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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Draft Set To Double In Moscow

Russia's chronically understaffed armed forces will more than double their draft in the Moscow area this November by tapping students of technical schools who recently lost their draft-free status, according to officials.

Deputy chief of Moscow's central recruiting center, Colonel Vladimir Dobrovolsky, said he expected about 11, 000 of the 18, 000 young recruits drafted this month to come from the technical colleges.

Students at these schools lost their draft exemption last month in a decree issued by Boris Yeltsin just days after the army crushed an armed rebellion against the president on the morning of Oct. 4. The decree was widely seen as a reward for the army's support.

Dobrovolsky said the new eligibility of students in technical schools would allow the military to draft more than twice as many as the 7, 000 Moscow recruits it called up in the previous draft, which took place last spring.

The decree, issued Oct. 7, said some students at technical schools, which are one step below universities and institutes in the Russian educational hierarchy, could be drafted even in the middle of the semester.

But Dobrovolsky said most of the students drafted this month would be able to finish their degrees in December through an accelerated study program.

In an apparent concession to the protests of school administrators and the persistent problem of draft-dodging, draft requirements have been softened somewhat for the new recruits, according to another officer at the recruiting center who refused to give his name.

Recruits may choose to serve in or near Moscow, the officer said, especially those with wives and children or "parents who are unable to work". In addition, they may choose which forces they would like to serve in.

The officer said he expected no problems filling unpopular posts.

Personnel shortages plague the armed forces despite plans to halve personnel by the year 2000. From January to May 1993 alone, 31, 000 draftees failed to report, a deputy defense minister said in May.