May 18, Ukraine marked the day of the reservist. President Zelensky then said that the Ukrainian army always counts on the support of the military in reserve. And after ten days, he submitted an urgent bill, proposing to call on the reservists for training at their own decision for up to six months.
Like his predecessor, the president wants to bring the system of military records and the activities of local bodies of military command in line with NATO standards. Novation can affect more than 200,000 people throughout Ukraine. If the MPs support the initiative of the president, draft lawyers will be legally taken to the military commissariats directly from the street, and fines for them will increase by 7 times.
Six months of service and verification fees
The President of Ukraine, in accordance with the new initiative, receives the right to form another "army" of reservists. In fact, this possibility is also prescribed in the Constitution (actually, a call, not a mobilization). Mobilization decree should be approved by the Verkhovna Rada, however, the president can sign the decree on the annual urgent appeal individually.
Ukrainians who are in reserve periodically undergo training camps to update their skills and can be called up for service. After retraining, they can become technicians, radio operators, platoon commanders. If the bill is passed, large-scale exercises will become possible. The service will last not two or three months, but up to six months.
Reservists of the first stage, that is, participants in the ATO with a satisfactory state of health, are basically already assigned to military brigades. If a sergeant, for example, commanded a detachment and left the army, ideally he would occupy the same or similar position. But at the request of the Commander-in-Chief, now this sergeant will be able to equip not only the Armed Forces but also the National Guard. At the same time, reservists of the second stage (mainly graduates of military departments) will join the ranks of the rear units and territorial defense.
The call will be possible at any time because since 2014 the "special period" has not been canceled. In addition, according to the plan of the General Staff, reservists will be able to engage in verification fees in order to evaluate in practice the combat effectiveness of our army. Commissars often cannot even call 40 people out of the 4,000 pretenders living in the same area, so the president has to extend the appeals.
Today, the reservist receives a daily subsistence allowance, as well as an annual incentive from 60 USD to 115 USD for staying in a unit, at a field training camp or training. Conscripts can rely on the preservation of their place of work and salary. But many receive a salary in an envelope, which means that upon mobilization they risk losing their job.
If the recruits find such conditions unattractive, they will be taken to the military enlistment offices by force. This is perhaps the main provocative aspect of Zelensky’s bill.
Raids and work in the "shadow"
Last fall, in an attempt to fulfill the plan, military commissars illegally drafted guys into the army, even with medical contraindications. In the Rivne region, for example, the military took conscripts directly from workplaces. The police, from year to year, caught young people in clubs and hostels. But if earlier it was considered illegal, now they want to give her the full right to such actions.
The president’s initiative implies that conscripts will be taken under tight control. Registry offices and other bodies must notify military registration and enlistment offices not only about marriages and divorces, but also "about events and actions that are related to the family of the reservist." This responsibility will fall on the shoulders of the police, the management of enterprises and educational institutions.
In order to legally deliver a person against his will to the military commissariat, it is enough for the military commissar to transfer the surname of the offender to the police. Of course, there is nothing complicated in transferring such lists en masse.
A person can be forced to undergo a medical examination in the military enlistment office. And this concerns not only conscripts, but also reservists. It is assumed that there will be almost no differences either in rights or responsibilities between conscripts and reservists.
Lawyers say there are doubts about the legality of such an initiative.
If, in some way, the conscript escaped from being taken to the commissariat, he risks being left without official work. The initiative of the president implies the need to present a military ID for employment. Theoretically, they could be asked if they wish today, but after the adoption of the bill, it will not be possible to conclude an employment contract without it.
The experts are sure that today the adoption of such a law is out of time because it will be the next push of citizens into the “shadow.” People who have left for more than three months abroad will be removed from military records. Therefore, it is likely that the new bill will push Ukrainians to migrate abroad.
Perhaps the state should focus on first and foremost giving people the opportunity to provide themselves at a decent level. In addition, when the president declares a course towards "the country in a smartphone", introduces the Diya system, using a paper military ID, which has become an anachronism, is a strange decision.
It is still unclear whether this norm will work in practice because there is no explanation as to whether fines can be applied to violating employers. If not, then, theoretically, they will be able to calmly close their eyes to this norm.
Fines for the escapists
The reservist cannot terminate the contract until the end of the “special period,” which would unlikely end in the near future.
It is allowed not to appear in the military registration and enlistment office in the event of a natural disaster, the death of a close relative or if the time until the end of the deadline for staying in reserve is less than the duration of the draft. Also, those who less than a year ago already served in the "special period" will be exempted from service. If a person has at least three minor children, or he independently brings up at least one minor, as well as in case of disability in his child (up to 18 or 23 years old, depending on the degree of disability), the parent is not called.
They will not call on those whose relatives died in Donbas, or who have already served in Donbas hot spots, as well as those who receive higher education in the full-time department, and educational workers (with some restrictions).
Escaping from the military registration and enlistment office on the agenda, untimely registration, violation of the order of fees for reservists, loss of military documents or their damage earlier could be fined 5-7 non-taxable minimum incomes of citizens. In the case of the adoption of the bill, it will be 30-50 minimums. One such minimum is 17 UAH (0,6 USD). That is, for the first violation, the fine will amount to 20-30 USD.
But, since there is a "special period" now, fines are increasing to 50-100 minimums, that is, up to 30 – 65 USD. Escapists should count on the same fines for repeated violations.
For evasion of mobilization, they will be fined 60-120 USD (up to 190 USD for repeated violation), for officials - 60-190 USD (up to 320 USD for repeated violation).
Much more critical is the fact that for "malicious evasion in a special period" a person will face not 2 years in prison, as before, but a term of 3 to 5 years. This shows that, first of all, it is important for the authorities not to fill the budget, but to fulfill the draft norm, intimidating Ukrainians. Whether this works is a difficult question. Ukrainians will be fined by military commissars.
Zelensky’s personal interests
Some experts believe that in terms of the war, everyone should serve, as well as the MPs and the president. However, according to the bill, MPs still will not be called upon. In the context of the new initiative, a question arises to Zelensky himself about justice and common standards. Part of society accuses him of not serving. But before the election, the guarantor emphasized: each of us is the president.
If the military advocates toughening the punishment for draft dodgers, this lends itself to logic, but the situation with Zelensky is paradoxical. While still a candidate, he promised to create a “professional, voluntary, and motivated army.” For many Zelensky’s voters, this has become a decisive factor. Yes, and Minister of Defense Andriy Zagorodniuk after Zelensky’s victory said that military service should be canceled. However, at first, the minimum draft age was lowered from 20 to 18 years, and now the president, even more, tightens the requirements for conscripts and reservists.
On the one hand, today we really cannot afford a fully contracted army, as Zelensky promised. To do this, the country's military budget will need to be inflated approximately twice. And this means that less money will be spent on social payments. This is especially difficult for a country in post-quarantine depression, given the possibility of a second wave of the coronavirus epidemic. However, if there was no contract army, it would be possible for citizens to use not a stick, but a carrot.