In remarks published by a Russian newspaper July 2, Rokhlin charged that the Russian armed forces are in abysmal condition because, among other things, military leaders have failed to pursue any meaningful military reform. According to Rokhlin, significant reductions in overall military manpower since 1992 have not been accompanied by proportionate cuts in command staffs, leaving the army top heavy. At the same time, morale and readiness in the regular army have been undermined by the favorable treatment given in the state budget to Russia’s various domestic military services. The meager funding that the army does receive is often wasted, he added.
Rokhlin identified two main errors in the policies pursued by the High Command in recent years. The first, he said, was the failure to maintain any fully-staffed and-equipped units during the process of manpower reductions. The possession of even two or three battle-ready divisions could have made a significant difference in Chechnya, he argued. The second major error, according to Rokhlin, was the Defense Ministry’s failure to recruit good soldiers during the army’s efforts in recent years to increase its number of contract volunteers. Apparently referring again to Chechnya, he said that these recruits "were doomed to become cannon fodder." (Rossiiskie vesti, July 2) Aside from the substance of his remarks, Rokhlin’s rising public profile of late suggests that he may be emerging as an important player in Russia’s military policy debates.
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