The Legislative Assembly of Kyrgystan’s parliament gave the first reading to the amendments to the law on universal military service. Experts consider the amendments to be the most “revolutionary” in the CIS. First, the period of service is to be reduced up to one year; men are subject to the conscription at the age of over 20 only. The majority of the army will be contractually based, the budget will appropriate 1,300 som (Kyrgyz currency) per month (it is less than $30) for maintenance of contractual soldiers.
But if the conditions are disagreeable, a payment can be done to avoid the conscription. The law says, “it is necessary to do a payment at the rate of an annual maintenance of one soldier in the national army.” The authors of the project estimated the sum at the rate of $520 (25,000 Kyrgyz som).
Deputy of the Legislative Assembly Maj.-Gen. Ismail Isakov thinks, the measure will reduce corruption and bribe-taking. Now bribe-taking is very popular in all military registration and enlistment offices, but the law will make it possible to send the money to the state budget.
The new law allows businessmen and high-ranking officials to keep their children away from the army. But for ordinary citizens of Kygyzstan, who have the average monthly wage at the rate of about 1,300 som ($27), it will be difficult to avoid the conscription. Not to mention villagers, who have little money at all. It means, Kyrgyz army will be workers’ and peasants’ one, indeed.
Yury Razgulyayev PRAVDA.Ru Bishkek Kyrgyzstan
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