Russia ‘postpones’ military service for IT specialists

MOSCOW (AFP): Russia on Tuesday temporarily exempted young IT workers from military service after an exodus of programmers following Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine.

Military service is compulsory in Russia for men aged between 18 and 27. Many try to evade service through medical or educational exemptions while some simply ignore the summons.

Men aged 27 and under, who work in IT companies, can get a “postponement” of their military service, according to a decree published on a government portal.

They must also hold a university degree and have worked in an IT company for at least one year, it said.

Companies seeking delayed military service for their workers must send in a list to the relevant authorities by May 1, the decree said.

It also said students with university degrees in over 60 subjects can apply for the same exemption, including mathematics, applied computer science and radio engineering.

“It is important not to allow the slowing down of the pace of development of the IT sector in our country even under sanctions,” Russia’s Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said in a statement.

Young Russians fled the country in large numbers after the start of Russia’s military action in Ukraine on February 24.

The head of the Russian Association of Electrotechnical Companies, Sergei Plugotarenko, told parliament’s lower house last week that up to 70,000 of them had already left.