Russia: human rights violations during recruitment

A representative of the organisation Soldiers' Mothers of St. Petersburg told RFE/RL that they have received a large number of phone calls from people complaining that local military recruitment offices "are literally hunting for young men on the streets, in supermarkets, and the subway to forcibly enlist them into the army", RFL/RL reported on 22 December 2009.

A representative for the Soldiers' Mothers of St. Petersburg said military medical personnel are working at night to expedite medical examinations for young men caught by recruiters so they can be quickly processed into the army.

Soldiers' Mothers Chairwoman Ella Polyakova said in the last two years, the situation regarding military recruitment has improved, but that suddenly "the hunt for young soldiers-to-be is on the rise again", so RFE/RL.

According to Russian law, every male between 18 and 26 years of age is obliged to serve in the military. But an increasing number of young men are avoiding military service as frequent reports about bullying, hazing, and beatings in the army circulate in the media.

According to the Main Department for Organizational Issues and Mobilization about 305,000 young men have been drafted in spring 2009, for a military service of 12 months. This is an increase to the year before, when 133,000 conscripts were drafted in spring, and 219,000 in fall.
In spring 2009, only 197 men applied for conscientious objection.

Source: RFE/RL: Activists In St. Peterburg Say Men Being Forced Into Army, 22 December 2009, Itar-Tass: Over 305,000 young men drafted for military service in spring, 21 July 2009