Russia: May 12, 2004


The Russian military wants to get rid of conscription, but can't afford to. The conscripts are paid only a few dollars a month. Replacing them with men getting competitive (with civilian jobs) salaries, would mean less money for badly needed new weapons and equipment. Even so, the government says it will eliminate conscription by 2007. Less than ten percent of the young men eligible for conscription are taken, compared to 25 percent in the early 1990s. Evading conscription has become rampant and quite open. While many of those who are taken in become excellent soldiers (most Russian Spetsnaz commandos are conscripts), the vast majority of Russian youngsters are not interested. 



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