Conscription–A Hot Career Move

by Nathan Hamm on 10/20/2004

IWPR reports that so many young Uzbek men have tried to enlist (rather than avoid) for their mandatory year of military service, that only the best will be accepted. Why?

It’s not that army life has improved much, but more and more young men are trying to join up because of the job opportunities that will open up afterwards.

In a country with high levels of unemployment, young people are keen to find work in the public sector, particularly in the law-enforcement agencies where there are both job vacancies and good pay. But the interior ministry police, the National Security Service, the prosecution service, and the tax and customs offices recruit only people who have done military service.

Deputy Defence Minister Mannobjon Ahmedov recently gave a press conference where he said an army background was now seen as good news, because ex-servicemen receive benefits such as lower entry requirements for university.

The government recently ordered the labour ministry to find jobs for anyone completing military service.

Young people interviewed by IWPR said they were keen to join the army to avoid unemployment.

Making competition more intensive, IWPR says, is the gradual downsizing of the Uzbek armed forces. To create opportunities for unfit recruits, the Defence Ministry is offering one month courses at a price of 163,000 so’m featuring intensive training and offering a completion of service certificate.

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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