Russia Moves To Introduce Electronic Military Draft


Russian lawmakers moved Tuesday to create an electronic military conscription system to try to thwart men from fleeing the country, as many did last year when they were called up to fight Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

The move was part of a push by Moscow to bolster its military forces in Ukraine during the second year of its war against its neighboring country, although government officials say they have no plans to force more men to fight in Ukraine through a new call-up.

Russia conscripted 300,000 men last year to fight in the war against Kyiv’s forces. But after learning of the draft, tens of thousands acted on short notice to flee their homeland before Russian authorities clamped down on the departures and street protests in multiple cities.

“We need to perfect and modernize the military call-up system,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a news briefing, in which he also recalled “problems” experienced last year with the mobilization campaign.

No-shows banned from travel abroad

Until now, draft notices had to be delivered in person. But recruiters sometimes struggled to deliver the papers or even to know if they had the right address for a draftee. Some would-be draftees managed to dodge the conscription orders by refusing to pick up the notices.

Under the new system, a summons would be sent electronically to a potential draftee’s personal account on the main government portal. The conscription notice would be considered delivered as soon as it has been sent, an effort to end the opportunity for men to flee.

Under the legislation, once the electronic summons is received, conscripts who fail to show up at the military enlistment office would be automatically banned from traveling abroad.

“The summons is considered received from the moment it is placed in the personal account of a person liable for military service,” Andrei Kartapolov, chairman of the Russian parliament’s defense committee, said in televised remarks.

Military service mandatory

The State Duma, Russia’s lower chamber, gave its backing to the necessary legislation in two separate votes. The bill next must be backed by senators and signed by President Vladimir Putin to become law.

Last year’s conscription order was the first military mobilization in Russia since World War II.

Military service for men between the ages of 18 and 27 is mandatory in Russia, with conscription carried out twice a year.


The VOA is the Voice of America

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