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More than 133,000 men to be conscripted in spring 2007 - decree

MOSCOW, March 29 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree on the spring call-up, under which 133,500 men will be drafted in April-June 2007, the Kremlin press service said Thursday.

On March 12, Putin signed a decree reducing the term of military conscription from two years to one for those drafted after January 1, 2008.

The term of conscription for those drafted in 2007 has been reduced to 18 month, but those drafted before January 1, 2007 will still have to serve for two years.

The two-year term has been in force in Russia for almost four decades, but recent reductions in the number of military personnel and the gradual transition to a professional voluntary military has allowed the country to cut the length of mandatory military service to 12 months.

Former Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said in January that a large part of the Russian Armed Forces will still be manned by conscription in the future, and that only units on constant combat readiness will be fully manned by volunteers on a contract basis.

The Defense Ministry said recently that the Armed Forces have been reduced to 1,134,000 men at present, and that Russia will continue gradual reductions with the goal of achieving a level of 1,000,000 servicemen by 2010.

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