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Military Service - Draft Evasion

For a number of objective and subjective reasons, the Defense Ministry experienced serious difficulties in calling up civilians for military service. Of the total number of conscription-age citizens on military lists, only 9.1% were conscripted in 2005 (compared to 27% in 1994). All the other potential conscripts were exempted from military service on lawful grounds, or had the right to deferments from conscription.

It is possible to avoid going into the army by signing up for Alternative Civilian Service (ACS) instead. During one draft campaign, an average of around 300 people apply for alternative service. For comparison, 150,000 young men are recruited to military service during the same period. They are not asked about preferences when a duty station is selected. They can be appointed to any public institution libraries, hospitals or public transport. The work of an alternative serviceman is no different from that of a usual employee: responsibilities, schedule, pay, vacation, sick leave. But for two years instead of one as in the military service they are tied to one place, without the possibility of changing position or profession.

In 2006, Ivanov said "We support reducing the number of grounds for exemption from military service and conscription deferments. At present there are 25 of them, and they can be divided into four basic groups: deferments for education, social reasons, employment reasons, and medical grounds. Some of the social deferments will be retained. All of the deferments for health reasons will be retained. I'd go even further: I support tightening health requirements for conscripts. As for deferments for employment reasons, I think there should be almost none of those - and the first steps toward abolishing them are already being taken. However, there won't be any sweeping abolition of grounds for exemption from military service or conscription deferments. I'd like to point out that we're only planning to abolish or change nine out of 25 grounds and deferments."

The General Staff reported in mid-March 2013 that more than 244,000 draft-age men dodged conscription in 2012. Some 8,794 Russian men received their call-up papers but did not show up at the recruitment office as required, which is a criminal offense that carries a prison term of up to two years under Russian law. In addition, some 235,800 men dodged the draft in 2012 by avoiding being handed their call-up papers, which is an administrative offense in Russia. Military officials are obliged to notify potential recruits that they are eligible for the draft as soon as they reach the age of 18. Many young men use falsified medical documents, notify the authorities they are still enrolled in higher education (those in higher education are exempt from the draft) or pay bribes to avoid the 12-month period of service. Potential draftees are eligible for conscription until the age of 27. Russia is forecast to have a falling number of potential draftees due to the country's aging demographic profile, with the lowest number of available recruits expected between 2016 and 2020.

The number of draft dodgers in 2015 compared with the previous year decreased by 22.5% - were less than 5 thousand people. According to head of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Mobilization, this is largely the result of positive changes in the attitude of society to the army. Thus, according to VTsIOM, the level of confidence in the armed forces has reached 82%, while the share of Russians who believe in the ability of the army to defend the country in case of a real threat, was 88%, the general recalled.

The number of Russians who evaded military service was reduced more than a quarter by the end of 2015. Defense Ministry attributed this to the active work of the centers of patriotic education, according to the chief of the Main Organization and Mobilization Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Colonel-General Vasily Tonkoshkurov. According Tonkoshkurova, 231 zonal center of patriotic education was established in Russia.

On 29 June 2016 Ostankino District Court of Moscow, under the claim of the metropolitan prosecutor's office, placed on a number of Internet sites with information promotes evasion of military service on a forbidden list. "Moscow Prosecutor's Office has made the judgment, aimed at curbing the spread of information online which promotes evasion of service in the Armed Forces and contains information about how to evade military service," - said the supervisory agency, noting that the court granted in full the requirements of the prosecutor's office. After the court decision comes into force, it would be sent to the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation.

More than 11,000 Russians were brought to administrative responsibility following the spring draft of 2018, most of them for failure to appear on the agenda without valid reasons, the deputy head of the second department of the Main Military Prosecutor's Office, Igor Kondratyev, said on 01 October 2018. "Over 11.5 thousand citizens were involved in the spring call for administrative responsibility, most of them for failure to appear on the agenda without valid reasons, evading medical examinations," he said at a press conference on the results of the spring draft and tasks for the autumn appeal of 2018. According to him, with respect to more than 80 people who tried to evade the draft and the service, the materials of the prosecutor's checks were sent to the investigative authorities to bring them to criminal liability. In a number of them, criminal cases have been opened and an investigation is underway, 37 citizens have been convicted.

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Page last modified: 02-10-2018 18:37:11 ZULU