Russian Army Becomes More Professional

3At the beginning of December Sergey Shoygu declared that they were continuing to create modern professional army, and the Ministry of Defence would gradually reduce the number of the military personnel on an appeal and to increase number of soldiers and sergeants-contract employees. Today there are more than 215 thousand people. By 2017 has to be almost twice more – 425 thousand. And the detailed calculations carried out by the General Staff showed that need of Armed forces for contract employees of this category – 500 thousand people. The management of the Ministry of Defence also intends to reach this indicator by 2020. That is in 6 years our army will consist half of soldiers and sergeants-contract employees.

1We will add to them 225 thousand officers, 60 thousand ensigns and warrant officers, and as a result we will receive that the army to the specified term on 3/4 becomes professional (according to the Decree of the president in it one million positions of the military personnel).

5Russia’s Defense Ministry has proposed offering conscripts the choice of two years professional military service instead of the existing one year of mandatory service, a media report said Thursday, in a bid to increase the number of full-time soldiers.

The ministry has drafted the bill offering conscripts a choice between a year as conscripts or two as professional soldiers, Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Pankov said, Kommersant business daily reported on Wednesday.

The new proposal, reportedly already submitted to the Cabinet, aims to help the army boost the ranks of contract soldiers in the next three years.

2Under existing legislation, Russian men aged between 18 and 27 are obliged to serve a year in the army, that is often criticized by the human rights groups for its allegedly harsh conditions and hazing.  A high proportion of those potentially eligible to be called up avoid service with legal or medical exemptions or draft-dodging.

Having completed their service, conscripts can choose to continue their military service as professional contract soldiers.

4The Russian Armed Forces are in the midst of a major reorganization and re-equipment program that includes a transition to an all-professional force structure. The government plans to boost the number of professional soldiers from the current 205,000 to 425,000 people by 2017.

However, the move to an all-professional force has been hamstrung by the reluctance of many young men to serve for low pay and poor conditions, and the diminishing number of young men available due to Russia’s demographic crisis.

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