The Public Opinion Foundation (FOM) just published a major poll looking at Russian attitudes toward the callup and obligatory military service. It’s 48 pages, but here are some highlights.
The poll was conducted in July, with 3,000 respondents in 204 populated places in 64 of Russia’s regions.
Fifty-two percent of respondents favor a mixed manning system combining conscription with contract service, and 23 percent favor the callup only.
Sixty-four percent support the announced plan to cut conscripts and increase contract soldiers, although only 22 percent would support taking money from education and health care to pay for them. Survey participants on average thought 34,500 rubles was worthy pay for contractees.
Fifty-five percent liked reducing conscript service from two years to one while 37 percent did not. In the 18-30 age group, 65% supported the shorter service term.
In the population as a whole, 29% believe one-year service has reduced dedovshchina and “nonregulation relations” against 46 percent who feel nothing’s changed by it. There were fewer of the former and more of the latter among respondents claiming intimate knowledge of army life.
The FOM poll showed strong support for a number of Defense Ministry initiatives to “humanize” conscript service.
Fifty-four percent were critical of draft evaders, but 34% were sympathetic toward them.
Finally, buried deep in the results, participants were asked for their views on the state of affairs in the Russian Army in coming years:
- 19% said it will improve.
- 19% said it will worsen.
- 35% said it will stay the same.
- 26% said hard to answer.
However, when asked to compare military service conditions today against those 10-15 years ago, more respondents said they are easier (39%), and many fewer said they are harder (14%), by comparison with Russians asked the same question in 2002 (just 6% and a whopping 64% respectively).