THE ALTERNATIVE CIVILIAN SERVICE HAS DEPARTED THIS LIFE

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Sources in the Defense Ministry state that the alternative civilian service is not popular among recruits. The government forecasted before the implementation of the alternative civilian service on January, 2004 that around 10,000 recruits would choose the alternative civilian service. In reality, only several hundreds of volunteers chose it. There were only 257 such people in 2005, and around 100 of them evaded the alternative civilian service. To date, around 200 people have evaded the alternative civilian service. All of them are wanted by police.

The source noted that the evaders have lost all recruitment deferrals. He said: “All evaders will be sent to the Army if they are found.” The Defense Ministry notes that the number of people who want to choose the alternative civilian service decreases every year. There will be only 150 volunteers in 2006. This is only 0.1% of all young people who will be called up to the Army this spring.

According to the law, citizens have the right to submit applications twice a year. People who must be called-up in October-December must submit applications until April 1. Those who must go to the Army in April-June of the next year must submit applications until October 1.

However, many young people do not use their right. Part of people who submit applications evade the alternative civilian service.

The duration of the alternative civilian service is by 50% longer than the duration of military service (36 months for ordinary citizens and 18 months for people with higher education). The length of the alternative service will be halved from January 1, 2008.

Another reason why young men seek to evade the alternative civilian service is linked with the fact that recruits are not afraid of Russian laws and responsibility for evasion of the alternative service. It’s high time for the state to step up responsibility for evasion of the alternative service. For instance, evaders could be fined for tidy sums. Taking into account the fact that only a few people have been punished for evasion of military service and the alternative civilian service, the legal nihilism of Russian young people will not be rooted out for a long time.

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