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Service Eligible Population

The country struggled in recent years to fulfil quotas for conscripts due to widespread draft dodging and a scarcity of eligible young men, following a collapse in the birth rate during the turbulent 1990s. The military needed to enroll about 300,000 men during each draft to keep the number of army personnel at the required level of 1 million. According to official data, as of early 2014 the strength of the Russian Armed Forces was estimated at 774,500 personnel, including 220,000 officers and about 200,000 contracted soldiers.

The release of almost 135 thousand draftees from military service is associated with heart disease and endocrine diseases caused by poor nutrition. This was reported on 23 January 2019 by the press service of the Ministry. "Exemption from military service is associated with malnutrition problems that can cause not only obesity, but also, for example, cardiovascular diseases or diabetes," the report said. Earlier on Wednesday, it was reported that at the meeting of the factional group "United Russia", the head of Rospotrebnadzor, Anna Popova, said that each year about 135 thousand recruits do not go into the army for medical withdrawals due to diseases related to malnutrition.

These numbers seem to contradict the 12 December 2018 the head of the General Organization and Mobilization Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Lieutenant-General Yevgeny Burdinsky. He said that about 80% of young people drafted into the ranks of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in the autumn of 2018 are considered fit for military service for health reasons, which exceeds the 2017 fall draft in 2017, said on . "The indicator of citizens' fitness for military service for health reasons is more than 79% and exceeds the indicator of fitness for the autumn draft of 2017 (78.6%)," said Burdinsky at a briefing on the preliminary results of the autumn draft campaign of 2018 before sending military personnel to scientific companies and personal reception of citizens at the assembly point of Moscow.

Russia has no conscript-age young men left to recruit, Russia's chief of the General Staff complained 17 November 2011. The current conscript service crisis in the Russian Armed Forces was mainly due to demographic decline, bullying and brutal treatment of conscripts. General Nikolai Makarov said only 11.7% of young men aged 18-27 were eligible for the army service but 60% of them had health problems and could not be drafted under law. "We now have a situation when there is virtually nobody left to draft," Makarov said. "It is a serious problem and I make no bones about it." Many young people have been known to fake medical documents or even start a family in order to avoid the 12-month compulsory service in the army. The crisis in the consript service has led the Defense Ministry to halve the number of conscripts in the autumn 2011 draft period. It would recruit 135,850 young men instead of 250-300,000, as was planned in spring. The effect of the 1990s demographic crisis is expected to reach its peak in 2014, experts said.

Not the number of conscripts, but the health of the young men called up for military service was a problem. The medical health of conscripts was at an all time low and is declining still further. While at the end of 2007 the percentage of suitable recruits was 70.4%, by the end of 2009 it was already down to 68.4%. The lowest suitability percentage for recruits at the end of 2009 was observed in the Siberian (65.2%) and Moscow (66.9%) Military Districts, and the highest was in the North Caucasian (72.6%) and the Far Eastern (72.2%) Military Districts.

"Compared with 2011 the number of citizens, found fit for military service, increased by more than 8% and currently stands at about 77%. Positive dynamics is due to the increase in the number of young people leading a healthy lifestyle, as well as improving the identification work and prevention of diseases in pre-conscription youth " according to Chief of the Main Organization and Mobilization Directorate (Mobilization) General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Colonel-General Vasily Tonkoshkurov, speaking 31 March 2016.

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Page last modified: 24-01-2019 19:02:06 ZULU