While society agrees that the problem exists, it is divided on what has caused it and how it should be addressed" />

Abkhazia publishes draft evasion list

While society agrees that the problem exists, it is divided on what has caused it and how it should be addressed

A list of individuals who evaded conscription has been made public for the first time in Abkhazia. The list includes individuals who avoided military service without a valid reason.

It contained the names of 282 people aged between 18 – 28. It was later announced that several people had mistakenly been included, but that the Ministry of Defence promises to publish an amended list as soon as possible.

T

he lack of desire among the youth, especially those from urban areas, to serve in the army is a regularly discussed topic among Abkhaz society.

Those who avoided being drafted, though they did not receive official permission to do so, generally fall within two categories: university students and athletes.

The inclusion of students on the list was a subject of much public anger.

“I just don’t get it – what kind of list is this? Why am I on this list? The army knows perfectly well that I am studying for my doctorate and that this, by law, gives me the right not to serve. But its not deserting the draft!” wrote Ainar Kubraa on social media. His name made it onto the list.

The national sports committee did not like the fact that athletes were also included even though they have the right not to serve.

“With all respect to the Ministry of Defence, I want everyone to understand that our athletes are already fulfilling their civic duty by raising the flag of our republic on the pedestals of honor at international sports competitions,” the chairman of the State Sports Committee of Abkhazia, Bagrat Khutaba, told journalists.

Khutaba also noted that athletes ‘would be physically ready to defend their homeland at any moment’.

Several comments on social media:

“In the first years after the war the youth were trying with all their might to make it into
the army in order to serve their homeland! And now, what a mess!”

“The best sons of Abkhazia have already spilled their blood [for the country]. And now they are seeking all sorts of reasons not to serve.”

“I don’t get why they published this list. Does the Ministry of Defence not have the capability of fulfilling its work without the participation of the public?”

“There really is a lack of elementary order in the army, and service in the army has for a while now not been prestigious.”

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