COVID-19 in Kazakhstan: President Signs Decree for Special Military Call-Up

April 15, 2020

In connection with the current state of emergency in Kazakhstan related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, President Kassym-Zhomart Tokaev has signed a decree on a special military call-up in the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The special military call-up in Kazakhstan can last up to three months.[1]All persons subject to military duty[2] not older than 50 years (for soldiers and sergeants) or 60 years (for officers) are eligible for the call-up, including persons with full-time jobs, as well as persons deemed unfit for military service due to health reasons.

Citizens of Kazakhstan are considered to be subject to military duty if they are (1) subject to military registration,[3] i.e., all persons subject to military duty and draftees; and (2) military personnel in reserve.[4]

The following is an exhaustive list of persons who cannot be conscripted for the call-up:[5]

  • Persons employed by state authorities in positions related to defense, security, and public order, or elected as representatives to the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan or to local representative bodies
  • Aviation personnel of state, civil, and experimental aviation
  • Persons employed in agriculture and in organizations that perform repairs of agricultural equipment, for the duration of planting and harvesting works
  • Teachers of full-time educational institutions for the duration of the academic year
  • Full-time students
  • Women liable for military duty
  • Persons with three or more children under the age of 18
  • Persons subject to a preliminary inquiry, investigation, or criminal case

On April 3, 2020, Minister of Defense Nurlan Yermekbayev held an official online briefing in which he explained the process of the call-up. According to the clarifications of Minister Yermekbayev, the process will be as follows:

  • For the duration of the call-up, those that are conscripted acquire the status of military personnel, as well as the relevant benefits (for example, provision of food). Such persons also have the right to keep their current jobs and receive payment of their average salaries.
  • Those who are conscripted will not be transferred to other regions. The activities of those who are conscripted will be as follows: Roadblocks, disinfection works, security of key facilities, patrolling, and flood control measures.
  • At the end of the service day, conscripted persons will return home, and will be sent to service the next morning.
  • Conscription will take place in stages, not all at once (as needed by the regions).
  • The remote nature of a person’s regular job does not constitute an exemption from the call-up.
  • Failure to appear at the call-up will result in administrative liability, and does not exempt a person from the call-up.
  • Local military offices will keep records of eligible individuals and notify relevant persons via SMS/text message and telephone.
  • Most local executive authorities expect the duration of conscription will last approximately two weeks for each conscripted person.
  • Local military offices have already formed medical commissions, and all of those persons who are called up will undergo a medical examination.

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Aset Shyngyssov

[1] Article 43 of Law No. 561-IV of the Republic of Kazakhstan on military service and status of military personnel, dated 16 February 2012.

[2] Id. Arts. 33, 43.1.

[3] Id. Art. 15.

[4] Id. Art. 41.

[5] Id. Art. 36.2.