Conscription in Russia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Conscription in Russia is a 12 month draft, mandatory for all male citizens age 18–27, with a number of exceptions. The mandatory term of service was reduced from 18 months at the beginning of 2008.[1][2]

History[edit]

Russian Empire and earlier times[edit]

Prior to Peter I, the bulk of the military was formed from the nobility and people who owned land on condition of service. During wars additional recruiting of volunteers and ordinary citizens was common. Peter I introduced a regular army consisting of the nobility and recruits, including conscripts. The conscripts to the Imperial Russian Army were called "recruits" in Russia (not to be confused with voluntary recruitment, which did not appear until the early 20th century).[3] The system was called "recruit obligation" (Russian: рекрутская повинность).

Russian tsars before Peter maintained professional hereditary musketeer corps (streltsy in Russian) that were highly unreliable and undisciplined. In times of war the armed forces were augmented by peasants. Peter I formed the Imperial Russian Army built on the German model, but with a new aspect: officers not necessarily from nobility, as talented commoners were given promotions that eventually included a noble title at the attainment of an officer's rank. Conscription of peasants and townspeople was based on quota system, per settlement. Initially it was based on the number of households, later it was based on the population numbers.[3]

The term of service in 18th century was for life. In 1793 it was reduced to 25 years. In 1834 it was reduced to 20 years plus 5 years in reserve and in 1855 to 12 years plus 3 years of reserve.[3][chronology citation needed]

After the Russian defeat in the Crimean War during the reign of Alexander II, the Minister of War Dmitry Milyutin introduced a military reform, with its draft presented in 1862. As part of the reform, on January 1, 1874 , the statute about conscription was approved by tsar by which the military service was made compulsory to all males of age 20 and the term was reduced for land army to 6 years plus 9 years in reserve. This conscription created a large pool of military reserve ready to be mobilized in the case of war, while permitting a smaller active army during the peace time.

Only sons were not regularly conscripted to the army.

Early Soviet Russia and Soviet Union[edit]

The first all-union conscription law of 1925 was tailored for the mixed cadre-militia structure of the peacetime Red Army after the Civil War. Draft-age was 21 years. Terms of service varied between one year in territorial formations and 2 to 4 years in the cadre army. Only "workers and peasants" were seen worthy to serve in combat units. Men of other social background were restricted to rear or labor services or had to pay a military tax.

The 1936 Soviet Constitution declared the military service "holy duty" of all male soviet citizens. Any reservations regarding social or national background were dropped. 1939 service law was promulgated with a lowered call-up age of 19 years. The Red army had adopted a full-cadre structure in the course of the 1930s.

During the Great Patriotic War (World War II) all able-bodied men of ages 18-51 were subject to draft with the exception of specialists declared vitally necessary in industry, which was revamped for military/defense production.

Post war demobilisation of the Soviet Armed Forces was completed in 1948. According to the 1949 service law, service terms were 3 years in ground forces and 4 years in the navy.

Late Soviet Union[edit]

The late Soviet Armed Forces were manned by mandatory draft (with some exceptions) for all able-bodied males for 2 years (3 years in the Navy), based on a 1967 law. A bi-annual call-up in spring and fall was introduced then, replacing the annual draft in fall. The conscripts were normally sent to serve far away from their place of residence.

Men were subject to draft at the age of 18. The draft could be postponed due to continued education.

Most universities had an obligatory Military Chair which were in charge of military training of all able-bodied male students to become reserve officers of a particular military specialty depending on the university.

Modern Russian Federation[edit]

The two-year conscription term in force since 1967 continued unchanged after the Soviet Union dissolved until the mid-2000s. In 2006, the Russian government and Duma gradually reduced the term of service to 18 months for those who will be conscripted in 2007 and to one year from 2008 and to drop some legal excuses for non-conscription from the law (such as non-conscription of rural doctors and teachers, of men who have a child younger than 3 years, etc.) from 1 January 2008. Also full-time students graduated from civil university and having military education will be free from conscription from 1 January 2008.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Military service in Russia cut by half
  2. ^ Army time cut to one year Russia Today Retrieved on April 28, 2008
  3. ^ a b c Jerome Blum (1971) "Lord and Peasant in Russia: From the Ninth to the Nineteenth Century", ISBN 0-691-00764-0, pp. 465,466

Further reading[edit]

  • "Russian Military Complains About 'Low Quality' of Recruits as Spring Draft Begins." Associated Press. April 1, 2005. (Via Levis-Nexis).

External links[edit]