Beginning from July of 2011, Germany is going to introduce the contractual recruitment principle for its armed forces. As a result, the personnel in the German army will be cut from 250 to 185 thousand people. German general officers oppose the initiative claiming that the contractual system will turn the national army into a crowd of mercenaries.
In Russia, the idea of canceling call-up military service finds many supporters too. They say that it is impossible to provide the appropriate military training to conscripts within just one year taking into consideration the technological level of modern military hardware.
The adversaries of the initiative claim that the contractual principle will deprive the nation's armed forces of the required number of reservists.
"NATO countries can afford doing that. There are many of them and together, their armed forces leave Russian forces somewhere far behind. If Russia introduces the new principle the way Russian official see it, our missile complexes will be destroyed instantly in case of a large-scale military conflict and we will not be able to defend ourselves," a colonel of Russian air defense troops told Pravda.Ru on conditions of anonymity.
Alexander Khramchikhin, deputy director of the Institute for Political and Military Analysis believes that Germany demonstrates the trend, which appeared in Europe a long time ago.
"Even psychologically, the Europeans exclude large-scale military actions in the foreseeable future. They count on help instead, and this feeling was formed in Europe after WWI and WWII. The call-up service is practiced in just a few NATO countries. It goes about the Baltic States, several countries of Eastern Europe, Denmark, Norway, Greece and Turkey.
"As for Germany, the cancellation of call-up duty is based on financial reasons, because it will allow to save a lot. The Germans also believe that the costs to maintain conscripts and contract soldiers are the same. A conscript in Germany is not like a rightless Russian soldier. German conscripts are paid good salaries, although they were lower than those paid to contract soldiers.
"One should not compare Russia and Germany. The situation in Russia differs a lot from what NATO members have. Russia is a weak state, and we do not pose a threat to them, that is why they may not be concerned about a large-scale war. Russia must keep its eye on China that still remembers unfair agreements of the past, which deprived the Asian country of many territories, as the Chinese say," the expert said.
Konstantin Sivkov, the first vice president of the Academy for Geopolitical Sciences:
"Germany is going to refuse from the previous system because it plans to wage wars in other countries, rather than on its own territory. These changes are of populist character. Angela Merkel had to raise taxes in Germany during the crisis, and the Chancellor started losing her popularity very quickly. Now she is trying to improve her image.
"As for Russia, one should bear in mind the fact that the territory of Germany equals the territory of the Moscow region alone. Russia's land frontier is 47,000 kilometers long. We have to deal with too many defense tasks from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok - this is an enormous territory.
"The situation in the Far East is especially hard. If the Chinese decide to start the war some day, I'm afraid that they will not find Russian soldiers on the border there. At present moment, the number of Russian border guards serving there is very small - several tens of thousands of people. China has a two-million-strong army!
"It goes without saying that the current system in Russia has many flaws. One of them is about the remuneration for military men. A lieutenant in Russia gets paid 10-15 thousand rubles ($300-500) a month and he may not even hope for getting an apartment of his own. Contract soldiers receive less than that. Will anyone agree to join the army against such a depressing situation?" the expert said.
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After a trip to Russia, Polish writer Maya Wolny concluded that the West did not even have a close idea of how things really were in the Russian Federation.