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Conscription in Russia is presently a 12 month draft, mandatory for all male citizens age 18-27, with a number of exceptions. The mandatory term of service was reduced from 18 months at the beginning of 2008.[1][2]

Russian Empire and earlier times[edit | edit source]

Prior to Peter I, the bulk of the military was formed from the nobility and people who owned land on condition of service. During wars additional recruiting of volunteers and ordinary citizens was common. Peter I introduced a regular army consisting of the nobility and recruits. In XVII century, the nobility was gradually relieved of the military service duties (but not of their privileges and land), so the bulk of the recruits was formed by peasants and bourgeoisie. The universal conscription system was introduced into Imperial Russia by Dmitry Milyutin in the 1870s.

Soviet Union[edit | edit source]

Early Soviet Russia and Soviet Union[edit | edit source]

Early decades[edit | edit source]

The first all-union conscription law of 1925 was tailored for the mixed cadre-militia structure of the peacetime Red Army after the Civil War. Draft-age was 21 years. Terms of service varied between one year in territorial formations and 2 to 4 years in the cadre army. Only "workers and peasants" were seen worthy to serve in combat units. Men of other social background were restricted to rear or labor services or had to pay a military tax.

The 1936 Soviet Constitution declared the military service "holy duty" of all male soviet citizens. Any reservations regarding social or national background were dropped. 1939 service law was promulgated with a lowered call-up age of 19 years. The Red army had adopted a full-cadre structure in the course of the 1930-s.

During the Great Patriotic War (WW2) all able-bodied men of ages 18-? were subject to draft with the exception of specialists declared vitally necessary in industry, which was revamped for military/defense production.

Post war demobilisation of the Soviet Armed Forces was completed in 1948. According to the 1949 service law, service terms were 3 years in ground forces and 4 years in the navy.

Late Soviet Union[edit | edit source]

The late Soviet Armed Forces were manned by mandatory draft (with some exceptions) for all able-bodied males for 2 years (3 years in the Navy), based on a 1967 law. A bi-annual call-up in spring and fall was introduced then, replacing the annual draft in fall. The conscripts were normally sent to serve far away from their place of residence.

Men were subject to draft at the age of 18. The draft could be postponed due to continued education.

Most universities had an obligatory Military Chair which were in charge of military training of all able-bodied male students to become reserve officers of a particular military specialty depending on the university.

Russian Federation[edit | edit source]

As of 2007, Russian Federation had a mandatory 12 months draft for men, but a significant portion of Russians of conscript age tries to avoid it, mostly because of specific code of violence which has developed in the army since 1970s called Dedovshchina and also pretty poor conditions in Russian Army, which makes large number of conscript-age Russian youth worry about their health or even lives while in the army. The most widely used ways to avoid the military service are:

  • Studying in a university or similar place. All full-time students are free from conscription, but they can be drafted after they graduate (or if they drop out). Graduated students serve one year as privates, but if they have a military education, they have the option to serve two years as officers. Persons who continue full-time postgraduate education, or have an academic degree (Candidate of Science, PhD, Doctor of Science) are not drafted.
  • Getting a medical certificate that shows that a person is unfit for service. Sometimes such certificates are false and can be made for a bribe.
  • Just not going to a draft station – draft-dodging. This sometimes can be a criminal offence, punishable by up to two years in prison. Russian police and military draft boards often perform conscription through detention [1].
  • A rarely used way is having more than two children, or one child younger than three years. The latter was dropped from the law in 2008.
  • There are other legal (described in the law) and illegal ways to evade the draft.

In Russia, a person can be conscripted at the age 18 – 27, i.e. a man can't be drafted after he turns twenty-seven.

In 2006, the Russian government and duma gradually reduced the term of service to 18 months for those who will be conscripted in 2007 and to one year from 2008 and to drop some legal excuses for non-conscription from the law (such as non-conscription of rural doctors and teachers, of men who have a child younger than 3 years, etc.) from 1 January 2008. Also full-time students graduated from civil university and have military education will be free from conscription from 1 January 2008.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Military service in Russia cut by half
  2. Army time cut to one year Russia Today Retrieved on April 28, 2008

External links[edit | edit source]

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