The Georgian Ministry of Defense (MoD) reintroduced compulsory military service in the country’s armed forces, eight months after Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli abolished military conscription.
The new system differs “significantly and qualitatively” from the old, MoD said in its February 14 statement.
According to the new rule, conscripts will go through “comprehensive” preparatory combat training for three months and will serve as duty officers for the remaining nine months.
Unlike the previous system, however, the conscripts will go through “combat preparation hours” on a daily basis for the remaining nine months as well.
The conscripts will be able to use days-off and “an improved social benefits package,” according to MoD.
The conscripts will “support the professional army” in fulfilling their daily duties. The Ministry also hopes that the new system will also help fill the ranks of the professional army and the reserve.
“It will also contribute to the civic integration of ethnic and religious minorities,” the statement said.
Georgia runs a mixed system based on both contracts and conscription.
The plan to abandon the conscription system was first announced by former Defense Minister Irakli Alasania in early 2013 and then reiterated by then PM Bidzina Ivanishvili.
Former Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli annulled recruitment of conscripts by the Ministry of Defense (MoD) in June, 2016, drawing criticism from the ruling GDDG party.
The move did not mean full cancelation of the conscription system.
Bulk of recruitment of conscripts was still made by the Interior Ministry; the State Security Agency; Special State Protection Service (SSPS); ministry in charge of the penitentiary system; intelligence service.