The Defense Ministry press service today revealed some scarcely concealed official irritation with the poor health of its pool of potential conscripts.
ITAR-TASS reported that almost half the men called to draft commissions have been sent for medical observation. The press service source told ITAR-TASS:
“As of 21 May draft commissions have made decisions on 155,300 of those called up, more than 70,800 men have been sent to places of service. Since the beginning of the call-up, military commissariats have sent nearly 67,000 young men for medical observation.”
The draft campaign which began 1 April will call 270,000 men into the armed forces and other militarized structures. The largest numbers of conscripts thus far have come from the Volga-Ural region and Siberia. In last year’s competition for citizens best prepared for military service, Tatarstan was first, Stavropol second, and Arkhangelsk third.
ITAR-TASS concludes, in the Defense Ministry, they remained worried as before by the weak health of Russian conscripts. In the 2009 call-up [not clear if this means spring, fall, or both draft campaigns taken together], 68 percent of those appearing at draft commissions were found fit for military service without limitations or with insignificant limitations, but of the number actually inducted into the service, more than half had various limitations because of their health. This prevented sending them to military units with high demands on servicemen–the VDV, VMF, MVD VV, and others.
ITAR-TASS reports doctors were forced [spring, fall, all of 2009?] to send nearly 86,400 of those called-up to ambulatory or in-patient observation in medical facilities because of unsatisfactory health indicators. And their fitness for service can only be determined once they complete medical observation. The item notes that, over time, 1-3 percent of young guys go ‘AWOL’ from observation and don’t complete it. The fact that young men manifest health problems for the first time when they’re in front of the draft commission shows the weaknesses of the health care system. The Defense Ministry also believes this shows that medical prophylactic measures for young people are poorly organized in the regions.