Foreign Legion: Contactors from abroad allowed to serve in Russian army

RIA Novosti / Alexandr Kryazhev
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree which lets foreign citizens serve in the Russian army as contractors.

“Military men, who are foreign citizens, can participate in carrying out the tasks during military situations, and also during armed conflicts, in accordance with admitted principles and norms of international law, international treaties of the Russian Federation, and the Russian legislation,” the decree said.

There are a few exceptions to the rule, though: a foreign citizen who is under investigation or facing trial, has a criminal record, or has served prison time cannot be a hired gun in Russia’s army.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (AFP Photo / Alexander Nemenov)

Also, the decree recognized the Ukrainian military service for Russian citizens living in Crimea “upon presenting the originals of documents”, which confirm the service.

The president’s website doesn’t list the document, but the state legal information page has published it.

The traditional autumn draft was finished just before the New Year, and 154,000 recruits have joined the Russian army.

As for other countries where similar legislation applies, the French Foreign Legion stands out. It has existed since 1831, and is exclusive, as it offers foreign volunteers an opportunity to serve in the French Army.