradict the established order in the army and do not in any way infringe on the rights and interests of other military personnel. On the territory of disciplinary military units there are churches and temples of various religions, visits to which are allowed in free time. Periodically, in agreement with the unit administration, priests come to the disciplinary battalions.

Rest and leisure

Free time for leisure activities is provided only on Sundays; it is not provided on other days of the week. There is no wide variety of leisure activities. Special entertainment programs and additional events are organized at the discretion of the administration on holidays. On the territory of the unit there is a rest room, which has:

  • Board games.
  • Magazines.
  • Musical instruments.
  • TV, viewing of which is allowed for one hour before lights out.
  • Library.

Every day, immediately after lunch and dinner, military personnel are given 30 minutes of personal time. A twenty-minute walk in the fresh air is required before the general lights out. Sleep time is 8 hours. The opportunity to receive leave or dismissal from a disbat is provided in exceptional cases, for example, the death of a close relative. The maximum period for which they can be released home from the territory of the disciplinary unit is no more than seven days, excluding the time required for travel. For other reasons, it is impossible to legally leave the territory of the disciplinary battalion.

Visiting relatives

Every serviceman who undergoes forced service in disciplinary military units has the right to visit close relatives. This possibility is regulated by the Penal Code of the Russian Federation, Article No. 158. There are two possible types of visits:

  1. For a short time. Twice a month, no more than four hours
  2. Long lasting. They are held no more than four times a year, lasting no more than three days. A date of this type is carried out exclusively with parents and wife, after establishing the degree of relationship. For such meetings, there are special separate rooms on the territory of the unit. During a long visit, the convicted person is released from all duties assigned to him.

The listed types of visits, at the request of convicted persons, can be replaced by telephone conversations. If an application to appeal a sentence is filed, a military man serving his sentence is allowed to meet with his lawyer. The number of meetings with a lawyer is not limited.

Transfers and parcels

The current order of the Ministry of Defense establishes the possibilities and prohibitions on the transfer of parcels and letters for military personnel serving in disciplinary battalions.

Every month, a disbat soldier can receive and send one parcel. This rule does not apply to transfers received during meetings with relatives. Each parcel is subject to inspection by unit security officers for the presence of prohibited items, including:

  • Alcohol.
  • Cigarettes.
  • Counterfeit products.
  • Sausage and fish products.
  • Sugar.
  • Tea and coffee in any form.
  • Ketchup.
  • Mayonnaise.
  • Kefir and other fermented milk products.

There are no restrictions on the number of letters and telegrams sent and received. The received correspondence is opened by an official and if items prohibited for transfer are found, they are confiscated.

Judicial practice under Article 55 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation

Determination of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation dated September 29, 2020 N 2031-O
The establishment in criminal law of liability for the illegal trafficking of potent or toxic substances for the purpose of sale is consistent with the provision of the Constitution of the Russian Federation on the admissibility of restrictions - including through the introduction of a criminal law prohibition - of rights and freedoms person and citizen to the extent necessary to protect health (Article, Part 3). Article 234 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, which criminalizes in parts one through three acts related to the illegal manufacture, processing, acquisition, storage, transportation or shipment for the purpose of sale, as well as the illegal sale of potent or toxic substances that are not narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances, or equipment for their production or processing, directly determines what actions constitute the objective side of the crimes provided for in this article, and also presupposes the presence of direct intent as a prerequisite for bringing the offender to justice. This norm of criminal law in itself cannot be considered as not meeting the requirements of consistency, clarity and ambiguity (rulings of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation dated October 25, 2022 N 2773-O and September 27, 2022 N 2319-O).

Determination of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation dated March 12, 2021 N 377-O

On the same day, the court ruled to send a request to the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, indicating in it that when determining the amount of the fine, the time Ch. was under house arrest (from July 30, 2022 to January 27, 2022) was not taken into account, since the disputed The law allows, when imposing a fine, to take into account only the time spent in custody before sentencing. Based on this, in its request the court - noting that preventive measures in the form of detention and house arrest have a similar legal nature - asks to check for compliance with the Constitution of the Russian Federation, its articles (part 2), (parts 1 and 2) and (parts 2 and 3), part five of the article of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, as not providing, in violation of the constitutional provision on the equality of citizens before the law and the court, the possibility of taking into account the time a person was under house arrest before sentencing when assigning him the main punishment in the form of a fine.

