Turkmenistan increasing poverty, brought about largely because large subsidies from Russia are no longer available, has now reached education. A new law requires all college applicants to have first done their military service, or two years of equivalent service. During the Soviet period, when the wealthier parts of the Soviet Union (mainly Russia) heavily subsidized social services in the Central Asian areas, 40,000 Turkmen a year could go to college. Now it's only 3,900. Young men are drafted at 17, and paid about four dollars a month.