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Soviet Union

Women in the Armed Forces

Under the Soviet Constitution, women have the same legal obligation as men for the defense of the Soviet Union and have been called on to discharge it. A women's battalion existed at the time of the Bolshevik Revolution and during the Civil War. Approximately 800,000 women served in both combat and noncombat roles during World War II. According to the 1967 Law on Universal Military Service, women with medical or other special training must register for the draft, but they have not been inducted. Women between nineteen and forty may volunteer for active duty. In wartime women would be drafted for "auxiliary or special duty." The 1967 law does not specify whether they would be used in combat. In the late 1980s, an estimated 10,000 to 30,000 women were serving in the armed forces in medical, communications, and administrative support positions. Women were not admitted to military education institutions, and few became officers. Many Western observers believe that the armed forces will have to rely more on women in the future as the number of available Slavic men declines.

Data as of May 1989