Georgia’s Defence Ministry abolishes compulsory conscription

A girl takes a picture of Georgian soldiers at the Independence Day celebration in Tbilisi on May 26, 2014. Photo by N. Alavidze/, 27 Jun 2016 - 12:42, Tbilisi,Georgia

From today no Georgian citizen will be forced to serve in the army.

This morning Georgia’s Minister of Defence Tinatin Khidasheli signed a document that abolished compulsory military service at Georgia’s Defence Ministry.

However this decision did not mean compulsory service was abolished entirely in the country. Two other agencies in Georgia – the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Corrections – were still authorised to recruit the country's youth for compulsory military service.

About 25 percent of all eligible conscripts typically served in the Defence Ministry while the remaining 75 percent served in the Interior Ministry or Corrections Ministry.

When announcing her decision this morning, Khidasheli said serving within Georgia’s Armed Forces (GAF) was an honour and it needed to be based on a voluntarily basis.

"The GAF doesn’t need servants who were forced to join it against their own will,” Khidasheli said.

Her decision will remain in place so long as she was Defence Minister however if any of Georgia’s future Defence Ministers decided to restore compulsory military service, it would be up to them, she said.

Shortly after Khidasheli announced the abolishment of compulsory service, Government officials said her decision had not been agreed or approved by Cabinet or other agencies.

The Prime Minister’s Administration voiced Giorgi Kvirikashvili’s position towards the news.

"The Prime Minister believes the decision to abolish compulsory mandatory service – due the fact that it’s many-sided - needs to be discussed in different Governmental formats before being approved,” the office said.

"The PM also believes the issue must be discussed by the Security Council.” 

Currently military service in Georgia is compulsory for male citizens from 18 to 27 years who do not have deferment or exemption from service.