Shoigu proposed a Sharp Increase in the Russian Army and Raising the Conscription Age

Russia | December 21, 2022, Wednesday // 20:59|  views

Sergei Shoigu

The size of the Russian armed forces should reach 1.5 million people, and the age at which the call-up for conscription begins should be raised from 18 to 21.” This was stated by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to colleagues from the institution.

The change means that the full-time number of military personnel must increase by 350,000 people, since the number stipulated in the last presidential decree is 1,150,626 people. As well as the fact that the barracks will be entered three years later than before, but Russians up to the age of 30 will also be on call.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who earlier said at the same event that Russia is ready to provide whatever resources are needed to the military for the purposes of its war in Ukraine, agreed to the initiative. Putin made it clear that "detailed" discussions on the subject with Shoigu are yet to come.

This is not the first increase in the size of Russia's army since the beginning of the war in Ukraine. Putin already signed in April 2022 the addition of 137 thousand military personnel to the total number (to reach the 1.150 million in question), and the decree should come into force on January 1, 2023.

The enlistment age at which people should receive call-ups should be a maximum of 30 years; under current legislation, when they are sent at 18, the maximum is 27. Shoigu suggests allowing conscripts to sign a contract from day one. In his words, this should be possible "at the will of the citizens".

Shoigu's specific proposal is that of the 1.5 million military personnel, 695,000 should be on contract.

Two more military districts

The idea is being announced after the war in Ukraine has been going on for 300 days, and Russia has already gone through a mobilization of over 300,000 people. Some experts expect a second in early 2023.

In addition, Shoigu proposed the creation of two new military districts - Leningrad and Moscow - in response to the "expansion of the North Atlantic Alliance" with Finland and Sweden.

Currently, Russia has five districts - Western, Central, Southern, Eastern and Northern. Leningrad and Moscow districts existed until 2010.

The creation of these territorial associations will strengthen Russian army groupings in northwestern Russia and is necessary given "the growth of NATO's military potential close to Russia's borders."

It's all part of a vision to "improve the composition and structure" of the various types of armed forces and increase the high command's responsibility for preparation, he added.

Военните окръзи на Русия след последната трансформация от 2020 г., включваща и окупирания КримRussia's military districts after the latest transformation of 2020, including the occupied Crimea (map is Russian)

Difficult discussions

Shoigu and Putin commented on the state of the army and the proposals for reforming it before the collegium of the Ministry of Defense, which includes the minister and his deputies, the chief of the General Staff, the commanders of the individual general forces. Its annual meeting is attended by dozens of commanders, the leadership of the military academy and excellent cadets from military schools. Outside the defense system, Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Security Council to the President, ministers, the leaders of both houses of the parliament and the Moscow Patriarch were invited.

In addition to the difficulties of the Russian army in the war in Ukraine, various institutions have come out in recent months with various proposals for what to change.

This is how Shoigu's proposal sounds at a time when the discussions on the subject cause mixed signals in the Russian public space. This autumn, Russian MPs started debates on increasing conscription from one year to two, but the business publication Vedomosti wrote that the initiative did not receive support either in the presidential administration or in the relevant ministry.

Subsequently, the topic gained relevance again after a military commissar stated in a television interview that the length of service will be increased to a year and a half from spring, to two - from next fall. Subsequently, the commissioner himself, Mikhail Fotin, distanced himself from these interpretations and explained that he had been misunderstood. The Ministry of Defense denied that such plans were drawn up.

Read more from the 301st day of the war in Ukraine.

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Tags: army, Shoigu, Russian, Ukraine


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