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Friday, April 06, 2007

The Most Potent Foe of the Russian Army is the Russian Army

The Moscow Times reports that the Russian Army is running out of potential conscripts. Once again, it's shown to be far more dangerous to itself than any foreign army.

The government may soon have to eliminate all exemptions from military service in order to maintain the armed forces at full strength as the number of draft-age men continues to decline, activists said Wednesday. "2011 will be a bust in terms of conscription," military affairs journalist Alexander Golts said at the presentation of a report on conscription prepared last year by the interregional Soldiers' Mothers movement -- which is distinct from the Union of Soldiers' Mothers' Committees -- and 23 other nongovernmental organizations, Interfax reported. Golts said that in 2011 the military's conscription quota would be 400,000, with only 712,000 18-year-olds from whom to draw. Many will be exempt from the draft unless the government eliminates existing exemptions, such as those for university students, he said. "We believe that military recruitment and enlistment offices will have to abandon all of the exemptions" to cope with the shortage of able-bodied conscripts, Golts said. The report focuses primarily on violations of conscripts' rights. Researchers in seven regions found that conscripts denied valid exemptions accounted for 12 percent of all violations, while cases of recruitment officers misleading conscripts accounted for another 19 percent. The most common violation -- 22 percent of the total -- was the failure of doctors at enlistment stations to take full account of the state of conscripts' health. Draft-dodging is common in this country, and is motivated by a variety of factors, including the fear of violence or even death in hazing incidents committed by older service personnel. In Moscow alone, more than 3,000 men have avoided the ongoing spring conscription campaign, the city's chief recruitment officer, General Anatoly Khryachkov, told reporters on Wednesday, Interfax reported.

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