President Boris Yeltsin devoted much of his regular Friday radio broadcast on July 25 to the steps he has taken recently to begin the reform of the armed forces. Yeltsin acknowledged that he would have preferred to initiate such a major initiative under more favorable financial conditions, but said that the problems facing the military are so severe that "we can’t wait any longer." He claimed to be "pained" by the fact that officers and men are not getting paid on time, that many lack proper housing, and that the prestige of the military continues to decline. For these reasons, Yeltsin said, he had "decided to personally control the situation inside [the] armed forces." The first task would be to pay the men and women in the military back wages, and he pledged to "do everything possible" both to meet a September 1 deadline to eliminate wage arrears and, by the end of the year, to repay all "social debts." He then reviewed the decrees he had signed last week and declared that military reform was finally underway and that the pace of reform must be maintained. (RIA Novosti, July 25)
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