ST. PETERSBURG -- The nongovernmental organization Soldiers' Mothers of Petersburg have demanded that officials respect Russian legislation on alternative service for young army conscripts, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.
According to the law, a young man has a right to alternative service when he reaches the age of 18.
Anyone who is obliged to serve two years of mandatory military service can first send an application for alternative service explaining the reasons for that decision.
Only after the draft commission makes a decision is the conscript supposed to undergo a medical examination.
Ella Polyakova, the chairwoman of Solders' Mothers of Petersburg, told RFE/RL that in practice military officials send all young men registered for military service to a medical examination at once and then to their military units, ignoring any applications that may have been made for alternative service.
Polyakova said the military commissioners do not know the law.
She added that young draftees should know their rights and do everything to protect them.