May 19, 2003
Senior Military Official: Russian Army Will Never Become Fully Professional
SARATOV, May 19. The Russian army will never be fully professional. As a Rosbalt correspondent reports, this announcement was made in Saratov on Thursday by Advisor to the Russian Defence Minister Marshall Vladimir Mikhalkin, who arrived to attend an army rally. 'We don't need it,' he explained 'and our economy will not allow us to do it.'
Marshall Mikhalkin added that, in his opinion, the army is often criticised unfairly. He blamed the mass media for this and 'negligent soldiers and officers' as well as the committees of soldiers' mothers which 'interfere in other people's business and try to take the place of the military prosecutor's office.'
He also said that only the Defence Ministry and military headquarters are capable of carrying out military reform. Now the president is being put under pressure to carry out military reform by 'politicians who have not even done military service'.