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Conscription History

A full-fledged regular army appeared in the Russian state under Tsar Peter I on the basis of a recruitment call, which included peasants, petty bourgeois and other taxable classes. Initially, in a decree of 1705, young people aged 15 to 20 were recruited. In 1708, the age range was raised to 20-30 years, and in 1726 the age limit was lifted. In 1766-1831, recruits were taken at the age of 17-35 years, in 1831-1855 - 20-25 years old, from 1855 - 20-30 years old.

On January 13 (January 1, old style), 1874, Emperor Alexander II approved the Charter on military service, abolishing recruitment and introducing all-class personal service. Young people of only one age were subject to being sent to the army every year - who by January 1 had turned full 20 years old. The legislation provided that the call was carried out by lot. For those who drew lots, but at the same time had the right to a deferment (for example, for health reasons or study), sending to the army was postponed: up to a maximum of 28 years for those studying in higher educational institutions.

In 1888, under Emperor Alexander III, the draft age was raised to 21. This rule continued until the outbreak of the First World War. In 1914-1917, people were drafted into the army from the age of 19.

Planned conscription in the conditions of the Civil War of 1917-1922 was not carried out in Russia. In the resolution of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee (VTsIK) "On forced recruitment into the Workers' and Peasants' Army" dated May 29, 1918, the mobilized ages were also not indicated.

After the end of the Civil War, the Soviet government resumed conscription. According to the decree of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and the Council of People's Commissars (SNK) of the RSFSR "On Compulsory Military Service for All Male Citizens of the RSFSR", the conscription system was left the same as in Tsarist Russia, including with a drawing of lots, but the draft age was lowered to 20 years. The Compulsory Military Service Act of September 18, 1925 brought that age back to 21.

The law of August 8, 1928 stipulated that citizens who for some reason did not complete military service before they reached the age of 30 could be enrolled in the reserve. In 1930, the institution of casting lots for military conscription in the USSR was abolished, the norm on conscription of only one age for military service was preserved. On August 11, 1936, a resolution was signed by the Central Executive Committee and the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR on lowering the draft age for active military service to 19 years (with a transitional period until 1940).

The USSR Law "On universal military duty" of September 1, 1939 regulated the conscription of citizens from the age of 19, but for those who graduated from high school - from the age of 18. At the same time, the provision on enrollment in the reserve without passing military service in the legislation disappeared.

After the end of the Great Patriotic War, in 1945-1949, conscription into the Armed Forces of the USSR was not carried out. Men of military age were sent for restoration work in territories affected by hostilities.

On October 12, 1967, the USSR law "On universal military duty" was adopted, which fixed the draft age at 18 and regulated that the draft could be carried out until the recruit reached the age of 27.

Similar terms (18-27 years) are preserved in the legislation of the Russian Federation: in the laws "On military duty and military service" of February 11, 1993 and March 28, 1998 (the latter is currently in force).

On December 21, 2022, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stated at the final board of the Ministry of Defense that the military department proposes to gradually increase the age of conscription of citizens from 18 to 21 years, and raise the age limit from 27 to 30 years.

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Page last modified: 27-03-2023 18:06:18 ZULU