Russia overhauling military draft system

Russian military troops take part in a military drill on Sernovodsky polygon close to the Chechnya border, some 260 km from south Russian city of Stavropol, on March 19, 2015. About 500 soldiers take part in the military exercises until March 20. AFP PHOTO / SERGEY VENYAVSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEY VENYAVSKY/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo credit should read SERGEY VENYAVSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN Roy Francis
UPDATED 2:26 PM – Wednesday, April 12, 2023

The military draft system in Russia is set to be overhauled, making it “nearly impossible” to avoid military conscription.


On Tuesday, Russian lawmakers voted to implement an electronic draft system, moving on from the paper conscription that is in place.

Currently, Russian men are being served with paper conscription notices that are delivered in person at official addresses, or places of work. Recruiters had often struggled to deliver the papers, and some draftees would refuse to pick up notices from the recruiters.

However, the men who received the notices would be barred from leaving the country after they have received the notice until they appear at a military recruitment office.

The ones who fail to appear before a recruiter within 20 days of delivery, would face several restrictions, including a ban on driving any vehicle, selling or buying real estate, and obtaining any bank loans.

The new draft system, which could be implemented as soon as the end of this week, would apply to both draftees and reservists. It would also mean that a conscription notice would be considered delivered as soon as it is in a person’s account on the “Gosuslugi” portal, which serves as the Russian state portal for electronic services.

“The summons is considered received from the moment it is placed in the personal account of a person liable for military service,” Chairman of the Russian parliament defense committee, Andrei Kartapolov, said.

The changes made to the draft system gave the Kremlin a quicker and more streamlined system which would also close loopholes that thousands of Russians have utilized to dodge the draft when it was announced in 2022.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had announced partial mobilization in September 2022 as his forces in Ukraine began to struggle. The mobilization had caused protests thousands of Russian men who were of age to be conscripted to leave the country.

Those who remained, but were unwilling to fight in Ukraine had hid from authorities so they would not receive the notices. However, despite the resistance, approximately 300,000 men were drafted to fight in the war.

Sergei Shoigu, the Russian Defense Minister, vowed in October that there would be no more mobilization in the foreseeable future due to the major backlash. The Kremlin joined in with the Defense Minister claiming that a second mobilization would be highly unlikely.

Spokesman Dmitry Peskov claimed that the new legislation changes are merely a part of a wider effort in which the Russian government is modernizing it outdated system. He emphasized that the changes do not mean another mobilization effort.

“We need to perfect and modernize the military call-up system,” he said.

The new system was approved by the Russian upper House of Parliament on Wednesday, and now only needs Putin’s signature for it to become law, and go into effect.

A number of Russian lawyers have been sharing legal advice on Russian social media on how the Russian men can avoid getting drafted, many claiming that leaving the country before the new system goes into effect is the only real way to avoid it.

The Russian population is facing a second possible mobilization due to the stalling war effort in Ukraine. Russian defense officials have not reported the country’s death toll, however, Western officials have made the claims that the number is likely in the tens of thousands.

Russian military officials are now also facing the upcoming possible Ukrainian counter-offensive that will take place in the spring, which is also increasing the fear of a new mobilization.

The 2022 conscription order was the first time that Russia had carried out a military mobilization since World War II.

Men between the ages of 18 and 27 are eligible to receive military conscription in Russia, which is carried out twice a year.

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