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  Tuesday, January 21, 2020
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The State Duma plans to delay the second reading of a package of military reform laws till the beginning of June
The State Duma plans to delay the second reading of a package of military reform laws till the beginning of June. The head of the Duma Defence Committee, Viktor Zavarzin of the pro-Kremlin United Russia faction, told journalists on Monday that the package includes draft laws that abolish or alter nine of the existing 25 draft deferments and reduce military service from 24 to 12 months from 2008. According to Zavarzin, the delay was caused by “disagreements over some of the provisions in the documents,” including the abolition of some draft deferments. The head of the Duma Committee on Women, the Family, and Children, Yekaterina Lakhova, objected to the abolition of draft deferments for young men whose wives are pregnant no less than 26 weeks or who have children under the age of three. Lakhova said that 30 percent of Russian families are incomplete, and 400,000 children are born annually out of wedlock. Commenting on the government’s proposed monthly allowance of 6,000 roubles to families whose fathers were drafted into military service, Lakhova said, “This provision will not provide full social protection to families.” In her view, draft deferments should be preserved for this category of young men, albeit with a minor correction to ensure that young fathers “may be drafted into the army only after their children reach the age of one.” Lakhova also believes that the fathers of disabled children should qualify for draft deferments as well. Earlier, the Duma Defence Committee stressed the need to revisit all existing draft deferments. Bezborodov told Itar-Tass his committee had considered the government’ s draft law that abolishes nine of more than 20 existing draft deferments. “The committee supported this document but said the question of deferments was long overdue and should have been considered earlier,” he said. In his view, the army is experiencing a shortage of draftees, but the existing system of deferments allows too many draft-age men to avoid military service. “This is why the committee believes it necessary to revisit all deferments. In our view, the abolition of nine of them is only the beginning of big struggle for the draftees,” Bezborodov said. He noted that while supporting the draft law on the whole, members of the committee believe it necessary to clarify some of its provisions before the second reading. “First of all, we want to know what kind of support will be provided to the families of draftees who leave their wives and children under the age of three at home,” the generals said, adding, “This is one of the most painful issues today.” In his words, members of the committee believe that an allowance to the family of a draftee should not be below the subsistence level. “We will raise this issue with the government when the draft law is debated in the first reading, which is scheduled for April 21,” he said. Bezborodov also said that university and technical school students would not be drafted before the completion of education. This has been repeatedly confirmed by Deputy Defence Minister, Major-General Nikolai Pankov. “We are quite satisfied with this approach,” Bezborodov said.
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