On April 30, President Yeltsin signed a law extending military service from 18 months to two years and ending most student deferments, Interfax reported. That law, rammed through the Russian parliament in April, had drawn stinging comment from many Russians. Former acting Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar, for example, had called on Yeltsin to veto it, saying in the April 4 Izvestiya that the army should be reduced in size. And polls showed little support for the measure. In an attempt to disarm his critics, the Russian president simultaneously issued a decree granting deferments to young scientists. That exemption is likely to spur other groups to seek deferments as well.
The Strength of Weakness.