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    Russian military to consist of university graduates - minister

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    The Russian military at some point will consist of recruits who have received a higher education degree, not yesterday's high school graduates, Education Minister Andrei Fursenko said on Friday.

    The Russian military at some point will consist of recruits who have received a higher education degree, not yesterday's high school graduates, Education Minister Andrei Fursenko said on Friday.

    "I think that at some point people will be recruited after [receiving] professional education, rather than right after school," Fursenko told the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

    On Thursday, Fursenko told journalists the age of 21 to 23 was optimal for conscription.

    "It is important to understand that everything is leading up to this," he went on. "A transfer to contract-based armed forces in the midterm is hardly possible, but recruitment after higher education... seems realistic. I think we should move in this direction," he added.

    Russia's armed forces have long been regarded with something approaching awe but are now in parlous state. While there are long-running plans to phase out conscription altogether, for thousands of Russian young men every year it is still as inescapable as ever.

    Conscripts complain of bullying, malnutrition and poor living conditions. Many officers are reported to be suffering from psychiatric illnesses.

    ST. PETERSBURG, June 18 (RIA Novosti) 

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