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Russia to Reduce Military Officers in 2009

In an effort to maintain a smaller yet more effective fighting force, Moscow announced that it will release approximately 36,000 officers this year.

“We believe that in the final account, no more than 36,000 or 37,000 servicemen will be fired (in 2009), maybe more, maybe less,” said Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Pankov to local reporters on Tuesday.

This will be followed up next year when Russia plans to reduce their military forces from 1.13 to 1 million troops and cut its officers by nearly half, down to 150,000.

Mr. Pankov has confirmed that this is still the agenda despite these lay-offs coming at a time when Russia is experiencing unemployment around 10 percent.

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