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MOSCOW, February 20 (Itar-Tass) — The Russian army in the coming years will be increasingly manned with professionals and contract servicemen. “It is planned that by 2017 - with the total authorised strength of the Armed Forces of one million people – 700,000 will be “professionals:” officers, cadets of military academies, sergeants and soldiers-contractors. And by 2020 the number of conscripts will decrease to 145,000,” Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin wrote in his article published by the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily on Monday.
The prime minister noted that said “the army is currently manned with 220,000 contract officers and 186,000 soldiers and sergeants.” According to him, “it is planned that 50,000 contractors will be recruited annually within the next five years who will be appointed to the posts of sergeants, sergeant majors, as well as specialists working with military equipment.”
Putin warned: “The selection will be very rigorous, multi-level.” He quoted Marshal Georgy Zhukov, who once said: “It’s me and the sergeants who are in command of the Army.” “The junior commanders make the backbone of the Army, they are the order, discipline, normal combat training. Such positions require decent people, with the appropriate moral, physical qualities, the educational level. Not only junior officers, but all contract soldiers will be trained in special training centres and sergeant schools,” the prime minister stressed.
“The logic of change clearly indicates that our goal is to build a fully professional army,” he pointed out. However, a “professional army is an expensive army,” therefore “preserving a mixed system of manning in the foreseeable future is a compromise between the country’s current tasks and capabilities,” Putin is certain.