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KHABAROVSK, September 11. /TASS/. The number of contract servicemen in the Russian Armed Forces in 2015 has exceeded the number of draftees, chief of the main personnel department of the Russian Defense Ministry Major General Ruslan Vasilyev told reporters in Khabarovsk on Friday. The number of contract servicemen in the country’s army has reached 352,000 this year, he said.
"Over the past three years we have managed to considerably increase the number of contract servicemen in the Russian army. This year, their number has exceeded the number of conscript servicemen and will reach 352,000 by the year end," Vasilyev said, adding that the president has charged the Defense Ministry with the task to increase the number of contract servicemen to 500,000.
Previously, State Secretary — Deputy Defense Minister Nikolay Pankov said that in 2014 the number of contract servicemen in the Russian army for the first time exceeded the number of conscripts — 295,000 against 273,000. He also said that the number of contract servicemen would be increased to 350-355,000 in 2015.
Vasilyev said that not only the number of contract servicemen, but also the quality of the selection of candidates is changing. The country currently has a total of 81 enlistment eligibility facilities, one of the largest of them is located in Russia’s Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk. "The Khabarovsk enlistment eligibility facility has been given the top — first grade," he said.
"The Eastern Military District’s enlistment eligibility facility has selected a total of 16,443 people for contract service, including 15,043 people for service in the EMD," head of the EMD personnel department Rear Admiral Valery Kostin said.
Major General Vasilyev added that 700 military have arrived for service in the EMD from central Russia. "Those who serve in the Eastern Military District, in the Far East, get a considerably higher pay," the defense official said.