Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 101

In an address to military personnel marking the fourth anniversary of the Russian Army, President Boris Yeltsin admitted that the armed forces face difficulties related to inadequately directed financing, wage arrears, and halting modernization. Pointing to a new military reform effort that was presumably launched May 16 with several presidential decrees, Yeltsin said that Russia looked to build a well-equipped professional military force that enjoyed popular support. Reductions in army personnel would be effected through the elimination of redundant or understaffed units, he said, while the role of the General Staff in the operational leadership of the army is to grow as reform unfolds. Yeltsin also suggested that Russia’s defense industrial sector will be restructured and said that funding within the broader defense budget for modernizing Russian military hardware would be increased. (Interfax & ORT & Russian TV, "Vremya," May 23)

In related developments yesterday, the president’s economic advisor, Aleksandr Livshits, announced that the government will dispense some 800 billion rubles to cover May salaries in Russia’s military-industrial complex. The government also intends to use paper credits to finance debts to defense enterprises related to government contracts, he said. Finally, Livshits announced that Yeltsin had signed a decree yesterday on funding the conversion of the Severodinsk nuclear center in northern Russia. No details were provided. (Interfax, May 23)

…And Meets with Gromov.