Determination of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation dated March 26, 2019 N 622-O

Thus, Articles 9 and 10, part three of the article of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation do not contain any uncertainty and cannot be regarded as violating the applicant’s rights in the aspect indicated by him. As for part two of Article of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, the applicant, contrary to the requirement of Article 96 of the Federal Constitutional Law “On the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation,” did not provide a copy of an official document confirming its use in resolving his criminal case. In addition, as follows from the presented materials, in relation to A.A. Mokhov was not sentenced to detention in a disciplinary military unit.

History of disciplinary battalions

The special format of the military unit is a legacy of the USSR. In accordance with the issued decree, military personnel were sent to such battalions based on the verdict of a military tribunal. The period of detention in such a unit was a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of two years. According to statistics of that time, the overwhelming majority of the military were sentenced to leave the military unit without permission. Subsequently, the practice of keeping military personnel in disbats in respect of whom it was established that they had committed a criminal offense of minor public danger was used. With the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, all disciplinary battalions, except those located in the eastern part of Russia, were closed. Convicts held at that time were sent to regular military units or penal units, depending on the severity of the crime committed.

At the very height of the Great Patriotic War, the well-known order No. 227 was issued. Its name spoke for itself: “Not a step back.” He encouraged the country's top military leadership to create special penal battalions directly at the front. During the period from 1942 to 1945, more than 50 battalions and more than 1000 companies were created for penal servicemen. The end of the Great Patriotic War led to the disbandment of almost all penal battalions and companies. After the collapse of the USSR, such military units remained in some countries, including Russia.

Today, disciplinary units are becoming fewer and fewer - they are being buried and reoriented into regular military units. Military personnel who have committed a crime, in return for serving in the disbat, are sent to serve their real sentence in a colony or prison.

The history of the appearance of disbats in the army

The first prison companies were organized in 1866 by decree of Emperor Alexander II. Soldiers who had committed misconduct were sent to them by decision of a military court. Those who were considered unreliable were also sent to battalions for 6 years. But the conditions of detention for the penal prisoners were so difficult that they committed new crimes, trying to get into hard labor.

Life was easier for the convicts. Soon the prison companies were abolished, replaced by correctional units. Recruits were placed in them for a period of 3 years for crimes committed. Then the lower ranks were sent to serve in their unit. Being in a prison company was not counted towards the total length of service.

In the 80s of the 19th century, correctional institutions appeared where soldiers who did not want to obey their commanders and live according to the requirements of military service were sent. There they tried to correct the offender by putting him in harsh conditions. If such upbringing was beneficial, then the prisoner was transferred to a unit, counting his stay in a correctional institution towards his total length of service.

After the revolution, disciplinary battalions remained in the army, to which military personnel who violated the criminal code were sent. Before the war, anyone who left a military unit without permission or committed a criminal offense of moderate gravity could end up in disbat.

The disciplinary battalions were liquidated when the Great Patriotic War began. Military personnel who were in correctional units at the time of the Nazi attack on the USSR were sent to regular units or organized penal battalions.

Penal battalions were replenished during the war with soldiers and officers who violated the commander’s order not to retreat and left their positions without permission. Human losses in such battalions exceeded other military units by 4 times.

Discipline in the battalion is very strict

The penal battalions were disbanded in 1945, and they were again replaced by disciplinary battalions. Violators are kept in such units for a maximum period of 2 years.

After serving your sentence

After serving his sentence, the serviceman was paid the money accumulated during his work and was sent to complete his military service in a regular military unit. Cases of crimes being committed by released military personnel while en route to their unit were recorded on a massive scale. It was decided that each person released would be represented by a responsible person from among the military. He must accompany the released soldier to his place of further service. Due to a shortage of personnel, the dispatch of soldiers who have served their sentences is delayed for a long time.

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