Russian MP wants length of military service doubled
Russia сould extend the term of compulsory military service from one to two years, Viktor Bondarev, a senator who chairs the defense committee of the upper chamber of the parliament, has said.
Bondarev said that consultations on the topic would be held with the Defense Ministry. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that President Vladimir Putin’s administration has “no stance” on the issue.
Speaking to Russia’s RIA Novosti media outlet on Thursday, Bondarev said: “We absolutely need to introduce a two-year stint of military service.”
He explained that the twelve months that draftees must currently serve are not enough to become acquainted with modern weaponry.
The senator refused to specify a time frame for the proposed change to be implemented.
“I think all of this will be supported,” Bondarev concluded, arguing that “it’s life itself that is telling us that we must do it.”
Calls to extend compulsory military service have previously been made by other Russian lawmakers.
When asked for comment on the proposal, Peskov told journalists on Thursday that “the final say here should rest with the Defense Ministry.” He said that any changes should be dictated by the ministry’s needs, adding that it had not requested an extension of the current military service term.
“We see statements, read [them], but here we have no stance on this matter,” Peskov said.
The current one-year period of mandatory military service for draftees was introduced back in 2008 as part of a major reform of the Russian army instigated by the government.
The authorities were seeking to transition away from a conscript army to a professional one. For decades in the Soviet Union, and later in Russia, draftees were required to serve for two years in infantry units and three years in the Navy.