MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia is preparing to submit draft electronic military papers for the first time in its history in a bid to make it harder for men to avoid conscription as it seeks to improve a system it has used to shore up its military. Military forces of Ukraine.
The move — which would require a change in law — is set to be considered by the Duma, the lower house of parliament, in a session on Tuesday, though government officials say there are currently no plans to force more men to fight in Ukraine.
Russia says it mobilized just over 300,000 men last year to help it prosecute what it calls its “special military operation”, but is now focusing on trying to recruit professional volunteer soldiers through an advertising campaign.
“We need to improve and modernize the military recall system,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a regular news briefing on Tuesday, in which he also cited “problems” it encountered last year with the mobilization campaign.
The initial decision to introduce mobilization for the first time since World War II prompted tens of thousands of military-age men to flee abroad, while some protests broke out – and were quickly suppressed – in several Russian cities.
No second filling
Peskov dismissed suggestions that the digitization plans might spark another wave of panic and emigration among young Russians eager to avoid having to fight in Ukraine.
“(This plan) is not linked to mobilization,” he said, repeating earlier assurances that there were no plans for a second wave of mobilization.
Under the current system, men targeted by military recruiters are mailed paper summonses to their registered addresses.
Recruiters sometimes struggled to confirm whether or not the summons had been received or if they had the correct address for the subscriber.
Under the new proposals, summonses will be sent electronically to the potential recruit’s personal account on the main government portal. It will be deemed delivered once it has been delivered electronically.
Once the electronic summons is received, under the legislation, citizens who do not show up at the military enlistment office will be automatically banned from traveling abroad.
“The summons is considered received from the moment it is placed in the personal account of a person responsible for military service,” Andrei Kartapolov, head of the Russian parliament’s defense committee, said in televised remarks.
The Kremlin vowed last year to fix “mistakes” in its initial mobilization campaign that saw men ineligible for conscription because of age or medical conditions called up to fight in Ukraine.
(Reporting by Andrew Osborne and Caleb Davis) Editing by Gareth Jones and Andrew Osborne
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