1,500 CONSCRIPTS TO UNDERGO ALTERNATIVE CIVIL SERVICE THIS YEAR

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MOSCOW, September 30 (RIA Novosti) - In the fall draft this year (from October 1 to December 31), some 1,000 people will be sent to the alternative civil service, Vasily Smirnov, the head of the Main Organization-Mobilization Department of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff, said at a press conference in the Defense Ministry.

"In line with the federal law On Alternative Civil Service, military registration and enlistment offices accepted applications on the replacement of conscription military service with alternative civil service from citizens who are to be drafted in fall 2004 before April 1, 2004," said Smirnov.

In his words, overall, military registration and enlistment offices have accepted 1,530 applications from citizens. In regard to 1,005 of them, this spring, the draft commissions made conclusions about replacement of military service by conscription with alternative.

Taking into account that besides the mentioned citizens, those draftees whose grounds for deferment become invalid ahead of time will have the right to have military service replaced with alternative, the number of citizens who will undergo alternative civil service is likely to reach 1,500, said the department head.

Smirnov also said that even among those who want to undergo alternative service, there are so-called draft dodgers.

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