Posted 21 июля 2023,, 07:13

Published 21 июля 2023,, 07:13

Modified 21 июля 2023,, 07:34

Updated 21 июля 2023,, 07:34

Refused the army — go to the fire: who is expected in alternative military service

Refused the army — go to the fire: who is expected in alternative military service

21 июля 2023, 07:13
Ирина Мишина
Those who do not want to serve in the army have a real opportunity to «mow down» virtually legally. Urgent military service can be replaced by alternative work for the benefit of the environment and agriculture. The government has already prepared instructions on this matter.
Russian Army


Those who do not want to serve in the army will be able to realize themselves as a milker, biologist, reindeer herder, forester, gardener, veterinary paramedic and even an epidemiologist. Now this list, which is prepared annually by the Ministry of Labor, includes 150 professions.

Where to go to the «alternative»?

In general, the list of professions allowed for alternative service also includes a baker, a waiter, a nanny, an assistant teacher, a tractor driver, a turner and even an artist of a song and dance ensemble… But now the specialties related to nature protection have turned out to be in the trend. And we must be prepared for the fact that instead of military service in 12 months, the alternative will last from 18 to 21 months, depending on the specialty.

The government has put the question straight: before the start of the autumn conscription campaign this year, environmental agencies should prepare proposals to supplement the list of types of work, professions and positions in which citizens undergoing alternative service can be employed.

An alternative to military service can most likely be offered where large forest fires traditionally occur. For example, in such territories as Yakutia, the Chita region or Kolyma, which have been leading the sad anti-rating of forest fires for several years. One of the reasons for this is the catastrophic lack of fire fighting forces and means on the ground. In most cases, the situation can be broken only by connecting professional firefighters from the center, and conscripts can create the necessary reserve of firefighters. Probably, the governors should think about how to train young men of military age to fight fires professionally in order to create rapid response teams in «hot spots». In general, if you think about it, the specialty of a forest firefighter is not much different from military service in terms of danger…

There are proposals for alternative service in those regions where the implementation of the federal projects «Clean Country» or «Improvement of the Volga» is stalling. They offer to employ young people on an alternative basis by cleaning dirty lands and waters. There is only 1.5 years left until the end of these projects, and it is already obvious that without additional fresh forces, a failure may occur in a number of subjects.

Environmentalists against «alternative»?

All these offers on paper look attractive. However, environmentalists took the initiative without much enthusiasm.

«There are not enough foresters in many regions, and alternative service will not help much here. You won't become a forest firefighter or a forester just like that, right away, there is a question of serious professional training. I am not sure that many will massively change their service in the army to an alternative one. Firstly, service in the army gives a lot of career preferences plus significant payments for participation in the SVO. I would be inclined to believe that it would be more expedient to restore order in the army, to strengthen professional training there, and not to focus on alternative service. The forest managers I know were skeptical about this initiative. Professionals should be trained everywhere. Ultimately, the state will suffer from incompetent people in any area,» said Anton Khlynov, a member of the Commission on Environmental Well—being at the Public Chamber.

There is a really serious shortage of personnel and problems in forestry now. Many are inclined to believe that the cause of forest fires is largely related to this. For a long time, it was professional foresters who controlled logging, engaged in sanitary treatment and extinguished fires. After the reform of the Forest Code in 2006, forests were transferred to tenants, and foresters, as well as their powers, were reduced.

The new Forest Code has weakened control over forests, simplified the access of private owners to natural resources. The main supervisory function was transferred to the regions. But there is no one to keep order in the forests, there are catastrophically not enough people, as well as local funding. Foresters, as they say, were destroyed. According to the Federal Forestry Agency, in order to ensure the patrolling of forests in accordance with the standards established by the Ministry of Natural Resources, it is necessary to increase the number of inspectors by 19 thousand. «Currently, the inspection staff of regional authorities is not able to fully ensure fire safety,» the press service of the Prosecutor General's Office reports.

Of course, you can try to «cover up» all these problems with «alternatives», but it is unlikely that this will solve all the problems in the forest industry. And putting out forest fires with buckets of water is an impossible mission. Yes, and life-threatening.

Extinguishing a fire instead of a barracks?

The military is no less skeptical about this measure.

«Forest fires are a consequence of an ill—conceived forestry reform, and the „alternative“ this gap cannot be closed and all problems cannot be solved,» said Lieutenant General of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Alexander Mikhailov. — In general, I have a positive attitude towards alternative service, but what will it turn into in the current situation? Perhaps this will create additional jobs or close the «gap» that guest workers are now closing. It may be possible to stop some of the evaders from leaving. But, to be honest, «alternative service» is carried out, as a rule, by those who are not needed in the army.»

Some regions have already expressed interest in those who are ready to perform alternative service. As you know, in 12 Russian republics — Mari El, Chuvashia, Trans—Baikal, Krasnoyarsk, Khabarovsk Territories, Amur, Volgograd, Irkutsk, Omsk, Penza, Ryazan, Tver regions — they have not always successfully organized measures to eliminate forest fires, so they hope for those who choose an alternative service.

«It is very important that the solution of the issue of alternative service is based on the needs of the labor market of a particular region where the conscript lives. And to do this, each subject must analyze the situation in this area and come to the government with specific proposals: where and what state, regional, municipal services require personnel, in what quantity. For example, somewhere additional hands are needed in the housing and utilities sector, which means that the citizen needs to be sent there. And somewhere in social institutions there is a need for assistants — let the „alternative workers“ be distributed there. That is, the key issue here is the need of the regions,» Yaroslav Nilov, chairman of the State Duma Committee on Labor and Social Policy, told NI.

The issues of alternative service, whether civil or military, are defined by federal legislation, and the Ministry of Labor approves a specific list of professions. It is also worth bearing in mind that only those citizens who are recognized as fit for military service or are fit for it with minor restrictions can be sent to alternative civil service. But they undergo alternative service, as a rule, outside the territory where a person permanently resides. Everyone determines the «pros» and «cons» of all this himself.