Viorel Cibotaru: PDM’s decision to renounce mandatory military service will not be implemented

The Democratic Party’s decision to replace the mandatory military service with contract-based military service is populist and will not be implemented because it cannot be implemented in the way in which it was presented in an electoral year, before the election campaign, ex-minister of defense Viorel Cibotaru stated in the public debate “Professional army: motives, benefit, risks” that was staged by IPN News Agency and Radio Moldova.

Viorel Cibotaru said it is a classic example when a party that has the right to initiate political projects and reforms announces a political decision that wasn’t sufficiently discussed in society and over which no transparent feasibility study was made. “This is a populist proposal that has exactly two targets – the mothers of soldiers who are worried about the state of their sons who do the military service and those young men who do not want to serve in the National Army for various reasons and want to shirk responsibility,” he stated.

He said there are many problems related to the attractiveness of the defense sector, like the lack of apartments for service members employed on a contract, low salaries, lack of growth perspectives and old equipment. Nothing prevents the government from solving these problems, but nothing is done yet and the initiative of the PDM is just an electoral soap balloon.

The former minister noted the pre-military training of boys who turn 16 is essential. As essential are the military registration of citizens and the formation of the reserves. It is a pre-established objective process and the attempt by some protagonists to present these aspects as reminiscences of the Soviet Union is simply hazardous as most of the countries preserved conscription. The states that faced social problems like those invoked by the PDM solved them by other ways. For example, they diversified the conscription methods.

According to the ex-minister of defense, the regional context is very dangerous for Moldova’s security and will not improve soon. On the contrary, it will worsen. The Transnistrian issue will continue to be very pressing for the defense system of Moldova. The rulers should be preoccupied with how the army will look like now or in a week, not in 10-20 years.  

“The colleagues from civil society have recently launched a study of the military composition in Transnistria, which shows that the presence of uncontrolled troops on an occupied territory is an imminent danger. I think a well-trained army consisting of men who do the military service and have the feeling of patriotism is a force that discourages the enemy. I’m afraid that together with this army professionalization initiative, they could start to disband the national army and to reduce the number of service members and sell equipment that can be yet used, without purchasing new equipment instead,”  stated Viorel Cubotaru.

The public debate “Professional army: motives, benefit, risks” was the 88th installment of the series of debates “Developing political culture by public debates” that are staged with support from the Hanns Seidel Foundation of Germany.

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