Conscription (the draft)
As opposed to most European countries, conscription is still mandatory in Russia.
Since the fall of the Soviet Union, there have been various attempts to change the system – for instance, since 2008 the term was reduced from 2 years to 1 year.
One of the crucial characteristics of the Russian conscription is called dedovshchina – reign of grandfathers – almost institulanised practice of abuse and humiliation of younger soldiers by officers. Throughout many years, there have been several cases of deaths and suicides caused by dedovshina .
Regardless of the possible consequences, the Russian army still is considered to be a social lift – most of the time, those who cannot find a way out of it are of lower social classes.
Additionally, during the Ukrainian war it has been reported many times that most of the soldiers are from the poorest regions of Russia.
To put a human face to social phenomena, we recommend you to read a few stories of real Russians against the war. Some of them are brave activists, some of them just ordinary people. In any case, they vehemently disagree with the actions of their country (and this position affected their life in one way or another).
On 24th February 2022 Russian federation shocked the world when it invaded Ukraine. Was it entirely unexpected or where there signs of such event long before? And could it have ended in any different way?
The Russian post-Soviet history is a fascinating story full of both optimism and despair, civic resiliance and passivity and many unexpected turns. Some eras brought hope of more liberal society and cooperation with west, while others crushed that dream entirely.
Read our Timeline of Russian history. We put milestone events familiar from news into a bigger picture for you.