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Half Russians believe country faces military threat - poll
February 23, 2008

One in two Russians believe that Russia currently faces a military threat from other countries, and most are sure that the armed forces are capable of defending the Motherland, Interfax reported on 20 February, citing a Levada Centre opinion poll conducted in the same month.

Over the last three years, the proportion of Russians that have confidence in the combat readiness of the modern Russian army has risen from 52 per cent to 73 per cent, the report said.

The main reason Russians give for not wanting to serve in the army is bullying (34 per cent of those surveyed), and most call bullying the main problem in the armed forces. Only 9 per cent of those polled consider cases of bullying to be isolated, while 42 per cent claim that it occurs in the majority of military units, the report said.

However, over the last two years the proportion of Russians that consider bullying to be the main enemy of the army has fallen 15 per cent and returned to its level in 2000.

In addition, the number of Russians that have a positive view of the army has increased in recent years. In 2000, 19 per cent of those polled did not object to their friends and family serving in the army; in 2008, this figure rose to 36 per cent. The proportion of Russians against military service has fallen accordingly: from 75 per cent to 53 per cent, the report said.

Some 48 per cent of Russians are currently in favour of the army switching to contract service, while 45 per cent prefer to maintain conscript service, the report also said.