- Russia wants to close dodgy recruiting loopholes
- Call sheets will be delivered electronically
- This step will help future moves in Ukraine
- Parliament rushes through the changes
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia is preparing to submit draft electronic military papers for the first time in its history in a bid to make it harder for men to avoid being drafted after the lower house of parliament gave its support to legislation on conscription. Tuesday.
The move is part of a broader push by Moscow to perfect a system it has used to bolster its military forces in Ukraine, though government officials say there are currently no plans to force more men to fight in Ukraine as Moscow has suffered tens of thousands of them. victims, according to Western officials.
The draft new order would close many of the loopholes exploited by draft dodgers and give Russia the organizational infrastructure to conduct a more comprehensive and far-reaching mobilization campaign if and when it decides to do so.
The new rules will also apply to Russia’s twice-yearly conscription campaigns for men between the ages of 18 and 27.
The State Duma, the lower house, approved the necessary legislation in two separate lightning-fast votes on Tuesday with a near unanimous vote.
Some lawmakers have complained that the changes were rushed through without giving them enough time to scrutinize the changes. Some senior pro-Kremlin lawmakers have criticized them for little public opposition.
The changes still need to be approved by the upper house of parliament – which is also expected to vote in favor by a large margin – and by President Vladimir Putin, before they take effect. Both steps are expected to be implemented in the coming days.
Russia says it mobilized just over 300,000 men last year to help it prosecute what it calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine, but is now focusing on trying to recruit professional volunteer soldiers through an advertising campaign.
“We need to improve and modernize the military recall system,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a news briefing on Tuesday before the vote.
The initial decision to introduce mobilization for the first time since World War II prompted tens of thousands of military-age men to flee abroad, while some protests broke out – and were quickly suppressed – in several Russian cities.
No second filling
Peskov dismissed suggestions that the digitization plans might spark another wave of panic and emigration among young Russians eager to avoid having to fight in Ukraine.
“(This plan) is not linked to mobilization,” he said, repeating earlier assurances that there were no plans for a second wave of mobilization.
Under the current system, men targeted by military recruiters are handed paper summons by hand at their registered addresses or places of work which they have to sign in person.
Recruiters sometimes struggled to turn in paperwork and see if they had the correct address for subscribers.
Under the new proposals, summonses will be sent electronically to the potential recruit’s personal account on the main government portal. It will be deemed delivered once it has been delivered electronically.
Under the legislation, citizens who do not show up at the military enlistment office will automatically be barred from traveling abroad and face a host of other restrictions to complicate their lives within Russia.
The Kremlin vowed last year to fix “mistakes” in its initial mobilization campaign that saw men ineligible for conscription because of age or medical conditions called up to fight in Ukraine.
(Reporting by Andrew Osborne and Philip Lebedev); Additional reporting by Caleb Davis; Editing by Angus McSwan and Jonathan Otis
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