Defense expert Alexander Golts, writing in the Moscow Times:
General Nikolai Makarov, chief of the General Staff, caused a stir last week after he said to journalists: “We aim to create a professional army. We can’t make it happen in a short time period, but year by year there will be an increase in the number of contract military personnel.”
Interestingly enough, only one month ago Makarov said the exact opposite. “We will not switch to a contract-based army. Instead, we will be drafting more soldiers …” to fill the gap.
U.S. News & World Report reports on Russian military service and displays of patriotism:
Misha, a subdued, blond 21-year-old, recently sat in the run-down Moscow office of the Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers, an advocacy group that offers advice to soldiers and men of draft age. After ignoring a draft summons, police had come to his mother’s apartment to seize Misha, who declined to give his surname for fear of reprisals, and cart him off to a conscription office, from where he’d be sent to his barracks, possibly somewhere distant like Siberia or the Far North. He wasn’t home.
Tatyana Znachkova, the teacherlike head of the committee in Moscow, advised him to hide at his grandmother’s. She also told Misha’s mother, as she has told thousands of other mothers, how to deflect the police without making them think he was dodging the draft, a criminal offense. “You say, ‘Oh, how unlucky! He sent a text just yesterday saying he was spending the night at his girlfriend’s.’ ”