Russia to Offer Conscripts Two Year Professional Service Option

Russia to Offer Conscripts Two Year Professional Service Option
# 22 November 2013 04:32 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Russia’s Defense Ministry has proposed offering conscripts the choice of two years professional military service instead of the existing one year of mandatory service, a media report said Thursday, in a bid to increase the number of full-time soldiers, APA reports quoting RIA Novosti.

The ministry has drafted the bill offering conscripts a choice between a year as conscripts or two as professional soldiers, Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Pankov said, Kommersant business daily reported on Wednesday.

The new proposal, reportedly already submitted to the Cabinet, aims to help the army boost the ranks of contract soldiers in the next three years.

Under existing legislation, Russian men aged between 18 and 27 are obliged to serve a year in the army, that is often criticized by the human rights groups for its allegedly harsh conditions and hazing. A high proportion of those potentially eligible to be called up avoid service with legal or medical exemptions or draft-dodging.

Having completed their service, conscripts can choose to continue their military service as professional contract soldiers.

The Russian Armed Forces are in the midst of a major reorganization and re-equipment program that includes a transition to an all-professional force structure. The government plans to boost the number of professional soldiers from the current 205,000 to 425,000 people by 2017.

However, the move to an all-professional force has been hamstrung by the reluctance of many young men to serve for low pay and poor conditions, and the diminishing number of young men available due to Russia’s demographic crisis.

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THE OPERATION IS BEING PERFORMED