Russian Draft Falls Short because of Demography and Resistance, ‘Nezavisimaya Gazeta’ Reports
Staunton, August 7 – “Despite the
optimistic reports of the Russian defense ministry,” Vladimir Mukhin of Nezavisimaya gazeta says, the military
did not meet its quotas for new draftees this past spring “not only” because of
demographic problems – there are too few Russians in the prime draft cohort –
but also because of draft avoidance.
As a result, the observer writes,
the Russian military has “developed a number of measures” intended to increase
the number of young men who will be inducted this fall, including but not
limited to the restoration of the Main Military-Political Administration which
will work with draftees (ng.ru/politics/2018-08-07/8_7283_ticket.html).
immediately, Mukhin says, the defense ministry is imposing tougher requirements
on local draft agencies, requiring them to hand out to those who avoid service
special certificates that will make it harder for them to enter universities or
get jobs. The ministry had ordered this in 2014 but not all boards have been
to available sources, the journalist continues, “several tens of thousands of
young people” have such certificates already. New pressures from above will
likely increase their number substantially. That will make it very hard for
those getting such “tickets” to work in the government or in firms connected
with the government for ten years.
surprisingly, Mukhin adds, the parents of such young men are already
complaining about “the supposedly illegality” of the 2014 decree. They won a
victory earlier this year in the Supreme Court which has led to the freezing of
such cases across the Russian Federation. But problems with the draft may force
a revision of that policy.
officials in the defense ministry are “optimistic” they will get their way.
They note that in March 2018, “a group of members of the Federation Council”
introduced legislation that would make Sergey Shoygu’s earlier decree an act of
law and thus not something the courts would be inclined to overturn.
ago, Mukhin notes, “Duma deputies without any particular noise almost
unanimously considered and passed corresponding amendments” to the law on
military service. “The media almost did not write about this; but soon about
this in Russia many interested people began to speak out ‘in full voice.’”
expected that already in September, this bill will be adopted and signed by the
president,” Mukhin says. And in this way, “the military commissariats will have
the legal bases for handing out to young people who avoid service ‘a
certificate of draft avoider.’”That is
going to spark enormous anger.
Aleksandr Sekatchev, a military expert, says that he calls these “’wolf
tickets’ for young careerists. It will be difficult” for them to continue their
educations or get good jobs.And the
number of such people is large – at least “several hundred thousands of
intellectually educated young people.”
presumably decide that it is cheaper and better to serve in the army, he
suggests; but they will do so without particular enthusiasm. And others may
seek alternative ways to continue to avoid service, including emigration or
illegal changes in the certificates they have been issued.
But according to Col. Yury Belyaev, a former
military commissar from Orenburg, Moscow has now choice. It has to rely on the
draft because “the transition to a contract military requires money. Under
conditions of sanctions and the economic crisis, there isn’t enough.”But equally clearly, there aren’t enough
willing draftees either.