Did you know that every Russian male from 18 to 27 is an army conscript?
When Victor Nikiforov turned 18, he was due to be drafted the next April for two years (or for one year after 2008). No one would care he’s a world-famous athlete, no one would let him keep training when he’s in the army. That would be the death of his skating for sure.
So, since it’s evident from his spectacular career that he didn’t actually go to the army, he must have used one of the loopholes to avoid getting drafted, and each loophole adds something to his character.
The easiest way for a world-famous athlete would be to live abroad (non-residents don’t get drafted even if they are Russian citizens), but since he lives in St. Petersburg, he obviously didn’t go for that option (another question is WHY? He must have considered that at some point; avoiding drafting is a primary objective of every Russian boy in St. Petersburg, let alone one whose life would literally be ruined by two years in the army).
The most likely way of avoiding the army if he decided to stay in Russia was going to college (it’s not called “college” in Russia, but whatever), and then proceeding all the way to the doctorate. One only gets a get-out-of-jailarmy card while he’s getting his education full-time; once he finishes college/university, he gets drafted the next October or April. Unless he gets a doctorate, because then he’s free. Victor would graduate college/university (five or six years, from 17 or 18) at 23, 24 tops, so he had three or four years left to cover after that. Hence, he had to take a post-grad course and there’s a good chance he has a doctorate.
There’s also a chance he got a military degree while in college. That’s an option, too: you sort of double-major and get a military rank at the same time you get your civilian degree. If he used this way out, he’s a reserve sergeant lieutenant. Still can be drafted at any time as an officer, but that never really happens unless there’s a big war (which in Viktor’s lifetime hasn’t happened so far). This option is worse than the first two, because he’s not free once he hits 27.
Other less likely reasons include:
- having a child in his care if there’s no one else to take care of this child. It could be a sibling or a son/daughter, but Victor has to be literally the only one in the world who can legally take care of the child;
- having two or more children - then it doesn’t matter whether or not they have other relatives as long as Victor is the father;
- having a medical reason, but it’s hard think of a medical condition that can be used to avoid the army and still make him well enough for figure skating. Asthma maybe? Diabetes?
- having a disabled person in his care - once again, there mustn’t be anyone else who can take care of them;
- having lost a father or a brother in a military conflict - actually, Victor could have a father who died in Afghanistan or an older brother who died in Chechnya.
- having bribed some authorities to make them forget you exist. Seeing it’s Victor Nikiforov we’re talking about, making people forget about him would cost a lot of money.
Yakov would totally do that, but would Victor go for it?
There’s also an alternative civilian service, but it’s nearly impossible to get a spot there and in terms of keeping in shape and being able to compete afterwards it’s about as bad as the army.
So. Conscription means there’s something about Victor we don’t know yet.
Also, Otabek is going through the avoid-the-army dance right now, because it’s pretty much the same way in Kazakhstan, as far as I know. And Yurio is next.
EDIT: Turns out, his is not entirely true. See comments and reblogs for the way it works in the real world for actual Russian athletes - they do, in fact, have more options than ordinary people, which is great for them and sad for fanfiction.