Defence force conscripts to be allowed to leave barracks at night ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

The 1st Infantry Brigade at a formation this summer.
The 1st Infantry Brigade at a formation this summer. Source:

The Defence Forces are planning to allow conscripts to leave their barracks at night as long as they return the next morning, ERR reported on Sunday.

After conscripts have completed a seven-week training course and then an additional course, they will no longer have to stay in barracks for the night. 

Conscripts will be allowed to organize their free time as they wish but will have to come back the next morning.

Colonel Vahur Karus, the leader of the First Infantry Brigade, said the Scout Battalion had trialled the system for two years. In spring, the Pioneer Battalion used the same system and the feedback to the Defence Forces has been good.

Karus said that at the start of the trials it was very popular that all the soldiers wanted to try and leave the base for the night, but after a while, they just started to go to the cinema, shops, or theater and would then return to the barracks for the night.

He said the Defense Forces could implement the changes as early as January 2020, but currently, a technical solution to manage the change is being searched for so additional bureaucracy is not created.

Conscription is mandatory in Estonia, with conscripts having to serve for two years. However, it was reported last year that more and more young men are trying to avoid their military service.

Each year, approximately 1,000 Estonian young men pay the state a total of €150,000 in fines and penalties rather than serve conscription when called up, ERR News reported.

The Defence Ministry would also like to increase the number of conscripts it recruits each year.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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