MOSCOW, December 26 (RIA Novosti) – A bill on voluntary military service for women could be introduced in the lower house of the Russian parliament by February 1, 2013, a Russian lawmaker said.
“We will be surveying public opinion until January 15 and spend the rest of January discussing our initiative with colleagues,” Tatyana Moskalkova from the Just Russia faction in the State Duma and a co-author of the bill told reporters on Tuesday.
“If everything goes well, we will introduce this bill in the State Duma by February 1,” Moskalkova said.
She said the idea of voluntary service for women had been prompted by a large number of letters from young women who expressed the desire to serve in the military.
The lawmaker said the proposed mechanism was modeled after the Israeli army, but would be based on the principle of voluntary service.
At present, the Russian legislation allows women to serve in the military only under contracts.
As of 2012, almost 50,000 women serve as officers and petty officers mainly in staff positions, and about the same number are contracted as civilian personnel for the Russian Armed Forces.
They serve as specialists in areas such as medical and financial services, or in communication units.
Some women are also contracted as privates and sergeants in practically all branches of the military.
The new legislation, if adopted, would enable the Russian women to spend a year in the military as conscripts.
The authors of the bill believe that their initiative would help resolve the problem with the shortage of support personnel in the military.
(This article was amended at 1542 to correct 'conscription' to 'service' in first paragraph.)