Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 139

Russian media have suggested that President Boris Yeltsin yesterday signed a number of decrees dealing with the reform of the armed forces. He met that day with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and after the meeting officials announced that Chernomyrdin’s Commission on Military Construction would submit its reform proposals to the president on July 25. Thus, it seem likely that Yeltsin yesterday endorsed Chernomyrdin’s preliminary report on the committee’s recommendations.

Yeltsin briefed journalists on the upcoming changes and, although there was no indication as to how long it would take to implement them, the steps he announced were substantial. One would do away with the Air Defense Troops by splitting their assets between the Strategic Rocket Forces (SRF) and the Air Force. The SRF would also take control of the Military Space Troops. Last month General Staff chief Anatoly Kvashnin had forecast this consolidation, but said it would not take place this year.

Another measure outlined yesterday by Yeltsin would disband the central headquarters of the Ground Forces, passing control of Ground Force units to the Military Districts. The districts are now to become both operational and territorial commands. In addition, the drastic reduction of the military Construction Troops appears set to continue; the Defense Ministry’s Road Construction Troops will reportedly be transferring its units to the Federal Road Service. Yeltsin also confirmed that the military would be cut by 500,000 uniformed personnel, leaving 1.2 million in the armed forces. He said that the Ministry of Defense would be allowed to spend no more than 1 percent of its budget on its own central apparatus. (Russian media, July 16)

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