Numerous threats to Russia’s defensive capacity force the government to restore the practice of summoning reservists for military assemblies.

The other day, The General Staff summed up the results of the spring draft campaign and military assemblies of reservists over the past year. As military representatives noted, the draft plan had been totally fulfilled; approximately 180,000 people were drafted in Russia. Also, several tens of thousands of reservists took refreshment courses. Thus, in early September 2000 the largest mobilization exercise in the past decade took place in the Leningrad Military District near the settlement of Strugi Krasnye, the Pskov Region. In all, up to 5,000 reservists were summoned for the exercise, along with 10,000 acting servicemen. On April 17, 2001, another mobilization exercise took place in the Tver Region. Finally, in July 2001 an inspection of several military units’ mobilization and combat readiness was organized in the Novgorod and Leningrad Regions. Reservists were trained in conducting battle and new tactics of Russian and foreign troops.

Representatives of the General Staff note that in future such exercises and assemblies will be regularly organized in Russia. When asked what mobilization assemblies are for, military chiefs said that such assemblies are one of the means of preparing citizens for military service. The system of this preparation is explained in detail. Assemblies of reservists should be organized for training and inspection purposes. They may also be organized for the purpose of inspecting combat and mobilization readiness of troops and citizens. According to law, reservists cannot be used for any other purposes.

When speaking about periods of time for which a Russian reservist may be summoned for military assemblies, a representative of the Defense Ministry said that “reservists to be assigned to military units will fulfill their duties during no more than ten days. And those who are to be summoned for refreshment courses in their military specialties will learn or refresh their knowledge for up to 60 days. (…) In addition, reservists may be summoned for training courses (…). The number of summons for such courses is unlimited.”

As for the sources of financing of such events, according to the General Staff, the state budget can provide only one-third of the needed sum. The money is distributed to three directions: preparation of specialists of the Russian Defensive Sports and Technical Society, officer training at military departments of universities, and assemblies per se. We should note that, owing to the poor financing of the military budget, local power bodies assist with assemblies. For instance, in the Siberian military district assemblies are organized with help of the administrations of the Tchita and Irkutsk Regions and the Krasnoyarsk Territory.

How will the Defense Ministry compensate for reservists’ forced absence from work? The military refers to the 1998 federal law on military service which establishes the order of financial provision of citizens on military duty.

This order is further explained by the government resolution of June 26, 1993 and amendments to it of February 26, 1999. These documents envision payment of allowance corresponding to a reservist’s post in the unit or organization of the Defense Ministry he is assigned to during the assembly and also payment of the rank allowance.

In addition, a reservist summoned for a military assembly will be paid an average wage at his workplace (no more than ten minimum wages). (…)

Thus, a well-adjusted system of citizens’ mobilization preparation and training has been created in Russia. As is known, such a system successfully functioned in the Soviet times. Now Russia uses the old blueprints to restore the system. NATO’s eastward expansion, the Chechen war, hot spots within the CIS, and terrorism force this country to care for its defensive capacity.