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BBC Monitoring
Putin appeals to Russian officer corps to help reform army

Moscow, 23 June: President Vladimir Putin has spoken at a ceremonial reception in honour of graduates of military academies and universities held in the Great Kremlin Palace.

He noted that "today it is your destiny not only to guard the country's sovereignty and independence and its national interests. You are also to take an active part in reforming the entire military organization of the state".

Putin noted that only people who are educated, who think in contemporary terms and are who receptive to new ideas are capable of coping with such major tasks. He said that the work of officers "will require the fulfilment of difficult military tasks, organization and a high level of discipline". "It will require courage and human qualities which are valued in the army no less than professionalism. Young people who come to serve in the army have to feel not only your demands, but also your support," he said. He also noted that the state is doing everything possible to create the necessary conditions for worthy service.

Putin proposed a toast "to Russia's officer corps, to the Russian army and navy, to our great Motherland".

Defence Minister Sergey Ivanov said in his address that "the Russian state is currently building an army the military might of which will be determined not by its numbers but by the high level of professional training of its personnel, its technical equipment, and its ability to effectively counter any threats and challenges".

"We are counting on your energy and initiative, on your responsibility and professionalism," the minister said. He stressed that the only people who will achieve the desired success in military service are those who constantly work on themselves and raise their professional and educational standards.

[passage omitted]

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