Human rights activists oppose idea to increase conscription to 1.5 years

There is no need to increase the period of military service for conscripts to 1.5 years, Valentina Melnikova, secretary of the Union of Soldiers' Mothers Committee told Interfax on Thursday.

"It's an attempt to go back to the Soviet army. It's unclear where this initiative came from. There are no national grounds for such proposals," she said.

Vladimir Komoyedov, chairman of the State Duma committee on defense, said permanent combat preparedness of the army is impossible if the conscription period stays just one year, saying he intends to get Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to increase it to 1.5 years, Izvestiya reported on Thursday.

"Some top military officials have old principles," Melnikova said.

"One year for conscription is quite enough, especially now that soldiers are no longer used in harvest work and potato collection. There is no need to increase the conscription period. If something should be increased, it should be the number of contract servicemen. Conscripts are a headache, they are ill, they have children, wives and old parents. What do the Armed Forces need conscripts for? They are a headache for officers," Melnikova said.

Meanwhile, Russia's General Staff didn't confirm its plans to extend the period of military service for conscripts.

"The General Staff did not and does not plan to propose a longer period of military service for conscripts," said General Staff Deputy Chief, Head of the Main Organizational and Mobilization Department Col. Gen. Vasily Smirnov. "The law sets this period at one year."

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