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Duma passes bill allowing short-term military contracts for counter-terrorism ops

Duma passes bill allowing short-term military contracts for counter-terrorism ops
The Russian State Duma has passed a bill that allows military specialists to be recruited on a short-term basis for counter-terrorism operations inside the country and abroad.

The text of the draft states that soldiers summoned on short-term contracts could be used for maintaining or restoring peace and security outside of Russia’s borders. The bill is applicable to active military and reserve servicemen, with the maximum term of contracts set at one year.

When the State Duma held the second reading of the bill on Wednesday, it canceled a part which ordered a three-month trial period for servicemen signing short-term military contracts. The third and final reading of the document was also held on Wednesday.

An explanatory note attached to the bill cited the need for better mobility of military forces and the ability to quickly form highly specialized units recruited on a short-term basis, due to the increased activities of international terrorist organizations.

The current Russian Law on Military Service allows for military contracts, but the length is set at two to five years.

The government explained that with the new bill, shorter contracts would help quickly mobilize forces for particular tasks, which is important in the rapidly-changing world.

Additionally, according to defense ministry estimates, many more professional soldiers are willing to prolong their contracts if the original ones are signed for shorter terms.

Russia has relied on universal conscription for military service for many decades, but this began to change following reforms launched in 2008. Mandatory service was cut from two years to one, and already by mid-2015, half of all Russian military personnel was serving on a contract basis: 300,000 non-commissioned personnel and 200,000 officers.