Add to that a coaching change starting to take effect and doing military service – even if you probably have better conditions in military when you are an athlete, it still adds a disadvantage compared to other athletes. I think it was Alexander Uspenski who once in an Interview quite openly admitted that he went to university for the main reason that students don’t have to do military service in Russia. That gives you an impression that going to military is not really helpful to boost one’s skating career.
2. because he skated better a number of times at international competitions and was still placed behind his worse skating teammates (EC 2002, SLC SP, WC 2000 QR ….).
Come on, it’s not like that matters only in Russia if you are no. 1, 2 or 3 in your team or if a skater has support by his own fed when competing internationally.