14 Feb 2017 - 15:30
The Georgian Armed Forces (GAF) welcomed the first round of newcomers for compulsory military service today.
Greeting the first wave of draftsmen after the several-month suspension of compulsory military service, Chief of General Staff Vladimer Chachibaia personally informed draftsmen about the new conditions of the service.
Compulsory military service was abolished upon the decision of former Defence Minister Tinatin Khidasheli in June 2016.
Khidasheli then said serving within the ranks of the GAF was an honour and it needed to be based on a voluntarily basis, and not "against [one’s] own will”.
Later that year however new Defence Minister Levan Izoria said the service would be restored after consultations with international experts.
The new format of compulsory military service differs from its predecessor in a few ways, entailing three-month, full-scale combat training for conscripts, days off on the weekend and daily combat training hours for a 9-month period after the initial 3-month initiation.
Pay has also been increased to a monthly sum of $21 instead of the former $3.
This service gives the opportunity to each and every conscript to continue his career within the GAF as a military professional. They can also apply to the military academy’s one-year program and also pursue a career as a sergeant”, Chacibaia said.
Conscript Anatoli Sabashvili said he joined the GAF "for the love of his country”. Although he has not yet decided whether he will continue his military career or not, he believes he will receive sufficient military training.
The ministry believes the restored compulsory military service will prepare professional servicemen for the reserve and contract-based service as well as contribute to civic integration of ethnic and religious minorities.