Inside view on regular military service in Russia

Regular military service is no picnic. Recruits cannot choose where to serve and can be sent anywhere in Russia.

Regular military service is no picnic. Recruits cannot choose where to serve and can be sent anywhere in Russia.

Pavel Volkov
Regular military service is obligatory for all young men in Russia.
Regular military service is obligatory for all young men in Russia aged 18-27. Studying at the university defers conscription. But not everyone in Russia is willing to serve.
And there is another option that is not popular right now – recruits can swap one year of military service for two years of working in a state organization, hospital, post office, or library. According to official figures, in 2013 only 0.2 percent of recruits choose this alternative service.
Some avoid military service by doing postgraduate studies; others ignore the call-up paper, pay a bribe, or sidestep the draft because of medical reasons. What’s more, professors and fathers of three or more children can avoid national service.
There are two call-ups in Russia: one in spring, the other in the fall, when the enlistment office works hard to find all the recruits it can.
There is no vacation or days off. Recruits remain on active service for one year.
The Russian Army was afflicted by a significant moral and material decline after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
But over the last seven years, the Russian Army has been able to revive itself and become one of the most efficient armies in the world.
Over the past year, Russia has played an active role in military operations and major training exercises, as well as continuing army reforms that began back in 2008.
Military service in Russia has historically acted as a career boost. In Soviet times, the army was known as the Workers’ and Peasants’ Army and it acquired a certain prestige.
Compulsory service in USSR lasted just 2-3 years and was regarded as an obligation for men.
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