Peculiarities of autumn conscription: number of contract servicemen to replace conscripts growing in Tatarstan

Why voluntary military service on a contract basis is becoming more popular

Peculiarities of autumn conscription: number of contract servicemen to replace conscripts growing in Tatarstan Photo: Oleg Tikhonov

The autumn recruitment campaign, which will last until the end of 2019, started on 1 October throughout Russia. The number of contract soldiers in the Russian army is growing, but the number of recruits is not becoming smaller: this is evidenced by the data of the new recruitment campaign in Tatarstan, announced by the chief enlistment officer of Tatarstan, Sergey Pogodin. Against the backdrop of toughening the conscription rules, contract service is becoming more popular in the region: to serve under contract for two years but avoid all the “great things” about compulsory military service. How to do this and other details of the new recruitment campaign — read in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

The army is becoming contract-based, but conscripts are not becoming less

It is planned to draft 132,000 people from across the country. If to compare with the figures for the last few years, we can see a decrease in the number of recruits, but on a federal scale — it is almost negligible. A year earlier, 132,500 people were drafted into the army, in 2017 — 134,000 people.

In Tatarstan, the plan is changing even towards a slight increase. Major-General Sergey Pogodin, the Tatarstan chief enlistment officer, told reporters that 3,484 people were drafted in the republic in the autumn of 2018, 3,321 people — in the spring of 2019, and about 3,500 people are to be drafted this autumn. About the same amount was drafted in the autumn of 2017.

At the same time, Pogodin states that the number of contractors in the Russian army is becoming more and more. Now their number is already exceeding the number of conscripts.

Pogodin states that the number of contractors in the Russian army is becoming more and more. Photo: Oleg Tikhonov

Compulsory military service is not going to go away

A couple of weeks ago, the next round of the “eternal” discussion about the possibility to cancel the compulsory conscription service in Russia was initiated by Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu in an interview with Moskovsky Komsomolets. Many media reprinted an excerpt from there with headlines like “Shoigu allows for the possibility of the abolition of conscription in Russian Army”, although he actually said the opposite.

“In principle, it is possible. But I do not think this decision is correct. I am absolutely convinced that we should have a certain number of conscripts in any case. In any sovereign state, in addition to active military professionals, there should be a mobilization reserve of citizens. Due to this reserve in the event of a threat of war, we can quickly strengthen the Armed Forces. For the formation of such reserve, military training of the male population can be arranged,” said Shoygu.

Sergey Pogodin agreed with every his word.

“The conscription service is necessary to create a mobilization reserve. So there will be the conscription. It is very well written there: each citizen has to be involved in the protection of the homeland,” Pogodin added.

Between compulsory military service and contract

However, not all of the current contractors were conscripts. Since the spring campaign of 2015, a conscript with higher or vocational special education has the opportunity to choose between one year of compulsory military service and two years of contract service. This possibility is not concealed in the military enlistment offices, on the contrary — the recruit with the appropriate education before sending to the troops for military service is several times offered to sign a contract.

In recent years, the recruitment campaign has focused on people with higher education, and the rules of recruitment have been consistently tightened. Photo: Oleg Tikhonov

This opportunity, according to Pogodin, is now gaining popularity. In 2018, about 200 people took advantage of this measure, and the same number chose the contract from the beginning of 2019. Despite the fact that in recent years the recruitment campaign has been focused on people with higher education, and the rules of conscription are consistently tightened — for recruits it is a convenient opportunity to avoid all the “delights” of compulsory conscription.

For the recruit, the difference is obvious: such contract serviceman will go home every day after service, he will have days off and holidays, which duration is more than of a civilian. Instead of the monetary allowance of the soldier-conscript of 2,000 rubles, he will receive not less than 24,000 rubles a month — this sum was cited as the size of the monetary allowance of the contractor for an ordinary position without seniority and the account of various allowances.

When applying for contract service, it is possible to choose the place of service from the proposed enlistment options. Such options may well be away from home, perhaps in another region. However, the newly-made contractor is partially compensated for the cost of rental housing, as well as the cost of travel to the place of vacation.

There is also another new introduction: this draft campaign, people entitled to a deferment or exemption from conscription, can write a statement and still go to serve. Photo: Oleg Tikhonov

However, there is a life hack that will help manage their own admission to the contract service. The receipt of the contract they can start right outside the gates of the military unit in which the future contractor plans to take the service. If they agree, he gets the so-called “letter of request” — the document with which the person goes to the military. And then his further receipt on the contract will be aimed already this unit. Personal familiarity with officers of this unit can help there, but sometimes (especially in case shortage in the unit), it is just enough to come to the checkpoint and say: “I have an education, I want to serve there on a contract.”

There is also another new introduction: this draft campaign, people entitled to a deferment or exemption from conscription, can write a statement and still go to serve.

By Alexander Artemyev
Tatarstan