Those are relatively old articles (2009 and 2012). Now, Russian military forces can make more money than oil and gas workers.
Conscription is needed as it means that during a major wartime, they will have people who are capable of fighting rather then sending a bunch of farmers with no experience, to go die somewhere. This was due to the fact that the second world war has helped caused major casualties for Russia. People say third world war will never happen, but I am pretty certain they said the same thing after the first world war about a second one not happening.
Russia is moving to a mix of conscription/contract based military. Now with the introduction of allowing the creation of private military companies, I can imagine that those will somehow be included as well. But in reality, a huge portion of soldiers use in Iraq as example has been private military. That is in both dealing against Saddam and his troops (whom, regardless of size of army, was all poorly trained, equipped and lacked proper general as Saddam never had military experience yet was in charge of the tactics used). So in the end, they didn't make much difference in against US. But, and the big but, is that many more US lives have been lost, but they are not accounted for, simply because they are private military. Yet, they should be accounted for, since that they are doing many of the same jobs as the US soldiers are doing.
Russia is now going to see at least 1/3 of its military as contract. So conscripts have a chance to continue on and become contract to do better. But replacing all of them for contract is not smart, because if incase shit really hit the fan, then they will be in desperate need of troops and even contract ones are hard to find. I remember during the beginning of the war in Iraq, they were having such difficulties in finding soldiers, they had to turn to National guard and other weekend warriors to go and fight in Iraq/Afghanistan. I also remember when I was working at the US consulate, I had a fair share of people coming in to go and see someone about moving to US. When I asked to see papers, it was military papers about their acceptance into the USMC. I asked why they didn't join Canadian Army as these guys are Canadian, and they said because they had criminal records..... So in the US, they also loosened rules as well, to obtain people.
US spends a lot of money on the military, but if you actually break it down, a lot of it actually goes to the big people, to the maintenance of the military bases it has around the world, and pay/compensation to the military units themselves. Equipment payments and R&D falls somewhere around $100B which is still a lot, but not much more than China as example. So this also in turn does make what Werewolf was saying correct about poorly equipped. Don't forget, many of the equipment in US military is heavily overpriced. My father used to work for Sperry who made military gear for the navy of both nations, as well as radar equipment (worked up in the Dew Lines during the cold war) and he would state that they were heavily overpriced and they were able to get similar modules for its radar from Cezckoslovakia at much cheaper rates.
Hummvees, Bradlys, M1's all of that, are very expensive equipment. They are not necessarily better (actually, the Hummers were garbage many would say, and the Bradly's were being used in rolls that it shouldn't have, due to weaker armour). But they also have to take into account that the people working at these facilities are well paid individual and the companies they are buying from are private (thus they require a profit margin). Russian companies alternatively, are State run and the employees are paid semi-decently (depending on the location. Some are paid worst than a person working at a cell phone booth in Moscow, and some are paid well), and the equipment is not really all that expensive, but are practical. Example is that an M1 tank will go around $4 - $5 million where a T-90 will run around $2 - $3 Million. This is just an example.
Russia, due to its smaller population than USA/China/India, has to rely on conscription due to the fact that if there is a major war, they will have to muster up quite a few million people. In that case, it is better to have the people partially trained already rather than sending farmers to die. In China, India and USA, where they have a larger population, they could get away with having conscription. Actually, India and China specifically, because even if they cannot get that many people to join, that "not many" could be 10 - 20 million soldiers as both the countries population is enormous. USA on the other hand has no public schools but what it does offer, is free schooling (so no student loans) when you join the army, and a guarantee pay cheque and medical care. Russia? Well, school is pretty much already free, so is medical care and social benefits. What is the incentive of joining the Russian army for Russian's? Not much other than a potential to make good money in the future. But if you go to university, set up your own business in IT or what not, you can make millions, or work for an overseas company that can get you a fortune in itself. So even then, contract soldiers, they may still find it hard to get people. Hence why conscription is needed. But, the thing is, there are people you can still pay off (although, many people are now ending up in jail over such corruption) to get out of military service, and as well, there is this loose rule that if you are already destined to go to university (accepted), then you avoid military service.
Israel has conscription. Look at the quality of their soldiers for being mostly conscripts. They are well trained and well disciplined troops. Effective of what they do. If they didn't have conscription, then they would probably be really hard pressed to find troops. If they didn't have a strict conscription, then there would be many more ways to avoid military service.