Source Pravda.Ru

Ivanov on changes in armed forces' leadership

Having passed a difficult phase of the Armed Forces development, the country is currently in another, more favourable situation, said Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov answering reporters' questions.

"The General Staff should focus more on the prospects of the Armed Forces development, think about the war of the future, rather than deal with the current state of affairs", he pointed out.

According to him Yuri Baluevski, new chief if the Russian Armed Forces' General Staff "has experience, knowledge, aspiration and will" to do it.

At the same time, the minister noted that Mr. Baluevski "was in no need of introduction".

"He is well-known both in the Armed Forces and in the country. He has worked at various staff positions for a long time, in particular, as the chief of the Main Operational Directorate, and the first deputy chief of the General Staff", stressed Mr. Ivanov.

In response to the reporters' questions with regard to the future of former chief of the General Staff Anatoly Kvashnin, the minister said: "I am confident that Anatoly Kvashnin's potential will be exploited to the benefit of the state. I should say on the spot that Anatoly Kvashnin did much for the Armed Forces in the difficult phase of their development", said Mr. Ivanov.

"Anatoly Kvashnin did much for the active phase of the counterterrorism operation in Chechnya and for enhancing troops' combat readiness and combat capabilities and managed to keep units at level readiness", emphasized the defense minister.

According to him, the president appreciates Mr. Kvashinin's work and the appreciation will be issued in the written form.

Further on, Sergei Ivanov pointed out that Alexander Belousov, new first deputy defense minister, would be responsible for the current state of affairs in the Armed Forces. According to him, Mr. Belousov will supervise the Main Combat Training Directorate. "It means that he will be in charge of the Armed Forces' overall combat training", explained the defense minister.

Besides, as the minister noted, Mr. Belousov will be responsible for safety of the military service and combat readiness of the counterterrorism units. "All this, I would say, inspection unit will be supervised by him", said Mr. Ivanov.

Commenting at the reporters' request on the president's statement at the morning meeting with the cabinet members on the need of reinforcing the interior troops with the cadre, the minister said that it related to "lieutenant-colonels and colonels experienced in commanding small units, but capable of solving the emerging tasks rapidly, including those in the counterterrorism area".

In response to the question whether he meant the tasks like those, which had emerged during the recent events in Ingushetia, the minister said: "Something of the kind".

Sergei Ivanov confirmed that the number of his deputies would be reduced and the Defense Ministry's administration would be established. He reminded the audience that "there is no such concept as the ministry's administration, while it is the most numerous ministry totalling over 2.5 million persons".

According to the minister, the central administration will employ about 10 thousand persons, which covers less than half per cent of the defense ministry's total strength.

"The central administration will be very compact" stressed the defense minister.