| 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
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
Reform in Education