Radio Free Europe’s Liz Fuller examines the re-introduction of conscription of young Chechen men into the Russian armed forces, which resumes this autumn after a gap of several years. Excerpt:
…in line with a directive issued by Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov, not only young men born in 1990 will be liable for conscription this year, but all those born between 1981 and 1990, regnum.ru reported on April 3.
That assertion raises several questions: is Kadyrov seeking to round up the entire male population between 17 and 28 and ship them out of Chechnya to serve elsewhere in Russia in order to deprive the North Caucasus resistance of potential recruits? Kadyrov has on several occasions in recent months lambasted local officials for failing to halt the exodus of young men who leave home to fight under the banner of self-proclaimed imam of the North Caucasus Doku Umarov. Indeed, how many of the pool of 70,000 hypothetical draftees have jumped the gun and already joined the resistance ranks? And could the harsh conditions of army service outside Chechnya, including the hazing for which the Russian armed forces are notorious, impel more young men to make that choice?