Russian Defense Ministry Opposes Cutting Army Staff, Other 'Unacceptable' Proposals.

Radio Free Europe

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MOSCOW -- Russia's Defense Ministry says it has rejected austerity measures proposed by the Finance Ministry, such as reducing of the number of military personnel.
In a proposal submitted to Russia's Security Council earlier this month, the Finance Ministry suggested cutting the country's military personnel by 10 percent, which would amount to some 100,000 members of the armed forces, the Izvestia newspaper reported on October 20. The ministry proposed that some of those officers would be given civilian posts instead. It also suggested raising the number of years of service required to receive a military pension. However, the Defense Ministry argued that similar moves in the past showed their "inefficiency" and led to "numerous problematic issues affecting the combat capacity of the Armed Forces." In a statement carried by Krasnaya Zvezda, its official newspaper, the ministry said it had sent its position to the Security Council "on the unacceptability of these proposals and the absence of support for them from the leadership of the military department."
The Defense Ministry insisted that the Finance Ministry's proposal to slash the number of military posts would have "'zero' economic effect." Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said no decision had been made on the matter. The Russian Finance Ministry’s proposals come amid a worldwide recession brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. According to the International Monetary Fund's latest economic outlook released last week, the Russian economy is expected to plunge 4.6 percent this year before rebounding 3.9 percent in 2021. Russia last year increased its annual military expenditures by 4.5 percent to $65.1 billion, making it the world's fourth-largest military spender, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

With reporting by Reuters and Interfax

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