Fearful of Russia, Latvia Reintroduces the Draft

The government of Latvia confirmed this week that it has reintroduced conscription, part of an ongoing trend of European militarization. This small East European nation, which shares a border with Russia, joined nato in 2004 and abolished conscription two years later. But now, witnessing the horrors of Russia’s war on Ukraine, the Latvians fear that nato membership may not be enough to deter a Russian attack.

The new law, which took effect in January, requires all eligible male citizens ages 18 to 27 to complete one year of military service. This includes Latvian men living abroad.

Meanwhile, Latvia has also been restocking its arsenals, multiplying its reserve forces, and working to better integrate its military with those of other European nations.

This comes as other European nations are remilitarizing: Finland joined nato last year, Sweden is in the process of doing so, Poland is carrying out a historic military expansion, and Germany created a special military fund of €100 billion (us$107.6 billion). Terrified of Russia’s power and aggression, these and other European nations are also integrating their militaries with one another.

As the war continues, expect further militarization and unification as Europe prepares to combat the Russian war machine and other powers.