Policy Memos

Strong Public Support for Military Reform in Russia

Policy Memo:


Publication Date:




The Russian public strongly supports reform of the Russian military. In focus groups in summer 2002 and in a large-scale survey in January 2003, we found deep and widespread interest and anxiety associated with conditions in the military. Specifically, our January 2003 survey results show that barely half the Russian population of age 16 and over has confidence in the army. Three-fifths advocate a professional military instead of the current conscript-based force. Concern about brutal hazing of young recruits is nearly universal and sympathy for draft dodgers is surprisingly high. Over two-thirds advocate increased spending on the military, while 38 percent want a smaller military. In addition, two-thirds of likely voters view military reform as an important issue in choosing which party to vote for. Support for change in the military is especially strong among women from 30- to 49-years old and better-educated Russians. Support for the status quo is stronger among the oldest cohorts and those with the least education. [...]

About the author

Professor of Sociology
University of Wisconsin-Madison