Soldiers Given a Choice

1Russia’s Defence Ministry has proposed offering conscripts the choice of two years professional military service instead of the existing one year of mandatory service, a media report said, in a bid to increase the number of full-time soldiers.

2The ministry has drafted the bill offering conscripts a choice between a year as conscripts or two as professional soldiers, Deputy Defence Minister Nikolai Pankov said.

The new proposal, reportedly already submitted to the Cabinet, aims to help the army boost the ranks of contract soldiers in the next three years.

3Under existing legislation, Russian men aged between 18 and 27 are obliged to serve a year in the army, that is often criticized by the human rights groups for its allegedly harsh conditions and hazing.  A high proportion of those potentially eligible to be called up avoid service with legal or medical exemptions or draft-dodging.

Having completed their service, conscripts can choose to continue their military service as professional contract soldiers.

4But what if a person has signed a contract with the commander of the unit, but then I realized that a long military life was not for him? Military men are developing rules of early termination of the contract by mutual consent. While in the Main Personnel Directorate of the Defence Ministry, which oversees everything connected with the service of military professionals, lean toward the following option. The contract with the “objector” will be interrupted, if he was conducting it quite a bit of time, and he will have to serve as a conscript for some period.

The Russian Armed Forces are in the midst of a major reorganization and re-equipment program that includes a transition to an all-professional force structure. The government plans to boost the number of professional soldiers from the current 205,000 to 425,000 people by 2017.

1However, the move to an all-professional force has been hamstrung by the reluctance of many young men to serve for low pay and poor conditions, and the diminishing number of young men available due to Russia’s demographic crisis.

Let us recall that this is not the only call-up innovation, the introduction of which initiates the army leadership. The first step, perhaps, can be called a proposal by Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu to organize the service of students, so that they can get military training in stages. The generals and rectors have already identified a list of high schools.

In addition, the so-called cyber troops appeared in the army. There are student volunteers there, whose high school studies were in demand for the solution of scientific problems for defence purposes.

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