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Large sums of money to avoid conscription: 'Cracks in Ukrainian morale'

Former Soviet satellites show more endemic characteristics of totalitarian state with corrupt oligarchs than a democratic regime.

After the corruption came to light, Zelensky immediately decided to fire all recruiting bosses, including those who have not been proven to be corrupt. A rigorous move, but one that fits his anti-corruption approach, says Laurien Crump, until recently associate professor of international relations at Utrecht University. "This is another signal to NATO and the EU that corruption is very high on his list of priorities. But more importantly, he shows that it will not be accepted if you avoid conscription."

All Ukrainian men between the ages of 18 and 60 are conscripted, but not everyone wants to fight. Since the beginning of the war, thousands of conscripted men have left the country. Many of them turn out to have enlisted the help of recruitment officials who, for example, falsified forms. They received amounts between 2,000 and 10,000 dollars per person.


The case came to light after the arrest of Odesa's recruiting chief last month. During the war he bought real estate in Spain worth 4.5 million dollars. The Ukrainian government launched an investigation, after which several cases came to light. There are now 112 criminal cases against dozens of officials from recruitment centers.

It is not known exactly how many men have bought off their military service, but Crump suspects that the numbers are large. "If one recruiting officer can make so much money with this, and it concerns at least dozens of corrupt officers, that says a lot about the scale on which this is happening. Although it will be a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of active military personnel."

And that says a lot about morale among Ukrainian men, argues Crump. "For a long time it seemed that the Ukrainians were on their way to defeating the Russians. But Russians have a long breath. Because Russia is a totalitarian regime, Vladimir Putin can open a can with soldiers, whether trained or not. Zelensky cannot."

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'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Sun Aug 20th, 2023 at 12:13:51 PM EST

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