Latvia reintroduces compulsory military service

In response to Russia's war against Ukraine, Latvia is reintroducing compulsory military service for men from 2023. Since 2007 - three years after joining Nato - the Latvian armed forces have consisted only of professional soldiers, alongside a National Guard made up of volunteers. The national press assesses this innovation positively, yet in part as insufficient.

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Latvijas Avīze (LV) /

Only way to secure sufficient reservists

Latvijas avīze welcomes the decision:

“Today, the main reason countries like Latvia need universal conscription can be summed up in one word: reservists. We cannot afford a large army. But it is important to have a sufficient number of militarily trained people who know what it means to hold a weapon in their hands ... Very wealthy countries like the United States, secure countries or countries that base their security on the security guarantees of another country can afford to dispense with conscription. Latvia has long tried to avoid conscription. Now it seems this is no longer possible.”

Neatkarīgā (LV) /

National defence not just a job for men

Conscription should also be introduced for women, Neatkariga demands:

“We are all citizens of Latvia and should all bear the same responsibility. ... It is widely known that the behaviour of women and men when they are only among representatives of their own sex differs significantly from the behaviour when both sexes are together. The presence of a member of the opposite sex fundamentally changes the behaviour of all members of the group. In a war where human lives are at stake, these differences in behaviour can play a critical role. If both sexes take up arms in Israel, why should this not work in Latvia?”