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Defence Ministry started renewed compulsory recruitment

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, February 15
Defence Ministry officials met with recruits drafted for compulsory military service and explained what was new about Georgia's conscription programme.

The officials stressed that in previous years, compulsory military service didn’t provide any real knowledge of military system; from now on the situation would be different.

The officials stressed that over the course of three months, the recruits would undergo comprehensive military training.

After the three months, despite being at their posts, the recruits would have several hours for intensive military trainings daily, like in contract-based military service.

They would also enjoy better social state support, free weekends and holidays.

In June 2016, then-Defence Minister Tinatin Khidasheli signed a document that abolished compulsory military service in Georgia’s Armed Forces.

However, this decision did not mean compulsory service was abolished entirely in the country. Two other agencies in Georgia – the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Corrections – were still authorised to recruit the country's youth for compulsory military service.

About 25 percent of all eligible conscripts typically served in the Defence Ministry, while the remaining 75 percent served in the Interior Ministry or Corrections Ministry.

In November 2016, new Defence Minister Levan Izoria said mandatory military service was "a better option" for the state in terms of finances and military capability.

“The state spends from 25,000 to 26,000 GEL a year on a contract-based serviceman while it spends 9,000 a year on an army conscript,” Izoria said.

Izoria added that conscripts would go through exactly the same military training as those on contract-based service.

This is the first year with the new system. The previous experience, especially in the Russia-Georgia war in 2008, showed the old system was a useless waste of the state budget.

That system also claimed the lives of many in the war, as conscripts were untrained, unprepared and ill-equipped to face combat.