Russia massively expands pool of men eligible for conscription

Russia massively expands pool of men eligible for conscription with maximum age lifted from 27 to 30 – as Putin ally warns ‘this smells like a big war’

  • Russia today lifted the conscription age to 30 as ‘big war looming with the west’ 

Vladimir Putin’s parliament today massively widened the age at which men can be conscripted to cope with the ‘big war looming against the West’.

The top age for compulsory military service was raised from 27 to 30 coupled with a warning that ‘general mobilisation’ may be on the way.

A plan to simultaneously raise the lower level from 18 has been ditched, widening the group vulnerable to conscription.

Tough new controls will also stop evasion of the draft, with men once on a conscription list banned from fleeing abroad, as many have done since the war.

Col-Gen Andrey Kartapolov, an MP and loyalist parliamentary defence committee chairman, told the legislature: ‘This law was written for a big war, for general mobilisation. And now this already smells like a big war.’ 

Col-Gen Andrey Kartapolov, an MP and loyalist parliamentary defence committee chairman

Kartapolov slammed MPs for looking to exempt certain groups, or make it easier to evade the draft – as the children of many politicians do.

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‘We all continue to look for whom we should remove from [mobilisation], who we should protect,’ he said.

But he warned: ‘Later there will be no-one to protect….’

He taunted MPs ‘who vote for the preservation of a comfortable life for draft dodgers’ by enabling them to flee abroad.

It remains to be seen if the Kremlin will face a backlash from the families of those caught by the new rules which come into effect in January 2024.

Putin previously baulked at such changes to the conscription rules.

Now, new laws will also formalise the creation of militias – including by governors of regions close to Ukraine.

Until now groups like the Wagner private army have been illegal – although strongly backed by the Russian government.

Men in their 60s will face being called up as will foreign nationals.

Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulates officers of investigation agencies on their professional holiday at the Kremlin in Moscow on July 25, 2023

The conscription changes apply to compulsory military training, long a feature of Russian life.

It is legally separate from the partial mobilisation of military-age men which Putin has also ordered to fight his war in Ukraine.

In theory, conscripts may not be sent to fight abroad.

However, Putin now defines invaded areas of Ukraine as now being part of Russia.

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