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President announces military reform is over

March 21, 2012, 13:14 UTC+3

Most divisions and units are ready to start prompt fulfillment of military tasks

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MOSCOW, March 21 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev has announced practical finalization of the military reform. The country has put an end to the Soviet-style mass mobilization army, experts say, though it would be possible to speak about the end of the reform in 2017 only depending on following the plan to enroll staff on a contract basis.

On Tuesday, during a meeting at the Defence Ministry, President Medvedev announced “the reform of the Armed Forces is practically over. Most divisions and units are ready to start prompt fulfillment of military tasks.” Among successful activities, the president stressed the improvement of the Strategic Nuclear Forces and organization of united system of air and space defense. Medvedev assured the meeting participants that the government would be allocating for defense needs no less than 2.8 percent of the GDP by 2020.

Over the reform, which started in 2008, the Russian Armed Forces had experienced major changes, and those in fact are changes, which may be compared with the army reforms of Peter the Great and Dmitry Milyutin /Military Minister during the reign of Alexander II/, Director of the Centre of Analysis of Strategies and Technologies Ruslan Pukhov said. The country has abandoned the Soviet-style mass mobilization army, and thus the numeric force of the wartime army /a criterion of mobilization resource of the country/ was cut from five million to 1.7 million. The number of officers was cut by twice to 150,000 /a decision of 2011 suggests raising the number to 220,000/, Pukhov said, massive rearmament of the Armed Forces has begun.

The Moskovsky Komsomolets writes that Russia’s Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov presented more figures of the changes in the Armed Forces. He said that over that period the Armed Forces had received 39 intercontinental ballistic missiles, two submarines, four surface ships, five military boats, 374 aircraft, twelve Iskander rocket complexes, 713 other rocket-artillery units of armament, over 2.300 units of armored vehicles, 79 anti-aircraft missile complexes for the air defense units, 106 complexes of antiaircraft defense and about 40,000 vehicles.

The meeting of the Defense Ministry featured many other cheerful reports on the reform and the improvement of the Armed Forces’ tactical efficiency, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes. The only thing that struck – or it was news agencies that left the military holding the bag – neither the president nor the military officials spoke a word about the drawbacks and failures over the modernization of the Armed Forces.

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