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War Games

Sweden just brought back the draft — because of Russia

Sweden's government has decided to reintroduce the draft beginning in January of 2018, a move a Swedish defense ministry representative said was sparked by worries about "the change in our neighborhood" and specifically "Russian military activity."

Come January, some 4,000 Swedes, all born in 1999, will be called up from a pool of 13,000 potential conscripts. The initial draft term will last nine to 12 months, after which the conscripts will be encouraged to maintain a full- or part-time military career, perhaps as a reservist. Sweden's military spending will also increase by 15 percent.

The new draft will affect men and women alike; before Sweden's old draft system was shuttered in 2010, only men were drafted. A 2016 poll found six in 10 Swedes support a gender-neutral draft, though men and older generations ineligible for the draft were more positive about military service than women and young people who are subject to conscription.