Source Pravda.Ru

Army reform: good intentions or political populism?

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke about reforms in the Russian army during his visit to the Pacific Fleet. The president expressed his point of view on the continuous discussion the about introduction of military service on a contractual basis: when and how it should be introduced in Russia.

The President says that politicians are making excessive use of the problem of military service on a contractual basis. It is easy for them to make nice promises, as they don’t care how other people will implement them. Vladimir Putin thinks that the problem should be thoroughly thought through and that all factors, financial and social, should be taken into consideration. Both positive and negative factors are to be carefully thought over. The president and the Russian government won’t make unfounded statements; they want to make only feasible promises.

Those who insist on a rapid transition of the army to a contractual basis are not correct. The president is sure that the process should be gradual and coincide with the development of the economy. He added that, not the whole of the army, but only its core will be based on contractual service in the future. An experiment of army service on a contractual basis is being carried out with the Pskov airborne troops. As soon as the experiment is over, the terms of final transition to contract-based army service in the country will be determined.

Vladimir Putin is sure that when the amount of servicemen will grow in number, the period of regular army service will reduce. However, the president didn’t mention how and when exactly the terms will be reduced. What about contract-based service in the navy? The president says that the problem needs careful consideration, because it concerns Russia’s national security. It is really very important to create good conditions for service in the navy and good conditions of life for soldiers and sailors to have a choice whether to serve in the army on a contractual basis or not. Unfortunately, the majority of people have currently no choice at all.

Sergey Yugov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Maria Gousseva

Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/08/27/46289.html

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