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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian military claims draft evasion on rise, blames court system

RIA Novosti


MOSCOW, April 1 (RIA Novosti) - The number of Russian conscripts evading military service has significantly increased while the courts refuse to bring them to justice, a deputy chief of the General Staff said on Thursday.

Some 270,000 conscripts are expected to be called up during this spring's draft that starts on April 1. Just more than 271,000 conscripts joined the armed forces during the fall draft, while some 305,000 people were drafted in spring 2009.

The overall number of those evading military service rose by more than 12,000 last fall compared with the fall of 2008, Col. Gen. Vasily Smirnov said, adding that only 25 people were convicted for dodging the draft.

"Investigators in most cases deny requests by military commissariats to start criminal proceedings due to lack of evidence," Smirnov said.

The general said a thorough investigation is ongoing. Smirnov also blamed doctors for giving invalid medical evaluations that document a conscript could not be drafted because of poor health. More than 24% of these types of medical reports were declared invalid after the fall draft, he said.

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