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Kyrgyzstan Restores Mandatory Military Duty For Young Men

More young men will serve in the Kyrgyz military
More young men will serve in the Kyrgyz military
BISHKEK -- The Kyrgyz government has adopted a decree restoring the mandatory one-year military service for young men, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

The decree issued on July 20 annuls a previous one by former President Kurmanbek Bakiev in 2008. That decree allowed men between 19 and 27 years of age to pay 12,000 soms ($255) to the government in exchange for serving only one month in the military instead of the standard 12 months.

Kyrgyzstan analysts said the practice of young men bribing military officials in order to avoid military duty had become widespread. Bakiev's decree legalized the practice and allowed the government to benefit financially.

Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbaeva has complained in recent weeks about the monoethnic character of the Kyrgyz army and the problems it creates. She said all young men, including large minorities in Kyrgyzstan such as Uzbeks and Russians, need to serve in the military.