Russia is set to double the length of service time for conscripted soldiers in an attempt to bolster its crumbling military.
A senior military commissar let the dynamite plan out of the bag in a TV interview, in what is likely to trigger a major backlash amongst Russians.
The aim of the ‘Back to the USSR’ conscription scheme appears to be to provide Vladimir Putin with yet more young men as cannon fodder for his war in Ukraine.
The scheme was announced by Lt-Col Mikhail Fotin, who said on video that 18-to-27 year olds will be required to serve one and half years in the military from spring 2023, rising to two years from the autumn recruitment next year.
Such a change would restore the conscription system used in the Soviet Union, which was abolished following its dissolution in 1991.
Since 2008 men have been liable to a one year draft, and Fotin blamed the changes on NATO expanding close to Russia’s borders.
The Russian defence ministry refused to comment on the plan which triggered a social media frenzy when it was announced, and an immediate order was given to remove Fotin’s explosive video from TV screens.
The commissar from Moscow region had said: ‘There will be a transition period in spring .
‘Citizens called up in spring will serve one-and-half years.
‘And those conscripted in autumn 2023 will serve two years .
‘I find this decision quite logical, given that our northern neighbours [Sweden and Finland] are joining NATO.’
No such conscription plan has been officially announced yet there have been strong rumours that Putin wanted to wait until after the New Year holidays in Russia to unveil the bombshell.
The conscription scheme involving 18-to-27 year olds is separate from Putin’s controversial draft of 300,000-plus ‘reservists’,who were called up earlier this year as part of the Kremlin’s ‘partial mobilisation’ of the populace to fight in Ukraine.
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