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Novaya Gazeta, October 13, 2003

Until the Election the Duma Will Not Allow the Next Generation to Get into Formation.

Alexei Arbatov, Deputy Head of the Defence Committee of the State Duma:

The General Staff has been trying to reduce the number of deferrals of military services for students for a long time already. It does not want to switch to a contract-based army. At present an official decision has been adopted that only a small part - about 25% - of rank and file servicemen will be transferred to a contract. The remaining 75% will be conscripted and the President approved this decison. The Defence Ministry is proceeding from this assumption.

Soon will have to deal with a large "demographic hole", and the number of army conscripts will steadily fall in the coming years. The General Staff has drawn the following conclusion: the deferral of military service should be abolished to ensure that everyone is recruited to the army. Unfortunately, most of the State Duma Defense Committee support the abolition of deferrals for military service. As most of the Duma are obedient to the Government and the President, the President will be responsible for the resolution of this problem.

Liliya Dubovaya, Press Secretary of Boris Nemtsov:

- We know that such amendments have been prepared. However, they were held back for some time, as they did not know what to do. Their introduction depends whether the Defence Ministry obtains the Kremlin's approval. If the amendments are submitted to the State Duma, 100% of the SPS faction will vote against them. In general many Duma deputies may vote against them, despite the usage of the administrative resource, as parliamentary elections are approaching.

The army has behaved strangely here. Recently [Defence Minister] Sergei Ivanov stated that the transfer to a contract-based army had already happened. But such initiatives demonstrated that the General Staff is not going to abolish the idea of army conscription and is not sure that they can create a professional army.

The CPRF Press Service and the People's Party assured us that if the State Duma received such amendments, their factions would under no conditions support them.

The LPDR said tentatively: "We don't think that such amendments will get the Duma's feverish support, unless the Defence Ministry provides good grounding: But in the State Duma of the present convocation the LDPR will not vote for the amendments, as a large number of our electorate are young people."

The State Duma Defence Committee informed us after some verification with the Defence Ministry that the Defence Ministry would not confirmed the information on the changes and would deny such claims.


See also:

Reform in Education

The Russian Army

Novaya Gazeta, October 13, 2003

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