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Already this autumn the Russian Defence Ministry will launch a joint experiment with the community of the rectors. The students are expected to combine the military service with the academic studies at the higher educational establishments. In particular, students in the ranks of soldiers will serve in the army for three summer months within three years. Many experts named this initiative absurd.
The higher educational establishments will begin to select the students for the participation in the military educational program already within next few months, the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily reported. This autumn first 100,000-200,000 soldiers with the student identity cards may turn out to be in the barracks. “The rectors of all 32 universities, where the military education faculties work, proposed to Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu a new type of training of reserve soldiers,” Rector of the Bauman Moscow State Technical University Anatoly Alexandrov said. “The military liked our idea, Sergei Shoigu pledged that the guys will be rid of criminal, household, hygienic inconveniences during the military service,” he said.
The authors of the idea invented how to evoke a keen interest in the military service among the guys, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily noted. The reduction of the summer vacations, in their view, is made up with different bonuses quite well. A student, who decided to pass the military service during the summer vacations, will be assigned to the elite military units not far from his home, so that he will have an opportunity to visit his relatives on weekends. If a student is drafted in the army upon graduation from the higher educational establishment, he is usually assigned to a random military unit.
Chairman of the All-Russia Trade Union of Servicemen Oleg Shvedkov opposes a 3-month military service for the students, the Novye Izvestia daily cited him as saying. He stated that the military training should be nonstop, otherwise, the learnt knowledge is forgotten quickly, “As the practice showed, a soldier needs only a month to get accustomed to the atmosphere in the barracks. The army is an environment, where one should absorb in completely or not to absorb at all.” Leader of the Russian Student Union Artyom Khromov voiced concerned that the 3-month military service can affect the quality of education, “The whole educational process should be developed in detail in order to avoid this.”
The replacement of traditional drill and the one-year military recruitment term with a short-term recruitment on beneficial terms with minimized risks for the students to lose their health and intellectual faculties can seem to be attractive, the Vedomosti daily reported. However, military expert Mikhail Barabanov noted that even a one-year term of military service will not provide for the proper level of training in the military staff for those tasks, which should be resolved in a modern war or a conflict.
One more problem is the compliance between military and civil specialities, the newspaper believes. The students from the Bauman Technical University, the Moscow Aviation Institute or the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology can be easily used in the army. It is more difficult to find the work for economists, linguistic students, historians, or, for instance, geologists.
The Defence Ministry will obviously seek to replace the specialists with educated conscript servicemen and recruit the students for the ranks of officers. The very idea to introduce a special recruitment system for the students can be taken as one more indirect acknowledgement that the transfer to the professional army is delayed for an indefinite period of time, the newspaper said in conclusion.