Russia excludes some bankers, IT workers from army draft

Russia excludes some bankers, IT workers from army draft

Russia has exempted some bankers, IT workers and journalists from being drafted into the army to serve in Ukraine under President Vladimir Putin's mobilisation.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Wednesday that Russia would try to summon up 300,000 additional troops for Russia's war in Ukraine in a section of the official decree announcing mobilization which included the number of people who would be drafted was kept secret and unpublished, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Russia's defence ministry said that some employees working in critical industries would be excluded from the draft in order to protect the work of specific high-tech industries and Russia's financial system. The exceptions apply to some IT workers, telecommunications workers, finance professionals, as well as some employees at systemically important mass media outlets and interdependent suppliers, including registered media and broadcasters.

Russia classifies major employers and core companies as systemically important if they meet certain thresholds in terms of headcount, revenue or annual tax payments.

The classification allows firms to get special benefits from the Kremlin such as government backed loans, bailouts and state investment, most recently during the COVID 19 epidemic.

Among the media outlets classified as such are state-owned TV channels, radio stations, news agencies and newspapers, as well as some of Russia's few privately held media outlets.

Heads of companies should draw up lists of employees who meet the criteria and can be excluded from the draft, according to the defence ministry.

Many Russian companies appear to have been caught off guard by Putin's mobilisation 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.

A source at a large non-state company told Reuters on Friday that they were trying to understand how this will work.

Russia's central bank said that some of its staff met the relevant criteria and that they were able to exclude some financial professionals from being called up.

The central bank said in a statement that employees who are engaged in critical areas will be kept in their positions so that the financial system can continue to work smoothly, people can receive their salaries, pensions and social benefits on time, card payments and transfers work and new loans can be issued.