252 Russian officers received their diplomas yesterday in the Leningrad military district officer's club after completing a joint Russian-British professional retraining program. British Ambassador to Russia Sir Roderick Lyne and St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matvienko took part in the ceremonies. 830 officers have completed the program this year, while 3783 officers have completed the program since its inception in March 1998.
According to the British Consul, the officers completed courses in economics and information technology over the last four months. The courses are part of a British program, which began in October 1995 to help Russia in preparing newly discharged Russian officers to adapt to civilian life and make a new career. The courses are conducted in institutions of higher learning, which have agreements with the British Defense Ministry, in six Russian regions - Moscow, St. Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don, Samara, Vladivostok and Yekaterinburg.
Since September 2000, officers from regions who do not have participating institutions have also been taking part in the program. They are provided with free room and board in St. Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don and Vladivostok. As part of this program, 34 officers from other Russian regions also received their diplomas yesterday.