THE ALTERNATIVE CIVILIAN SERVICE TO BE CLOSER TO VOLUNTEERS’ HOMES

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As is known, the autumn call-up began in Russia on October 1. In this regard, the country again raised the problems of the Army and the Navy. Generals, politicians and defenders of human rights discuss the necessity of improving the mechanism of the alternative civilian service. Sources in the Duma state that Pavel Krasheninnikov, head of the Duma legislation committee, submitted the bill aimed at implementing the territorial principle of the alternative civilian service (volunteers will serve in their home regions). According to the law on the alternative civilian service, citizens do their duty beyond their home regions. Krasheninnikov recently told journalists: “Experience shows that the exterritorial principle is artificial and unreasonable.” According to him, it’s unprofitable for organizations in which volunteers will work and the state, which it will have to spend extra money on sending volunteers to other regions and providing housing to them. Politicians have repeatedly announced such proposals. However, the Defense Ministry and the General Staff opposed them because this would allegedly undermine the principle of social justice (why should volunteers work near their homes while soldiers serve far from their relatives?). Secondly, the military probably feared that the number of volunteers would be substantial. As is known, there are no many volunteers. Coolonel-General Vasily Smirnov, Chief of the Central Mobilization-Organizational Department of the Genera; Staff, said that only 854 people chose an alternative military service in 2005. The call-up commission passed 547 positive decisions. Ass a result, 135 volunteers chose the alternative service; 58 people evaded the alternative service.

He noted that 1,800 applications were submitted in 2004; 1,275 of them were approved. Only 401 people became volunteers. The remaining received recruitment deferrals or evaded (107 people) the alternative service. In other words, we see that the number of people who want to choose the alternative civilian service has halved since 2004.

This situation is an advantage for the Defense Ministry because the number of draftees increases. The Army lacks servicemen. In addition, many citizens evade military service. Vasily Smirnov said that 15,000 people refused to join the Army in spring. This means that every tenth recruit evades military service. In the meantime, there were 44,000 evaders in 1999.

The general said that the Defense Ministry considers this problem as being very topical. Smirnov noted: “At present the General Staff and military registration and enlistment offices try to cut the number of evaders of military service.”

Police and local government bodies hunt for evaders because they are in charge of ensuring the sufficient number of recruits. In addition, prosecutors start many criminal cases against evaders of military service. The current system makes it difficult to evade military service. In addition, the leadership seeks to cancel the majority of recruitment deferrals.

As far as the system of the alternative civilian service is concerned, it’s hardly likely that it will change. Over 50% of lawmakers support the Defense Ministry. This is why it’s hardly likely that Pavel Krasheninnikov”s idea will be supported.

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