The Russian General Staff officer in charge of recruitment indicated on October 12 that, if the government wants to implement its planned transition to an all-volunteer military, it will have to start paying contract soldiers a lot more money. Lt. Gen. Vladislav Putilin revealed that some 30,000 contract personnel had left the armed forces so far this year, while only 15,000 had been enlisted. The program, he said, was obviously not creating a new class of military professionals as had once been hoped.
Putilin used the 201st Division serving in Tajikistan as an example. This unit was supposed to be one of Russia’s first all-volunteer forces, but Putilin said that, despite drawing recruits from all of Russia, it had been impossible to bring the division up to full strength with contract personnel. He put the blame on relatively low pay. Contract soldiers in the division are paid 1.9 million rubles ($325) per month. Rutlin observed that anyone willing to serve under such difficult and dangerous conditions in Tajikistan for that small amount of money "would either be long term unemployed or someone who has already poisoned his mind and brain with spirits." (NTV, October 12)
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