Author`s name Olga Savka

Population Explosion To Avoid Army Service

Russian young men try to do their best not to serve in the army

A population explosion took place in the Elan district of the Volgograd region in the beginning of the 21st century. A lot of young families decided to have babies. All fathers were young men of the call-up age. The phenomenon was not surprising against the background of young men's "patriotic" feeling: all of them did their best to avoid the army service. They try to do something bigger than just a marriage and a family. There were  no weddings and no babies in this story. Everything was based on crime, deceit and bribery.

The settlement of Elan is a small quiet provincial place. Unlike city residents, local people do not know how to avoid the army service - they do not have money for that either. Until 2001, the local military registration committee did not know how to deal with the men who did not want the army experience in their lives. S.Tkachenko became the pioneer: the young man was not a native of Elan, although he was married to a local girl. He started the adventure when he declared his wish to retire from the army ahead of the scheduled time in connection with the birth of his  baby. As it turned out later, there was no baby. Young men of Elan decided to follow Tkachenko's example. All their documents were real: marriage certificates and birth certificates were absolutely fine. Neither the administration of the Elan military registration office, nor the local military command suspected anything.

As it is well-known, any change in the Armed Forces takes quite a lot of time. Military men's mothers wanted to avoid the long paperwork, so they started submitting complaints to the local military prosecutor’s office. The investigation started after the discovery of several suspicious discrepancies. It became clear that it was simply a fraud.

Young men from Elan were misleading military officials with a view to avoid the army service. Young men and their parents developed a special method, with the help of which they could easily succeed. At first, they contracted a fictitious marriage, and then a "baby was born" at a local hospital. All they had to do was to bring the documents to the military registration office and obtain the deferral. 

Military officials could not imagine that they were dealing with a very serious resistance: young men united with their parents and employees of the local marriage office and hospitals. The opposition was very strong.

Fifty-four men managed to retire from the army or to obtain deferrals ahead of the scheduled time during 1998-2002 - they all became fathers. Two incidents of the illegal reduction of the army service term became known as a result of the investigation conducted by the local prosecuting office. S. Putilin became a soldier in June of 2001, but he retired from the army three months later in connection with the birth of his baby. His mother obtained a forged birth certificate and rushed to the military registration office. However, military officials found out that Putilin did not have either a baby or a wife: a fictitious marriage was contracted with his cousin N. Vilkova. The girl did not even know that she had become a wife.

Another fictitious marriage was contracted with a brother and a sister - A. Borschev and I. Chevileva. The young man registered a marriage easily because his sister carried her mother's last name. After that Borschev had an agreement with a doctor about a forged certificate to prove the birth of his baby. As a result of the affair, the young man's army experience made up only five months. Fictitious marriages and forged documents were used on ten occasions in the year 2002. The regional office of the military prosecutor instituted criminal proceedings - there are 12 of them in total for the time being. The prosecuting office of the settlement of Elan is currently investigating two other cases filed against L. Babayan, A. Anisimov and their mothers. With the help of the same method, the two conscripts managed to avoid the army service. Investigator A. Plekhanov has already brought criminal charges against the two men and their mothers. The court has sentenced them to 18 months of imprisonment on parole. In addition, they will have to pay the 10,000-ruble fine (about $350).

The regional court martial has already brought down sentences against other young men and their associates. The majority of them have been sentenced to two years on parole and then amnestied. Only one young man and his mother have been punished for their swindling activities - two years on parole. They could not be amnestied because the crime was committed after the amnesty was introduced. However, acting military prosecutor E. Dorokhov is certain that even a merciful punishment has brought positive results.

The military officials who assisted in the crimes  have not been punished either, although some of them were found guilty in the case. O. Nechayeva, chairwoman of the local marriage registration office had a stable procedure to issue forged marriage certificates. However, the punishment was not severe - she will not have a right to take executive positions for five years.

Yury Borodin

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