Last Updated: Wednesday, 02 December 2015, 05:56 GMT

Latvia: Information on conscription and alternative service and reserve duty

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 June 1993
Citation / Document Symbol LVA14313
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Latvia: Information on conscription and alternative service and reserve duty, 1 June 1993, LVA14313, available at: [accessed 2 December 2015]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.



For information on this subject up to June 1992, please refer to the DIRB Question and Answer Series report entitled CIS, Baltic States and Georgia: military Service. It indicates that a spring draft was carried out in 1992 and provides information on the terms of military service and alternative service in Latvia.

An attached article provides details as to who is eligible to be drafted and indicates that alternative service in the form of "labor" is available (Baltfax 2 Oct. 1992).

It was not until early November 1992, however, that the Latvian parliament passed two laws formulating the "principles of recruiting for the defense forces" and "responsibilities for nonobservance of the law," a possible reference to penalties for draft evasion (Radio Riga Network 4 Nov. 1992; Baltfax 6 Nov. 1992).

The Latvian armed forces reportedly consist of a number of components, including defense forces, a security service and the Zemessardze, "voluntary armed formations defending Latvian territory" (Baltfax 6 Nov. 1992). There is also a "Home Defense Guard," but it is unclear from a 9 January 1993 report whether membership is voluntary or subject to conscription (Radio Riga Network).

A recent report indicates that only Latvian citizens are subject to the terms of conscription but that permanent residents who are not citizens can join the armed forces voluntarily (Baltfax 11 Mar. 1993).

Additional and/or corroborating information is currently unavailable to the DIRB.


Baltfax [Moscow, in English]. 11 march 1993. "Only Citizens to be Conscripted During April Campaign." (FBIS-SOV-93-047 12 Mar. 1993, p. 73)

_____. 6 November 1992. "Parliament Passes Law on Defense." (FBIS-SOV-92-216 6 Nov. 1992, p. 70)

_____. 2 October 1992. "Official Comments on Beginning of State Service Draft." (FBIS-SOV-92-193 5 Oct. 1992, p. 73)

Radio Riga Network [in Latvian]. 9 January 1993. "Meeting Discusses Home Defense Guard Role." (FBIS-SOV-93-006 11 Jan. 1993, p. 56)

_____. 4 November 1992. "Parliament Adopts Defense, Internal Affairs Bills." (FBIS-SOV-92-215 5 Nov. 1992, p. 73)

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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