Russia raises maximum age for military conscription to 30


Russia’s lower house of parliament voted on Tuesday to raise the maximum age at which men can be conscripted to 30 years from 27, increasing the number of young men liable for a year of compulsory military service at any one time.

Last year, Russia announced a plan to boost its professional and conscripted combat personnel by more than 30 per cent to 1.5 million, an ambitious task made harder by its heavy but undisclosed casualties in Ukraine.

The new legislation, which comes into effect on Jan. 1, means men will be required to carry out a year of military service, or equivalent training during higher education, between the ages of 18 and 30, rather than 18 and 27 as now.

The law also bans men from leaving Russia from the day they are summoned to a conscription office. In April, legislation was passed allowing conscription summonses to be served online instead of in person.

Compulsory military service has long been a sensitive issue in Russia, where many men go to great lengths to avoid being handed conscription papers during the twice-yearly call-up periods.

WATCH | It just became harder to avoid conscription in Russia: 

It just got harder to avoid conscription in Russia

Russia’s parliament has approved new legislation to allow draft notices to be delivered electronically and impose restrictions on those who don’t comply. The Russian government denies claims it’s on the brink of another mass mobilization, which caused an exodus last year.

Conscripts cannot legally be deployed to fight outside Russia and were in theory exempted from a limited mobilization last autumn that gathered at least 300,000 men with previous military training to fight in Ukraine — although some conscripts were sent to the front in error.

However, Russia unilaterally claimed four Ukrainian regions as its own last September, in a move not recognized internationally, fuelling fears that raw conscripts could now legally be sent into battle.

Separately, the legislation passed on Tuesday gives Russian governors the power to set up regional paramilitary units during periods of mobilization or martial law.

These units would be funded and armed by the state and given the right to shoot down drones, fight enemy sabotage groups and conduct counter-terrorist operations.

WATCH | Russian granted refugee status in Canada after receiving conscription notice:

Russian granted refugee status in Canada after receiving conscription notice

A Russian man who received a conscription notice to fight in Ukraine has been given refugee status in Canada. Trofim Modlyi, 19, decided to apply for refugee status after his parents received a conscription notice for him to fight in the war.

Andrei Kartapolov, a former general who chairs the defence committee of the lower house, the State Duma, said the changes would formalize the creation of militias.

The topic has gained importance since an abortive armed mutiny last month by Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner mercenary force, which is largely funded by the state but fought in Ukraine as a unit with broad autonomy.

“The people’s militia — how it will operate, who it will consist of … it is absolutely clear and understandable,” Kartapolov told lawmakers.