| 29 May 2024, Wednesday |

Russian lawmaker introduces bill pushing back conscription age

A prominent Russian politician unveiled a plan on Monday that would raise the age of conscription from the current 18–27 years to 21–30 years.

Just over a year into Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine, the measure was proposed by Andrei Kartapolov, a former general who chairs the State Duma’s defense committee and represents the ruling United Russia faction.

The conscription age will cover 10 or 11 years instead of the typical nine years during two transition years, 2024 and 2025, so the measure will temporarily increase the number of men liable to a year of mandatory service.

President Vladimir Putin gave his backing in December to Defense Ministry proposals to push back the age range.

The minister, Sergei Shoigu, plans to increase the total number of serving combat personnel – professional contract soldiers and conscripts – to 1.5 million from 1.15 million.

Conscripts cannot legally be deployed outside Russia. However, in September Moscow unilaterally annexed four Ukrainian regions where fighting is continuing, and now considers them Russian territory.

A surprise mobilization of at least 300,000 men last autumn for the war in Ukraine prompted a mass exodus of draft-age men from Russia, and also triggered public criticism over the seemingly chaotic way in which men were being called up.

Although Russia’s campaign in Ukraine appears to have stalled, the Kremlin has repeatedly denied planning any further mobilization.

Deferrals from military service are available on medical grounds, for university students, and for fathers of large families.

  • Reuters