Russia » Politics
Author`s name Michael Simpson

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 a continuous discussion about introduction of military service on a contractual basis, when and how it should be introduced in Russia.

The President says, all politicians make excessive use of the problem of military service on a contractual basis. It is easy for them to make different nice promises, they don’t care how other people will realize them. Vladimir Putin thinks that the problem should be thoroughly weighted, all factors, financial and social, should be taken into consideration at that, positive and negative factors are to be carefully thought over. The president and 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 right. The president is sure, the process should be gradual and go side by side with development of the economy. He added at that, not whole of the army, but only its basis would be based on contractual service in the future. An experimental transition of the army service to service on  a contractual basis is being carried out in the Pskov airborne troops. As soon as the experiment is over, terms of final transition to a contract-based army service in the country will be determined.

Vladimir Putin is sure that when servicemen will grow in number, period of regular army service will reduce. However, the president didn’t mention how and when exactly the terms would be reduced. What about contract-based service in the navy? The president says, 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, majority of people have currently no choice of this kind at all.

Sergey Yugov