I’ve written before about the recruitment woes of the Russian army. For one thing, there’s the brutality of the hazing known as “dedovshchina” that kills hundreds annually and makes any able-bodied young Russian male go faint — so faint that, last year, 100,000 of them dodged the draft. But then there’s the fact that there aren’t many able-bodied young Russian men to begin with: nearly 30% of recruits have to be turned away for health reasons. (Apparently, the problem of low male life expectancy starts early here.)
The solution? According to a document published by Rossiiskaya Gazeta, the official paper of the Kremlin, the solution is to start tracking all boys starting at the age of 10 to make sure that they are physically and psychologically fit to serve — or, put another way, so they have no excuse not to. Among the many vague proposals, the document recommended access to better health care, addressing rampant alcohol and drug use, more “military-patriotic education,” opening regional “cadet centers,” and teaching future recruits “militarily-applicable sports.”
Then, at the second stage, which starts in 2013, give them electronic passports so you can really track them.
As to why young Russian men seem to be unwilling to serve to begin with, the chief reason, according to the document, is an “unwillingness to carry out Constitutional duties.” Hazing, however, is not mentioned once.