MOSCOW, February 12 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree reducing the duration of combat training programs for conscripts from six to just four months, whereupon they may go on active duty at “hot spots,” according to the document posted on the official legal information portal on Tuesday.
The decree entered into force on Monday.
A Russian defense expert attributed the decision to the intensification of combat training in the Armed Forces and the freeing of draftees from the need to perform functions unrelated to their direct military duties.
“Considering that the conscription service term in the Russian military today is one year, four months is quite enough for a soldier or a sergeant to fully master his military specialty, learn to handle a weapon and to be ready to serve in more difficult conditions if necessary,” said Igor Korotchenko, editor in chief of the Natsionalnaya Oborona [National Defense] journal.
He suggested that the decree principally refers to conscript service at Russian bases abroad.
The Russian Defense Ministry said in October that the armed forces will continue to rely on conscription in the coming years and there are no plans to do away with the draft anytime soon.
Contract service personnel will be deployed with units designated for the highest degree of readiness and those that employ complex and expensive technologies, such as the Navy, the Strategic Missile Forces and the Aerospace Defense Forces.
The number of contract service members is to increase by about 50,000 a year to 240,000 at the end of 2013, 295,000 in 2014, 350,000 in 2015, 400,000 in 2016 and 425,000 in 2017, when contractors will account for almost half of all military personnel.
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The current contract portfolio of Russian arms exporters is worth about $46 billion. Annual exports total $15 billion, and this will ensure uninterrupted deliveries for the next three years, even in the worst-case scenario. The list of the main buyers of Russian weapons is unlikely to change drastically.