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Putin says Russia's draft will be canceled over time. He has been saying this since he took office.

Meduza
Dmitry Feoktistov / TASS / Vida Press

On April 12, Russian president Vladimir Putin announced that the time has come for Russia’s nationwide draft to end, though “time and suitable funds will be necessary” to carry out the move. Many media sources quoted Putin’s statement. However, the president has been discussing a transition from mandatory to contractual military service in Russia since the beginning of his regime. In 2001, he even approved a government plan to shift to a contract army by 2010. Here’s what Putin has said about that option at various stages in his presidency.

2002

We will strive to acquire military force through a contract-based system, but economics will make it impossible for us to do this quickly.

Interfax

2004

We can’t fund a fully professional military using the government’s budget, especially where non-combat divisions are concerned. Otherwise, the military would be extremely expensive.

Interfax

2007

The State Duma has made a very thoughtful, correct decision by shortening the length of mandatory service to 12 months while preserving the draft.

RIA Novosti

2012

I believe it must be done. It’s a question of money. This is a very expensive thing. Will we be able to do it by 2015? I’m not sure.

RIA Novosti

2017

RIA Novosti

2018

At first, there were plans, there were ideas, to establish a fully contractual military. Then we looked at the matter, analyzed the experiences of many other countries, and it turns out that the draft persists almost in a majority of the countries in the world.

2019

Interfax