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Russian Army: reform has finished, reforming has started

According to some experts, after the Presidential elections Sergey Ivanov is likely to be appointed Deputy Prime Minister in charge of military, law enforcement authorities and special services.

"The period of fundamental reforming Russian Army and its structural reconstruction has been completed. Time came for ordinary military training, work and regimentation”, Russian Minister of Defense Igor Ivanov said at the meeting with the commanders of Siberian Military District. Ivanov dwelt on the task of establishing more close coordination between all the components of the national defense system, RIA Novosti information agency reports.

"According to the President’s decree, for this purpose the Ministry of Defense is authorized to supervise (via its General Staff) the development of the Army and its military units, plan their use and control the use of military force”, the Minister said. According to Sergey Ivanov, the number of Russian troops has reached the level of the defense self-sufficiency which is equal to the amount about one million people. 

In addition, fundamental changes are taking place in the system of the Army recruiting, Sergey Ivanov said. “We started active practicing contract principle of recruiting soldiers and officers". 

As the example the Minister mentioned that this year the practical experiment on recruiting soldiers and sergeants to Airborne Division 76 on the contract basis. "From now on, Russia has efficient military unit on constant alertness and working on contract basis", Russian Minister of Defense said.

The friend of the President appointed the Minister of Defense was able to conduct Army reform quickly – officially it finished last year and resulted in one more reducing the number of troops up to 1.2 million people, introducing the contract system of recruiting soldiers and sergeants and new structural changes for the military command. According to Ivanov, the “reform” has been completed, but he said about the start of the new period of “regimentation”, that is more radical Army reforming: conducting modernization of weapons and military equipment, further improving the structure of Army command, preparing new Army regulations etc. This all is of critical importance for the Army. The merit of Ivanov is the ability not only to accept obligations, but also to fulfill them under the conditions of the lack of finance the Russian Army is experiencing.  

According to some experts, after the Presidential elections Sergey Ivanov is likely to be appointed Deputy Prime Minister in charge of military, law enforcement authorities and special services. Ivanov is going to chair the meeting of the leaders of Siberian Federal District (not Siberian Military District) in the city of Omsk, and probably this will be the start of the Defense Minister adjusting to his future appointment.  As a rule, such meetings are chaired by at least the President Plenipotentiary Representative, or even by the Prime Minister or the President himself.

Ivanov expresses philosophical attitude to the rumors of his possible promotion. At the recent meeting with mass media on the eve of Press Day the question about the possibility of promotion was asked to Ivanov. The Minister replied that he is “the kind of person who got used to completing everything he undertakes”, and that he “would like to see real results of his work”. He is going to stay in the position of the Minister of Defense “at least until 2008”. Answering the provocative question if he is going to be President Putin’s successor (a certain foreteller allegedly made the prognosis that the person by name Ivanov will be the new President of Russia), the Minister of Defense said with a smile that “according to the theory of probability, this will happen one day”.

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