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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Cuts in Military Budget Displace 50% of Generals

Russia has retired or sacked more than half its generals over the past six years in an effort to reduce the military, according to Defense Minister Pavel Grachev.

"At the present, the number of regular generals in the armed forces is 2, 218", Grachev told the weekly Argu-menty i Fakty. "Over the past six years, from 1987 to 1992, it has slimmed down by 3, 815 people".

The reduction means that a Russian general is now responsible for 1, 262 soldiers and 312 officers, up from 530 soldiers and 169 officers six years ago, he said.

Not only is the number of generals expected to fall further, the defense minister said, but a civilian could head Russia's defenses after 1995 "when the situation in the army stabilizes".

Although military officials would still control areas such as troop movements, a civilian could "resolve military-political problems and fill orders for armaments, hardware and the sale of weapons", Grachev said.

The gradual move to civilian leadership parallels the military's adoption of volunteer professional soldiers. In December, the military accepted its first volunteers, and by the year 2000, half of all soldiers will be professional volunteers, rather than draftees.

In coming years 40, 000 to 50, 000 army officers annually will be moved into the reserves, also in an attempt to slim down the country's bloated military structures, Itar-Tass reported last week.

Total military personal is expected to shrink over the 1990s from 2. 8 million to 1. 5 million, the Ministry of Defense has said.

At least one officer earned himself a quick ticket out of the military last week. Colonel Alexander Dulyaninov confessed to having stolen a computer, Interfax reported. The military prosecutor will charge the officer with the "theft of a singularly large quantity of state property", which could result in a prison sentence of 5 to 15 years.