On problems of drafting to military service

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A drafting campaign will begin in Russia on April 1. It will be carried out in new conditions. The conscript base was broadened. Henceforth, fathers having small children, as well as husbands of pregnant wives, students of vocational school and technical schools will go to the army. What is the attitude of the society to these processes?

To some extent, answers are provided by results of the poll done by VTSIOM (All-Russian Center for Study of Public Opinion) done in Russia between February 16 and 17. The poll covered 1,600 people in 153 populated localities in 46 regions, territories and republics of Russia. Here is the obtained data.

According to the poll, 74% of our compatriots are in general convinced that the Armed Forces can defend Russia in case of a real military threat (31% of respondents said “definitely yes,” 43% – “rather yes) and 17% had an opposite standpoint (4% – “definitely not,” 13% – “rather not”). Along with this, half of respondents (51%) advocates preserving of comprehensive military duty and obligatory service in the army, slightly more than one-third of respondents (39%) advocate transition to manning of the army only on contract principles and 10% cannot answer the question. Incidentally, the abolishment of the draft was advocated in the election programs by candidates for presidency Vladimir Zhirinovsky (LDPR) and Andrei Bogdanov (Democratic Party of Russia). Along with this, Bogdanov proposed passing a bill on the implementation of a single-time army tax for those unwilling to serve conscript service. However, these proposals did not shake the Russian public opinion and neither Zhirinovsky nor Bogdanov became presidents.

According to VTSIOM, 70% of respondents say that it is necessary to preserve the comprehensive military duty because men should have military training, 41% say that service in the army is a school of life, 37% say that service in the army makes real citizens from young men, 20% of respondents say that this is necessary because youths have always served in the army in Russia, 16% say that this provides the necessary strength of the Armed Forces and 15% say that due to military service young men will avoid unemployment, idleness and crime.

The polls shows that 54% of respondents agree in general with the abolishment of majority of the grounds for postponement of military service with simultaneous reduction of the service term to one year (33% say “definitely agree” and 21% say “rather agree”), 29% of respondents disagree with such changes (7% say “definitely disagree” and 22% say “rather disagree”). Besides, 17% of respondents cannot answer this question, 22% of respondents are concerned about the problems of draft and the abolishment of grounds for postponement of the army service primarily because they care about defensive capability of the country and 16% say that they care about the situation in the army.

According to the poll, these issues concern 20% of citizens because their sons or grandsons can be drafted, 12% because this concerns their acquaintances and friends and 5% because they can be drafted themselves. According to the poll, 20% of respondents do not care about these issues.

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