Spring Conscription in Russia

Recently, the Russian society was agitated with high-rank officers claims, for instance that by the General Staff Head N. Makarov on there being no reduction of conscription, it, on the contrary, growing up to the number, exceeding on average 350 thousand in each half of the year. 


And this concerns only Armed Forces. The demands of so-called "other forces" should not be neglected – they make about 100 thousand people in each half of the year. In total there must be more than 800 thousand conscripts in the RF military organization. According to the speaker, the number of contract soldiers may be reduced. 


The reasons for N. Makarov’s apprehension are stated in the interview in the newspaper "Armament, Industry, Conversion" No 7 from 24.02–2.03.2010. And such reasons are inevitable. They are the consequence of failure in FTP concerning transferring the military units of level readiness to contract. They were repeatedly noticed in IET surveys and multiple publications from the very first day on which the interested parties started to prepare the failure. We also addressed other, non-military reasons of social importance. Unfortunately, our calculations and forecasts turned out to be right. 

We would like to notice immediately two circumstances.

First: it is inadmissible for an army officer to advocate the decrease in the number of the contract soldiers. According to the Military doctrine of the Russian Federation, which has recently been adopted by the President Chief Commander (see paragraph 3 subparagraph "o") –the necessity to "improve the recruitment system … with a special emphasis of rank and file and sergeants recruitment…by militants serving in the armed force by contract". It is insubordination, which is a serious fault for an officer, to state the contrary. 

Second: N. Makarov’s ideas cannot be brought into life because of the demographic situation. The number of those born 18 years ago and entering the conscription age now, provided there were no deaths, makes 746 thousand. Next year there will be 669 thousand, and in 2012 – even less – 620 thousand. One third, as it is known form the previous experience, is not fit for the service due to health problems. Some adolescents on leaving school will enter military academies – this makes more than 3 thousand. A much larger part of young men will attend military chairs of prestigious higher educational institutions. And one should not forget that a large number of young men should substitute the leaving voluntary servicemen. And, finally, the conscription body accumulated earlier will disappear with such volumes of conscription.

Thus, the civil society does not need to fear the ideas worded by N. Makarov coming to life, but it should be ready to something else, since the commanders do not make the simplest arithmetic operations to justify the generals’ ideas, and the subordinates tell them whatever they want or need. And this includes the cases when they are lobbied by corrupt officials making a living from the citizens’ fear of conscription service and conscription itself, thus promoting corruption.

V.I. Tsymbal – Doctor of Technical Sciences, Head of the Department for Military Economics