Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 145

Russia’s regular military forces are currently staffed at just under 89 percent of their authorized strength, as various draft deferments still free some 75 percent of all young men from service, Russia’s Defense Ministry reports. It also says that criminal proceeding have been instituted against 18,000 of some 31,000 draft resistors, but that only 60 have been convicted. According to the same report, contract military service remains a disappointment in the armed forces. More than 50,000 contract volunteers are said to have terminated their contracts because of dissatisfaction over low pay and a poorly developed military infrastructure. Contract volunteers also cost 4-5 times more than conscripts, the report adds, and concludes that the transfer to a fully professional army (which President Boris Yeltsin has called for by the year 2000) "does not seem possible." The Defense Ministry report also bemoans the potential passage of a law on alternative military service, which it says could cost the army 150,000 conscripts every year. Most notably, perhaps, the army also continues to hemorrhage junior officers. More than 113,000 reportedly left the armed forces from 1992-1995. (Russian Defense Ministry press reports, undated)

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