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    MOST RUSSIANS ADVOCATING PROFESSIONAL ARMY

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    MOSCOW, May 13, (RIA Novosti's Nikolai Zherebtsov) - 55 percent of all Russians advocate the switch-over of this country's Armed Forces to contract service. Meanwhile only 23 percent of all respondents prefer conscription.

    These opinion-poll statistics were circulated by Yury Levada's independent sociological analytical center (also called the Levada Center), which conducted its own sample survey involving 1,591 Russian adults April 24-27. The poll's statistical-error margin totalled 3.4 percent.

    Moreover, the sample survey revealed that 51 percent of all Russian citizens want college-and-university students to serve in the army without any deferments whatsoever. Another 44 percent advocate such deferments.

    Respondents were also asked whether Russia should retain its military bases in other countries, what with 76 percent of those polled noting that Russia must maintain military bases in Akhalkalaki and Adzharia (Georgia). 73 percent would like Russia to keep its military bases in Transdniestria (the self-proclaimed Moldovan republic with a predominantly Russian-speaking population). 78 percent said that Russia must not withdraw from Sevastopol, which is the main base of its Black Sea fleet (the Crimea). And another 75 percent said that the 201-st mechanized-infantry division must remain in Tajikistan.

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