Author`s name Ольга Савка

Military service for Chechen draftees prohibited

Chechen draftees did not serve in other Russian regions because many young men had lost their relatives in the war

Chechen nationals will not be drafted into military service. The sensational news was revealed by deputy chairman of the Russian headquarters in the North Caucasus, Yevgeny Maksimov, during the peak of the autumn conscription. The Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper wrote, the military commissariat of the republic confirmed the information. They said, however, the new regulation will be introduced temporarily.

The Russian Armed Forces are suffering from the considerable lack of draftees, which makes the announcement looks rather strange. According to official information, the army experiences the shortage of 30,000 military men.

Army officials say it was decided to take such a measure because a half of commissariats had been destroyed in the military campaign in the republic. The information may be true, although it is not clear why it was good for the authorities in 2002-2003.

Experts believe that army officials are not being honest, when they say that Chechen draftees are useless for the Russian Armed Forces. Despite the military tradition, Chechen young men served only in their republic. Chechen draftees did not serve in other Russian regions because many young men had lost their relatives in the unrecognized war in Chechnya. Military officials thought that they could take revenge for the loved ones.

“All military posts in the Chechen republic will be based on contracts. It means that we will not recruit Chechen young men to infantry companies,” an anonymous spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry told the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper.

Chechen draftees were apparently happy to learn the news, for army was not the place, where one could enjoy spending time. However, spokesmen for Chechnya at federal law-making agencies do not like the new initiative of the Russian government. “I consider it a political mistake, which discredits the anti-terrorist operation in North Caucasus. It looks like a token of no confidence to the Chechen nation,” Chechen deputy of the State Duma, Akhmat Zavgaev, said.

The decision not to recruit Chechen draftees violates article 59 of the Russian Constitution, which runs that the protection of the fatherland is the duty of a Russian Federation citizen. Russian governmental officials continue saying that Chechnya is an integral part of Russia and all Chechens are its citizens. It seems strange that young Chechen men have now been relieved of the duty this autumn.