Russian President issued decree to enable foreign soldiers to serve in Russian Military

Jan 7, 2015 18:21 IST

Russian President Vladimir Putin on 6 January 2015 issued a decree to enable foreign soldiers to serve in Russian Military for at least five years.  The foreigners can serve in Russian Military only if they can speak Russian.

Earlier, they were required to get Russian citizenship to serve in Russian Military, or a paper granting them Russian citizenship rights, but now they can serve legally without Russian citizenship.

Decree on recruiting foreign soldiers is part of move to professionalise the Russian armed forces. However, this decree does have diplomatic implications for Russia's relations with ex-Soviet republics.

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Russian military experts Pavel Felgenhauer and Alexander Golts both told that the new decree would legalise a situation that had already existed for several years in areas where Russian troops were deployed beyond Russia's borders.

Already, there are about 300 foreigners in the Russian forces. Earlier, thousands of Tajiks had served under Russian officers during unrest in Tajikistan in the 1990s.

In the Caucasus, Russia still operates a military base in Armenia and has troops in two breakaway parts of Georgia - Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

It would make it easier for Russian forces to recruit locals in parts of Central Asia, the Caucasus and in Trans-Dniester, the pro-Russian breakaway territory in Moldova.

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