Russian Federation

Campaigning for Alternative Service in Russia

Young people at a youth activists' meeting co-organised by Citizen.Army.Law on 21st September (International Day of Peace) 2012 (credit: European Bureau for Conscientious Objection)Young people at a youth activists' meeting co-organised by Citizen.Army.Law on 21st September (International Day of Peace) 2012 (credit: European Bureau for Conscientious Objection)Return to Conscientious Objection: A Practical Companion for Movements

Alena Karaliova is a human rights lawyer.  In 2012, she started working on the protection of the rights of conscripts, both those doing military service and those doing alternative civilian service.  Her main spheres of activity are in providing legal and assistance; carrying out legal and comparative analysis of regulatory legal acts relating to conscription, military service and alternative service; and interacting with international human rights organisations.  Writing here, she gives us an overview of the campaign for alternative service in Russia.    

In Russia: men from the age of 18 to 27 are subject to conscription if they are considered to be in ‘good health’.  This lasts for one year, with only one day off per week and no vacation.  Usually, only a third of all men of conscription age are actually conscripted (a third cannot serve due to bad health and a third are not conscripted at all because there is no need).

Missing solidarity for Ukraine

Björn Kunter

Russian Propaganda and the international Peace Movement

The freedom movement in Ukraine has received a lot of international attention during the Euromaidan events, but just very limited international support. Instead, it fell victim to an international defamation wave. This can partly be explained by failures of the movement, as some protesters turned violent and the movement failed to denounce itself from right wing elements. But more importantly the international peace movement, especially in Europe, must realize that it has been targeted by a massive propaganda campaign as part of Russia's hybrid warfare. Instincts from the cold war as a distrust of official media and empathy toward the Kremlin's interests, have been a fertile ground for the seeds of hate and desolidarisation with Ukrainian democracy and human rights activists.

Russia to Draft Chechen Youth for First Time in 20 Years & Threatens to Imprison Lithuanian Draft Evader

Young men from Chechnya are being drafted into Russia's armed forces for the first time in 20 years. Chechen youth stopped being drafted to the Russian Army in late 1994, when the Kremlin sent the military into Chechnya to try to crush its separatist leadership. Some are claiming the lack of recruitment in the North Caucasus since then was 'discriminatory' against Chechen youth who wanted to defend the Russian 'homeland' of which they are citizens, and that the move to start recruiting them again is therefore progressive, a sign of 'political success' and inclusivity, though it cannot be denied that Russia's shrinking population and other problems are leading to a shortfall in army recruitment.

Meanwhile the Russian government are threatening to imprison a Lithuanian who left the Sovietarmy in 1990, after Lithuania declared independence from Russia. As a response, the Lithuanian State Security Department has advised the 1500+ Lithuanians who refused military service after 1990 not to travel to Russia.

Sources:

The Times, Russian threatens to jail hundreds of Lithuanians, 10 September 2014

 Russian News Agency

Russian News Agency

Jamestown Foundation

Russia: Government suggests barring military draft dodgers from civil service jobs

The Russian government has submitted to the State Duma a bill suggesting that military draft dodgers should be barred from civil service jobs. The bill amends "certain legislative acts of Russia for building up the prestige and attractiveness of military service by conscription."

A briefing note published on the government website said that citizens who had served in the Armed Forces by conscription would enjoy preferences in recruitment for civil service jobs and inclusion in administrative reserves.

Russia trying to lure conscripts with new benefits

Faced with a high rate of draft evasion, Russia's military is trying to lure conscripts with new benefits, RIA Novosti reports. According to RIA Novosti, the government is considering to provide former conscripts with free training for university entrance exams, and grants for university graduates who are former conscripts to continue their education in Russian and foreign business schools. In addition, former conscripts will receive benefits when entering the state's civil service.

Russia discourages conscientious objectors: activist

Russia is discouraging requests from conscientious objectors to swap compulsory military service for stints of alternative service, a rights activist complained Monday.

"The main problem is that following the strategy of the General Staff the government is doing all it can to torpedo everything that concerns citizens' rights to alternative service," said Sergei Sorokin, a member of the Moscow Helsinki Group.

"The government is doing all it can not to let this happen," Sorokin told reporters. "Hundreds of thousands of people are fighting for this right."

Russia: No money, no professional army, says Russian Defense Minister

http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90777/90853/6992316.html

10:46, May 20, 2010

Russia can not afford to change its conscription-based military system for a contract one, Defense Minister Anatoli Serdyukov said Wednesday.

Serdyukov criticized underfinancing of the army and a shortage of conscripts, local media reported.

The Defense Ministry has been preparing a law that aims to toughen up the charges for attempts to avoid military service and to abolish the respites for university students.

Russia: draft resistance forces Russia to extend draft age

Faced with a declining number of men in the prime draft age group and increasing resistance even among them, the Russian defense ministry is calling for extending the length of time during which the spring draft will take place, drafting men as old as 30, reducing the number of deferments and bringing to justice those who illegally avoid service, Eurasia Review reported on 1 May 2010.

Civil service still not an alternative to army

RT, 4 May 2010

Civil service, as an alternative to obligatory army duty, has not been very popular in Russia. Not only is it hard to secure the right to opt out of military service, the decision is often met with mockery from peers.

But for many of those who have chosen menial work over conscription, there is no question whether the choice was worth it.

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