March 9, 2014:
In Russia a recent opinion poll found that 48 percent of the population wanted conscription to remain while 40 percent believe an all-volunteer force was the way to go. Currently a third of the population admits that they would help friends or family avoid the draft any way they could. While about half the population says they would want their sons to be conscripted, in practice more than half actively aid their kids in bribing or deceiving themselves out of getting conscripted.
In response the government has reduced the time conscripts have to serve from two years to one. This process began in 2006 and by 2008 it was one year. That was still too much for many parents, and potential conscripts. The army was seen as a corrupt and dangerous place. This was correct on both counts. The draft dodging has become so widespread and successful that the military only has about 77 percent of the people it is authorized to have. For this reason the government spends a lot of money on the nuclear weapons and delivery systems (especially ICBMs). The nukes have become the first line of defense. About 100,000 elite combat troops (paratroopers and commandos) are well taken care of and expected to handle emergencies. But a large scale invasion would have to be nuked, because the military can no longer depend on large numbers of trained and armed ground troops to be there to oppose the invader. But most Russians know that the government has taken good care of the nukes and that these weapons discourage potential invaders. This makes draft dodging more acceptable to most people.