MOSCOW, March 7 (RIA Novosti) – Women should not replace the thousands of men dodging military service in Russia’s Armed Forces, but should bring up children instead, Russia’s sole female army General Yelena Knyazeva said in an interview.
At present, Russian legislation allows women to serve in the military only on a contract (or professional) basis. But the State Duma has proposed drafting a bill that would introduce voluntary one-year military service for women with similar terms to the conscript system for men.
“Maybe it would be good [for women to do voluntary service], but I think it’s better for women to get married, have children and bring up their sons who will serve their Motherland,” Knyazeva, the only one-star female officer in Russia’s Armed Forces, told RIA Novosti.
“I think they would do more good to the state. Each of us has to do our own business,” said Knyazeva, who is also a deputy head of the Defense Ministry’s Military University.
In the bill is passed, female conscripts could fill the current deficit of male conscripts caused by evasion of the draft and Russia’s changing demographic profile. According to the General Staff some 250,000 Russian men dodged the draft last year. Many use falsified medical documents, bribery or enrolling in long courses of higher education to avoid service. Those over age 27 are exempt.
The Armed Forces’ research center statistics shows there are currently 11,000 women doing military service under contract, down from 30,000 five years ago due to army staff cuts.
Knyazeva said the female soldiers she met in the Russian army are “kind, womanly and beautiful.”