Georgia cancels conscription

Georgia cancels conscription

Beginning next year Georgia will a professional army, that is the service become voluntary, said the Minister of Defense Tina Khidasheli said.

"Our goal is to begin implementing the voluntary recruitment system used in many NATO countries in 2017. It is more efficient and yields better results," the head of the defense department said.

"We won’t have conscription in 2017 anymore. At least, it is my decision as the Minister of Defense,’’ Sputnik Georgia cites her as saying.

A ‘Vestnik Kavkaza’ correspondent interviewed the head of the Institute of Strategy Management Petre Mamradze and political analyst Ramaz Sakvarelidze who welcomed the initiative.

Peter Mamradze explained that Georgia with such a small population does not need a large army. "In addition, abuses and hazing are always possible during conscription. Thus, people who do not want to serve or are not good for this purpose may have ended up in the army. The new approach is professional, only those who want to serve and are ready to sign the contract,’’ the expert said.

He reminded that there are a lot of examples when western countries canceled conscription and it benefited those countries. In particular, it happened after the Vietnam War.

Political analyst Ramaz Sakvarelidze mentioned that the idea of canceling conscription has been discussed for a long time. 

"The army requires a lot of money from the budget and the amount often seems overblown.  

Now we speak about the creation of a smaller but a mobile and more skilled army. That is why Khidasheli’s statement did not come as a surprise. Western partners also demanded such reforms," the expert said.

However, he doubted that this important and necessary initiative would lead to good results. "Paradoxical results always happen in the post-Soviet space. There is an old Soviet saying: ‘We wanted the best, but it turned out to be as always.’ It means that it is difficult to predict something," the analyst said.

"But there is definitely a desire to make improvements," the expert added.

The prestige of the Georgian army is high. "The people in general treat those who sacrifices their lives for the country with respect,’’ the analyst concluded.