In accordance with a January 22 decree issued by President Yeltsin, the Russian army intends to call up some 10,000 reservists for retraining in 1996. A General Staff source said the call-ups, which could last up to two months, are aimed at sharpening skills and raising readiness. He emphasized that no reservists would be sent to Chechnya. The officer also said that some 6,000 reservists had been called up for similar instruction in 1995. (13) Shortages of junior officers, NCOs, and specialists have crippled the army in recent years, leading the military leadership to view reservists as one of several possible remedies. Yet as a Russian daily pointed out last week, retraining exercises have nearly come to a halt in recent years, first, because the dissolution of the USSR left them without a legal basis, and second, because there has been no funding for such exercises. The paper noted that Yeltsin’s decree was unaccompanied by a funding authorization, a fact the General Staff officer might have been acknowledging when he said that the number of reservists called up may have to be reduced. (14)
Kiev Sees Reduced Military Threat.