Russia to Have over 170,000 Contract Servicemen in 2004-07

It is planned to man 195 units and formations with 176,500 contract servicemen in 2004-07, say the documents drafted by the Defence Ministry for the cabinet session on April 24. The cabinet will discuss the federal target programme of filling military posts predominantly with contract servicemen.

The programme will be carried out in stages, beginning in the units of the Interior Troops, Frontier Service and Armed Forces deployed in the North Caucasian Military District and adjacent regions in 2004-05. Contract servicemen will be recruited only after the creation of the required training and material-technical base and infrastructure of military settlements.

At the second stage (beginning in 2008), the number of contract servicemen will grow depending on the economic possibilities of the state. Conditions are to be also created at this stage for reducing the duration of conscripted service to 18 and subsequently 12 months.

Transition to contract service presupposes changes in the effective legislation. In particular, a trial period should be established for contract servicemen and liability should be stipulated for the contract servicemen who terminate contracts before their expiry. Amendments should be also made to the laws that limit the right of women to the privileges and guarantees stipulated in the family, motherhood and childhood legislation, as well as to that part of the Labour Code that regulates service time. It is also planned to establish certain educational privileges for contract servicemen.

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