Friday, 1 May 2009

Top heavy Russian officer corps faces the axe

While Britain's Armed Forces are still trying to boost recruitment to reach their target strengths, the Russian military is shedding personnel by the thousand.

The Russian news agency, Tass, earlier in the week quoted one of the country's Deputy Defence Ministers,
Nicholai Pankov, as saying that more that 35,000 officers are to be culled in 2009 as part of sweeping military reforms.

This is in line with Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov's announcement at the end of last year that new restructuring would eventually see the current 355,000 officers reduced to 150,000 by 2012.

Russia's Armed Forces have already been reduced to 1.13 million troops from the 4 million in the Soviet Army of Cold War days. So you can understand why they've now got round to decimating the officer corps. The planned reforms aim to further decrease the number of troops to below 1 million.

As you would expect, this "downsizing" has met with considerable grumbling from Russia's military brass. Several top generals who opposed them have lost their jobs.