Russia’s military draft devours its conscripts, but it is a picky eater. Exemptions and deferments protect about 80 percent of draft-age males from each year’s call-ups. But despite the readiness to shelter the children of privilege, parliament has not been willing to implement the provision of the constitution that makes civilian service a legal alternative for those who are drafted. Two bills are now pending in the Duma, which held hearings March 16. A liberal bill provides for three years of alternative service (one more year than the military draft), in the draftee’s home region, in purely civilian occupations. A rival bill, introduced earlier this month reportedly with military backing, would require a draftee seeking alternative service to provide proof of religious convictions or health problems or family circumstances incompatible with military service. Alternative service under this bill would last three or four years, outside the draftee’s home region, and may permit the armed services to employ the draftee in support roles or on military construction projects. A third, even more draconian bill may be dropped in the hopper before the Duma takes up the issue again in April.