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The World

The Soviet military announced abolition of the controversial student draft, a move it said has been made possible by the Kremlin’s planned unilateral, 500,000-troop cutback in the size of its armed forces. The decision appears to mark the first tentative step toward a reshaping of the country’s huge conscript army into an all-volunteer, professional force. The announcement suggested, in addition, that Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev is succeeding in his drive to extend his reform program to the military. Until just a few months ago, senior military figures had strongly opposed abolition of student conscription on the grounds that it could undermine defense capability.


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