#18 - JRL 8406 - JRL
ARMED FORCES TO BE REDUCED BY 100,000 BY YEAR END
MOSCOW, October 12 (RIA Novosti) - By January 1, 2005, the Russian Armed Forces will be reduced by 8% and total 1.1 million men. Initially it was assumed that dismissed would be not combatant officers, but military sportsmen, builders, instructors of military departments in civil educational institutes and others. But, since the number of such positions was only 40-45 thousand, it remained unclear what arms would be considered less important and subjected to most massive reduction.
According to Nezavisimaya Gazeta, now one may safely say what principle the reduction follows: the troops have received an applicable directive. The scheduled changes will touch upon all services and arms of the Armed Forces.
In particular, two Tu-22M3 long-range bomber regiments of the Air Force will be put into reserve. Subject to the reduction will also be fighter regiments: two MiG-29 regiments, two MiG-31 regiments and one Su-27 regiment. Reduced at the same time will be two bomber regiments (Su-24M) and two attack aircraft regiments (Su-25). Several Mi-8MT and Mi-24 helicopter regiments will cease their existence. At the same time, the current Air Force reduction provides for introducing some improvements. For example, some airfields after reduction of the air regiments will be turned into air materiel storage bases. The materiel will be maintained by air bases technicians, while pilots will shift to rotational service: if required they will be brought to the air field from neighbouring regiments not subject to reduction.
The Navy following the reduction will no longer be responsible for storing decommissioned nuclear submarines at holding anchorage bases and stations (they will all be handed over to the Federal Atomic Energy Agency). As for the Navy combat equipment, reduced will be two Project 941 Akula (Shark) submarines in the Northern Fleet an all Project 667BD submarines in the Northern and Pacific Fleets.
The Strategic Missile Forces will assume new duty pattern. If earlier all regiments were on level readiness duty, now some of the regiments will have reduced organization (for switching to level readiness they will require from several hours to several days), and some will be turned into missile storage bases. Besides, the Strategic Missile Forces will lose one missile division equipped with 15A18 Satan intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Reduction of the Army will particularly involve the nuclear, biological and chemical protection forces. Besides, the Defense Ministry plans to optimize the strength of its military educational establishments (most of them are part of the Army) through disbanding small-scale schools by merging or closing them. As a result almost eight thousand military instructors will be dismissed.
In general by the end of the year the strength of the Air Force will be reduced by 36 thousand personnel, the Army - by 20 thousand, the Navy - by 16 thousand, the Construction Corps - by nine thousand, the service support forces - by six thousand, the Strategic Missile Forces - by three thousand, the Airborne and Railroad Troops - by two thousand, the Space Troops - by one thousand personnel. Reduction will also involve command and control structures, their staff being cut by 10%. Besides, over five thousand uniformed officials - service members detached to federal governmental authorities - will be dismissed.