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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Interior Ministy To Cut Troops

The government will cut its Interior Ministry troops by more than 35,000, in part by telling newly privatized defense companies to hire private guards, Itar-Tass reported.

The troops' commander, General Leonti Shevtsov, said their strength will be reduced from 257,000 to 220,000 by the end of next year, Itar-Tass reported Tuesday. There has been some criticism of the Interior Ministry for maintaining such a large force, and equipping it with weapons normally associated with a regular army.

The reductions were announced the day after President Boris Yeltsin dismissed his entire Cabinet, including Interior Minister Anatoly Kulikov, but there was no indication that there was any connection between the two developments.

Shevtsov said the reductions would be carried out mostly by withdrawing troops from private defense installations that are "financially capable of maintaining guards," Itar-Tass reported.