Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 68

With Spring comes a ritual dreaded by most of Russia’s young men — the beginning of the semi-annual call-up for military service. On April 4 President Boris Yeltsin’s press service announced that the president had signed a decree ordering the induction of 214,160 conscripts by the end of June. (Interfax, April 4) This number is just slightly under the 215,000 quota for last year’s Fall draft. And while military authorities claimed to have fulfilled that quota, only 117,300 of those draftees entered the regular armed forces — leaving the army with a shortfall of more than 22,000 from the 65 percent share of the draft that it had expected.

Despite the end of the war in Chechnya, more and more youths continue each year to evade the draft, and draft dodging remains the only realistic alternative for those 18 to 20 year olds who do not qualify for a deferment. While alternative service has been recognized in principle, no laws have been passed to implement it. Currently the State Duma’s Defense Committee is working on the draft of such a law but last week one of its experts acknowledged that there was not unity of views on the issue. (Itar-Tass, April 2)

World Health Organization Issues Travel Advisory.