Russia: December 6, 2002


  The armed forces announced that only 11 percent of Russian 18 year olds eligible for conscription actually serve. In addition to 22 legal reasons for avoiding service (medical, educational, etc), many simply bribe government officials or just don't show up. At the same time, the army announced that a unit commander had been convicted of beating his troops and stealing their pay, actions that caused 16 conscripts to flee their unit on December 4th. Punishment of corrupt officers, not to mention such swift punishment, has been rare. But president Putin has become fed up with resistance to reform by army officers and has ordered change, or else. This, however, does not guarantee that anything will actually happen.


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