VIDEO: Young Men Are Forced to Join Army in Tajikistan

As Tajikistan's military faces a struggle to get enough volunteer conscripts, recruitment officers often rely on illegal practices in drafting military-age men into the army. One of the most common among such practices is “oblava” which involves “military press gangs making sweeps of city streets, bazaars and bus stations, rounding up young men who meet the desired criteria [to serve their compulsory two-year-long service]”.

Blogger Rustam Gulov (aka Teocrat) has posted a mobile phone video which shows how “oblava” typically works:

In the video, a recruitment officer wearing a military uniform is aggressively trying to force a young man to go with him. The young man lies on the floor, while an older woman (presumably his mother) defends him and shouts at the officer, saying (in Tajik) that the young man is “ill”.

Over the last two years, Gulov has written much about “oblava”, condemning the practice, explaining that it is illegal, and telling young men what they need to do to avoid being forcefully drafted into the army.

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