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Soviet Union Table of Contents

Soviet Union


According to the Soviet Constitution, all citizens have a "sacred" duty to defend the Soviet Union, to enhance its power and prestige, and to serve in its armed forces. The armed forces have been manned through conscription based on the provisions of the 1967 Law on Universal Military Service. In 1989 about 75 percent of Soviet armed forces personnel were conscripts, and 5 percent were career noncommissioned officers (NCOs). The professional officer corps constituted 20 percent of the armed forces. An extensive reserve and mobilization system would augment regular forces in wartime. The Soviet Union also had a compulsory premilitary training program for the country's youth. In the late 1980s, the number of draft-age youths was stable, but fewer Russians and more non-Russians were being inducted into the armed forces.

Data as of May 1989