Russian military’s spring draft shaped by demography and economics

Military draftees in Russia


International, More

The declining size of the prime draft age cohort in Russia everywhere except in Muslim areas and the continuing economic crisis are pushing Moscow toward a more professional and less draft-based military, experts say; but the country’s size and foreign policy priorities mean that there are currently no serious plans to do away with the draft.

An article in the current issue of Kommersant-Vlast by Aleksandra Dzhordzhevich and Anastasiya Kurilova surveys these problems now that Vladimir Putin has announced a spring draft quota of 142,000 and an expansion in the size of the Russian military to a level near where it was at the end of Soviet times.

This half-year draft figure is approximately half of what it was in 2000, a shortfall that has been largely made up by an increase in the number of those volunteering to serve as “contract,” that is, professional, soldiers. Some are making this choice because of the absence of work in the civilian sector; others because of an upsurge in patriotism, experts say.

There are three changes in this round of the Russian draft from last fall’s. First, deferments have been restored to those studying in technicums [technical colleges – Ed.]. Second, young men in occupied Crimea will be drafted. And third, the Russian Far North will now be subject to a military draft only once a year, not twice as elsewhere.

Valentina Melnikova, the head of the Soldiers’ Mothers Committee, says that problems with the draft itself after declining in the 2000s have increased again since 2012-2013, with “the main problem” being “the health of the new draftees.” Many young men are being taken because their “documented” health does not reflect the real situation.

Given the economy, this situation must be corrected, she continues, because each month that a draftee has to spend in hospital because of ill health costs the government approximately 100,000 rubles (1,800 US dollars) not counting any operations or other medical procedures that must be carried out.

Many young men and their families are worried that draftees will be sent into combat situations even though Russian law says this will not happen. At the same time, many wonder whether the government will eventually raise the upper age limit at which they can be drafted or change the length of service at some point.

The Russian military’s increasing reliance on professional soldiers has other consequences, some good like a reduction in dedovshchina among them, as shown by the positive changes in those units where professionals have replaced draftees and some less so, because young men with more education are more resistant to integration into the services.

The situation in the North Caucasus is particularly fraught now that Moscow is increasing draft quotas there after drafting only very few or none at all in some places (in Chechnya in particular) for most of the last two decades. But there are still far fewer men from the North Caucasus being drafted than in neighboring Russian regions with far smaller draft-age cohorts.

For example, during last fall’s draft, 500 men were drafted in Chechnya, 300 in Ingushetia, and more than 4,000 in Rostov oblast. To the extent that happens again, there is likely to be anger among both the North Caucasians and the Russians.

The North Caucasians are likely to be upset because without military service, young men cannot hope to serve in the force structures, a major employer in that region and elsewhere as well; and the Russians are certain to be upset because they are paying a higher “tax” than Muslims, the result of the reluctance of many officers to have too many Muslims in their units.



Edited by: A. N.

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  1. Avatar Alex George says:

    So Russian officers don’t want Muslims from the Caucasus in their units. Very few are being conscripted. In a way, I can understand that.

    But then, you have a large number of Muslim young men with little to do, and their employment prospects decreased because of lack of basic training. Such men will become easy targets for extremist recruiters. Apparently ISIS has now launched a russian-language website.

    1. Avatar veth says:

      Israel may buy over 2,500 tonnes of Ukrainian beef per month Israel is interested in Ukrainian beef imports and is mulling over the possibility of buying over 2,500 tonnes of such meat per month, according to the Ukrainian Agrarian Policy and Food Ministry’s press service.

      Read more on UNIAN:

      Just chopped meat of dead Russian soldiers……………………

    2. Avatar Andrew Chmile says:

      GO AWAY FILTHY ***LYING*** RUKI ***MOLE*** “Alex George” SCUM!!!

  2. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

    Die for Putin. What a deal.

    1. Avatar veth says:


      1. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

        It is very suspicious.

      2. Avatar Dagwood Bumstead says:

        Exactly what I thought. As with Pedo Putolini’s apartment bombings in 1999, the attention of the people of Dwarfstan is diverted to external enemies, real or imagined, by an FSB bomb attack.
        But since over 85% of the Dwarfstanians support the dwarf, he has statistically killed 8-9 supporters in St. Petersburg yesterday.

        Chechens, IS or the SBU will be blamed of course.

        1. Avatar Tchitcherine says:

          I think it’s rather unlikely it was the FSB in this case. From what I’ve read, the bomb was hidden in a briefcase and weigh about two kilograms, but only had an explosive yield equal to 200-300 grams of TNT. Considering it killed only 14 (just read), and the enclosed environment probably packed with people (subway wagon), it was a rather badly designed bomb. So it was probably a low explosive, gunpowder or similar. The FSB would use more advanced materials, and kill not 10 or 14 people, but a hundred.

          1. Avatar Dagwood Bumstead says:

            The FSB used heavy stuff when they blew up apartment buildings in Moscow and other cities in 1999 causing hundreds of dead. The Chechens were quickly blamed without a shred of evidence.
            For an underground train you don’t need a big bomb to cause casualties. The carriages are all separate (no walking through the train from nose to tail) which would limit the casualties to those on the wagon where the explosion occurred. 14 dead and over 40 wounded to varying degrees plus those uninjured suggests less than 100 in the wagon which is probably normal for a train outside rush hours.
            The FSB are quick to blame someone who may simply have been an innocent victim, which makes “sense”. The dwarf needs something to distract from the country’s massive internal problems plus the demonstrations against the corruption of Medvedev and himself. But once the initial shock of the bombing wears off I suspect the protests against the country’s corruption will continue.

    2. Avatar Andrew Chmile says:

      “Turtler” is ANOTHER Ruski ***MOLE*** — check out our (along with his own kind) “exchange” for proof if you wanna….

      They are using MOLES more it seems…. interesting! 🙂

      1. Avatar MichaelA says:

        You are Russian
        You try to get supporters of Ukraine arguing with each other
        You attack some Ukraine supporters and praise others in order to get them to fight
        You did the same thing on Kyiv Post until Brian banned you

      1. Avatar Alex George says:

        Great article Veth, thank you. The Ukrainian economy continues to grow despite all Russia’s aggression against it.

    3. Avatar Alex George says:

      The Russians seem to work on the basis that continual persecution and mistreatment of their strong muslim minority will make them loyal to the Kremlin. Yeah right….

      1. Avatar Dagwood Bumstead says:

        It works with Dwarfstanians- the more their leaders beat them, the more those leaders are worshipped. It’s no coincidence that Ivan the Terrible and Stalin are held in such high regard, Dwarfstanians must be masochists, there’s no other logical explanation.
        So it’s not completely illogical for the dwarf to believe that using terror on the Muslim minorities will work just as well.

    1. Avatar Dagwood Bumstead says:

      Note “without Russian components”. Antonov said that they would end the use of Dwarfstanian components by the end of 2017, and they are apparently ahead of target. This will hurt Dwarfstan’s aero industry through fewer orders and revenue, its workers through job losses and ultimately Dwarfstan itself. Pedo Putolini has shot himself in the foot yet again.