03 Sep 2018

Serbia may reinstate compulsory military service

Serbia considers the re-introduction of compulsory military service for men. The move may help improve the readiness of its army to prevent any possible attempts of aggression towards Serbia, President Aleksandar Vučić told the media.

Lidija Pisker
Lidija Pisker NewsMavens, Balkans
Serbia may reinstate compulsory military service - NewsMavens
Serbian soldiers, Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

Fans of Brother Cohen's classic "The Big Lebowski" will hopefully not be insulted by my mention of Walter Sobchak here, the gun-toting right-wing friend of the main character, The Dude. 

He's hyper-sensitive and prone to seeing threats everywhere.

And so is Aleksandar Vučić.

Some eight years after Serbia abolished it, Vučić is thinking of moving the country backwards by imposing compulsory military service. 

It's probably just a PR trick, but if it really happens, young Serbian men will be obliged to carry guns and live in barely tolerable conditions while playing wars and fighting each other. For no other reason but to artificially create tension in the Western Balkans and reinforce the atmosphere of fear. 

Vučić has used various occasions to claim that Serbian army will soon be the strongest one in the region. His alleged investments in the military are worth the admiration as well. But just who is he so afraid of? 

Just like Sobchak, Vučić tends to exaggerate.

In Sobchak's defense, The Dude's bowling partner is a war veteran and suffers from PTSD. Vučić, on the other hand, has the reputation of having been an incompetent military trainee and a soldier who escaped from the battlefield.

Details from the story:

  • Compulsory military service in Serbia was abolished in the beginning of 2011. 
  • President Vučić announced Serbia is considering the introduction of three to six months long compulsory military service, possibly from 2020 on, depending on the available budget. 
  • Some military experts say compulsory military service would cost too much and such a short period of service would not be sufficient to improve Serbia's defense capacities. Others say the announcement is one of Vučić's PR stunts, as he is already aware of the fact that the country doesn't have enough money for it. 
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