The law ‘On the universal military duty’ adopted

12 October 1967

The Soviet citizens started to do their military service from 1918, the time of the Red Army formation. On May 29 1918 there was issued a decree of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee ‘On compulsory recruitment to the Workers’-Peasants’ Red Army’. The decree of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and the Council of the Peoples’ Commissars ‘On the obligatory military service for the male citizens of RSFSR’ of September 28, 1922 established the obligatory service – draft of all men of 20 years old, the terms of service from 1.5 years (in infantry and artillery) to 4.5 years (in the Navy). On August 13, 1930 a new law of USSR ‘On the obligatory military service’ was adopted. These laws were of class character and determined that the defense of the USSR with arms in hands is realized only by workers. For non-working people were obliged to fulfill other responsibilities regarding the defense service of USSR.

By 1939 the country had undergone significant social-economical changes, a new Constitutions of USSR had been adopted, in the situation of direct threat of war a wide-ranging work of reorganization and modernization of the army and navy had been conducted. All these circumstances were taken into account by the law of USSR ‘On the universal military duty’ adopted on September 1, 1939 by the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. In contrast to the previous analogue acts it established that the defense of the Fatherland is the sacred duty of every USSR citizen. All men – USSR citizens, regardless of race, nationality, religion, educational qualification, social origin and situation, are obliged to do their military service in the Armed Forces of the USSR.

The law of USSR ‘On the universal military duty’ of 1939 had been in force for a long time (almost 28 years). By the middle of the 60s however, in spite of numerous amendments, was not answering the scale and character of military construction conducted in the country, was not taking into account social-economical reforms that it had undergone. The natural solution of the situation was the adoption on October 12, 1967 of the law of USSR ‘On the universal military duty’. It determined: ‘The defense of socialist Fatherland is the sacred duty of every USSR citizen…

All men – USSR citizens, regardless of origin, social and property status, race and nationality, education, language, religion, occupation, place of residence are obliged to do their active military service in the Armed Forces of the USSR. It accentuated the universality of military service.

The law contained a whole range of essentially new regulations.

The draft is done twice a year: in May – June (estimated from July 1) and in November – December (estimated from January 1 of the following year).

The registration of the citizens, who had their 17 years the year of registration, was conducted in the period of February – March.

The subjected to draft were men who have reached 18 by the day of draft but not older than 27.

New terms of service were established:

-       In all land units of all types – 2 years;

-       In all land units of all types for soldiers and sergeants with higher education – 1.5 years;

-       In Navy units, units of coast security and sea units of frontier troops – 3 years;

-       In Navy units for seamen and sergeants major with higher education – 2 years.

Deferments of military service were provided:

-       due to marital status;

-       to continue education;

-       due to health state – for three years;

Citizens could be exempt from the service due the state of health. Were not drafted the citizens serving sentence and those who were under examination or whose criminal case was considered by trial.

Lit.: История призывов [Электронный ресурс] // Министерство обороны Российской Федерации. Б. д. URL: http://recrut.mil.ru/career/conscription/recruiting_history.htm; О всеобщей воинской обязанности // Ведомости Верховного Совета СССР. 1967. № 42. С. 552.