The Metropolitan Bishop expressed the belief that “a military consisting of contract troops, is capable of coping with its tasks better and more effectively, than the one made up of conscripts."
Contract troops are a lot more effective at performing their tasks than those who join the military as conscripts, the Russian Orthodox Church’s spokesman said commenting on the mandatory military draft.
“I don’t share this stance that it’s imperative for every man to serve in the military," Hilarion said during a live TV appearance.
I never tell people that they must join the army at any cost.
However, he pointed out that it didn’t mean that the church supported evading military draft in any way. “If you’re called up it’s your civic duty and one must fulfill his obligations for the motherland.”
The Metropolitan, who said that he used served in the army on call-up himself, expressed the belief that “a military consisting of contract troops, is capable of coping with its tasks better and more effectively, than the one made up of conscripts."
Russian men aged between 18 and 27 years are obliged to serve in the armed forces for a one-year term if they don’t have army respite due to health and other reasons, according to Russian law.
President Vladimir Putin said in April that military conscription is set to become history in the country, with MPs estimating that it would be possible to fully form the Russian military with contractors in 10 to 15 years.
Currently, more than 1.9 million people serve in the Russian armed forces. Around a million of them are military professionals; some 400,000 are contractors, with the rest being conscripts.