(battalions, companies), special military units in which convicted servicemen serve their sentences. According to Soviet law, the punishment of being assigned to a disciplinary unit is provided for in the criminal codes of the Union republics (for example, the Criminal Code of the RSFSR, arts. 21, 22, 34, and 41). This punishment is imposed for the commission of certain military crimes by regular-term sergeants and soldiers (for example, for absence without leave) and also for military and other crimes committed by them, if the court has sentenced them to deprivation of freedom for a term up to two years. (When imposing such a sentence, the court has the right to replace it with assignment to a disciplinary unit.) When sentencing a convicted serviceman to be assigned to a disciplinary unit, the court considers the possibility of keeping the convicted man on military duty.
The manner and conditions of keeping convicted servicemen in disciplinary units are determined by the 1966 Statute on the Disciplinary Battalion in the Armed Forces of the USSR. Time spent by a convicted man in a disciplinary unit does not count toward his term of military service, but he remains a member of the service and wears the insignia of a private (or seaman). After serving at least half of his sentence the convicted man may be paroled.
Disciplinary units also existed in the prerevolutionary army. (They were instituted in 1878 for convicted servicemen in the lower ranks, who were sentenced to terms between one and three years.) They are found in the armies of many foreign states.