Russia excludes some IT professionals, bankers and journalists from mobilisation

A Russian service member stands next to a mobile recruitment center for military service under contract in Rostov-on-Don, Russia September 17, 2022. REUTERS/Sergey Pivovarov

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Sept 23 (Reuters) – Russia said on Friday it is exempting some bankers, IT staff and journalists from conscription to the army to serve as part of President Vladimir Putin’s mobilization in Ukraine.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday Russia will seek to call up 300,000 additional troops for Russia’s war in Ukraine, in what the Kremlin calls “partial mobilization.”

The section of the official decree announcing the mobilization, which included the number of people to be conscripted, was kept secret and unpublished, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

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The Russian Defense Ministry said some employees working in critically important industries would be excluded from the draft to “ensure the work of certain high-tech industries as well as the Russian financial system”.

The exceptions apply to some IT staff, telecom staff, finance professionals, as well as some employees of “essential” mass media and independent suppliers, including registered media and broadcasters.

Russia classifies large employers and core companies in certain industries as “essential” if they meet certain thresholds in terms of headcount, turnover or annual tax payments.

The classification allows companies to receive special benefits from the Kremlin such as government-backed loans, bailouts and government investments, most recently during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Media companies previously classified as such include a large number of state-owned television stations, radio stations, news agencies and newspapers, as well as some of Russia’s few private media companies.

The Department of Defense has asked company bosses to create lists of their employees who meet the criteria and can be excluded from the draft.

Many Russian companies appear to have been caught off guard by Putin’s mobilization order, which followed weeks of speculation about how Russia would respond to a conflict now entering its seventh month, in which Kyiv and the West say Russia has suffered tens of thousands of casualties.

“We’re investigating it for now. We’re trying to understand how that’s going to work,” a source at a major non-government company told Reuters on Friday, shortly after the Defense Ministry issued its statement.

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The Central Bank of Russia welcomed the move to exclude some financial experts from the convene, saying some of its staff met the relevant criteria.

“Employees working in critical areas are staying in their positions so that the financial system can continue to function smoothly, people receive their salaries, pensions and benefits on time, card payments and wire transfers work and new loans can be originated,” the said Central Bank in a statement.

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Reuters reporting; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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