Celebrations marking Defender of the Fatherland Day in Sevastopol in Crimea. Photograph: TASS / Barcroft Media
Russian authorities in annexed territory celebrate Soviet holiday by telling male infants to report for duty in 2032. Meduza reports.
Russian authorities in Crimea have formally presented newborn boys with military draft notices alongside the more usual birth certificates, calling on them to report for duty in 2032.
The Crimean government handed out the notices to newborn boys during a solemn ceremony in the Sevastopol civil registry office as part of celebrations for an annual holiday known as Defender of the Fatherland Day on 23 February.
Parents took an oath on behalf of their sons, with similar ceremonies held in other Sevastopol city districts. Representatives of Crimean military recruitment congratulated the parents and presented them gifts.
Authorities said they wanted to observe “the solemn rite of registering the births of ‘Russia’s glorious sons’”. It is unclear whether draft notices were distributed throughout Crimea or just in Simferopol.
The papers contained a small error, however. According to Russian law registration is required in the year a man turns 17, meaning infants born in Simferopol last week only need to enlist in 2033.
The holiday, also known as Men’s Day, is widely celebrated in the former Soviet Union. It was originally intended to mark the creation of the Red Army in 1918 but has become less militaristic in recent years and used as an occasion to pay tribute to male relatives and friends.
Russia seized control of Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014 after supporting a takeover of the local administration, sending in troops in unmarked uniforms and staging a referendum dismissed around the world as illegitimate.
A version of this article first appeared on Meduza.io