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March 30, 2005 2:00 AM

Russian draft collects `bums, real scum' as most defer dangerous military posts

A certain amount of panic will take hold of Russia on Friday, when the country begins its annual military draft. Generals will be panicked that theyll end up with another crop of druggies, convicts and misfits. Mothers will be terrified at handing over their sons to a military thats notorious for its brutal hazing of new recruits. And tens of thousands of draft-age young men will fear for their lives as they face two years of menial labor, sadistic senior officers, and, worst of all, a possible deployment to Chechnya. Many will wangle phony deferments, fail to report or simply flee.

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