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27 Mar, 2015 10:18

Draft dodgers to be banned from top posts in govt, courts

Draft dodgers to be banned from top posts in govt, courts

An Upper House lawmaker says very soon Russia will introduce a law banning draft dodgers from becoming government ministers, judges and prosecutors.

Senator Viktor Ozerov (Khabarovsk Region), who shared this forecast with reporters, currently chairs the Defense and Security Committee in the Federation Council.

Very soon we will pass the law that would preclude draft dodgers from assuming high posts in the government in the future. These are posts of ministers and also judges and prosecutors. All candidates for such positions would be strictly required to have military service in their CVs,” Ozerov said.

In early 2014, Russia introduced amendments that forbid all state and municipal bodies from employing people convicted of illegally evading military service. However, the law was contested by lawmakers from the Chechen Republic and in October 2014 the Constitutional Court ruled to overturn it and ordered the Federal Parliament get rid of several legal contradictions.

READ MORE: Career Opportunities: Draft dodgers face civil service lockout

Earlier this month the State Duma Committee for Defense approved the bill that, if passed, would ban persistent draft dodgers from any work in civil service for five years. The same bill bans such people from leaving Russia for the same period of time.

Within the framework of the ongoing military reform Russia has moved from two years to one year of compulsory conscription and took other steps to make military service more attractive to young people, such as setting up special “science companies” that allowed gifted soldiers to perform scientific work for the defense sector.

However, the problem of draft dodging remains and the military are still in great need of new conscripts. In late 2012 Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said that the under-manning in some units had reached from 40 to 60 percent. And in December 2014, Chief of General Staff General Valery Gerasimov told reporters that the average under-manning in the forces was about 10 percent.

This week President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on new military draft according to which conscription offices throughout the country must summon about 150,000 people to military service.

All male citizens aged 18-27 are subject to military service, but exemptions are provided for health and family reasons. Members of federal and regional legislatures receive official deferment from the draft. Ideological or religious pacifists can take alternative civilian service, but that term is twice as long as regular military service. Deliberate evading of the draft is a criminal offence punishable by up to two years in prison.