Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 182

With the prestige and morale of the armed forces at an all-time low, the Russian military — along with the other "power structures" — is about to embark on another semi-annual draft of 18-year-old men. President Boris Yeltsin’s decree of September 29 said that the goal of the October-December call-up was to induct 215,000 new conscripts, compared with the 200,200 inducted in the spring. Only 65 percent of those drafted will serve in the traditional armed forces. The rest will be parceled out to some 23 other ministries and agencies, including such seemingly unimportant ones as the Federal Road Building Agency.

It is likely that more youths than ever before will evade the draft. Some 31,000 young men were said to have failed to report for duty in the last call-up and the rate has been steadily climbing since 1989. Moreover, the majority of those who do show up are not happy about their fate. Recent polls conducted by the Defense Ministry indicate that more than 50 percent of recent inductees did not want to continue their service, and one in three said their parents were absolutely opposed to their military service. Only 10 percent felt they were performing their patriotic duty. Nearly one-third expressed a fear of being mistreated in the barracks. The new conscript are also likely to be less healthy and less educated than the military would like. Recently three out of every ten draftees failed to meet the minimum physical standards. In 1995, only 3.5 percent of the conscripts had a higher education and 5.2 percent had been convicted of a crime. (RIA 30 September, Nezavisimoye voennoye obozreniye 26 September)

U.S. Congress Calls for Withdrawal of Russian Troops from Moldova.