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Russian Military Personnel

All Russian men between the ages of 18 and 27 are obliged by law to perform one year of military service. In 2015, the total number of conscripts in the Russian army was 297,100 people - is one of the lowest in the past ten years. The most popular in the twenty-first century was an appeal to the Russian army in 2009 - 576,580 people. Then, 305,560 people were called in the spring.

Military Personnel Levels

According to the War Department, by the end of 2016 the armed forces personnel manning was 93% - 930,000 people. Of these, 384,000 were soldiers and sergeants on contract, 270,000 were conscripts, and 225,000 were officers. There was a shortage of at least 50,000 men. This figure accounts for soldiers and sergeants on contract, the number of which in 2017 should be 425,000.

According to official data, the strength of the Russian Armed Forces was estimated in 2012 at 774,500 personnel, including 220,000 officers and about 200,000 contracted soldiers. The military needed to recruit about 300,000 men during each annual draft to keep the number of personnel at the required level of 1 million.

The Defense Ministry planned in July 2015 to cut nearly 17,000 military and about 30,000 civilian personnel due to the construction of new ammunition stockpiles. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reported that the agency planned in 2015 to build more than 450 ammunition storage facilities and thus complete the arrangement of 13 modern arsenals. According to him, the establishment of new stockpiles will be fully completed later in the year. "Declined by almost 17 thousand soldiers who are now in storage and nearly 30,000 civilian personnel", - he said. The new arsenals move all missile and artillery weapons, said the representative of the Ministry of Defense. "That is, we remove from the open areas," - he explained.

Russian President Vladimir Putin established the full strength of the Armed Forces at 1.88 million units, including 1 million personnel, a presidential decree published 08 July 2016 stated. The order entered into force from the date of its signing. "Set the strength of the Russian Armed Forces in the amount of 1,885,371 units, including 1,000,000 military personnel," the decree read.

"If earlier the majority of complaints concerned delay or exemption from conscription, but now most of the conscripts concerned issues of military service for specific types and combat arms of the Armed Forces," according to Chief of the Main Organization and Mobilization Directorate (Mobilization) General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Colonel-General Vasily Tonkoshkurov, speaking 31 March 2016. First of all, young people want to serve in the Airborne Forces, Special Forces and Marine Corps, as well as in scientific and industrial battalions, said Tonkoshkurov. "In addition, many recruits from among the recognized unfit for service for health care the question of how to pass military service", - said Head of Mobilization. Taking into account the wishes and to adapt to military service before being drafted in the autumn of 2015 began an experiment on combined arms and airborne training recruits on the basis of three military units Airborne and four regional organizations DOSAAF Russia, recalled Tonkoshkurov.


Noncommissioned Officer or Petty Officer are empowered and trusted leaders in America's all-volunteer force. They enhance organizational effectiveness and directly contribute to mission success. They are the indispensable link between command guidance [from officers] and execution [by enlisted and ratings], ensuring that each task is fully understood and supervised through completion. You are responsible and accountable for the development and welfare of your subordinates. You teach, coach, and mentor them. The collective capacity of the NCO/PO ranks, junior to senior, forms a distinct and invaluable leadership cadre that balances artfully between mission and people. NCOs/POs possess professional qualities, competencies, and traits that complement the officer corps and enable the enlisted force.

Officers make up 30% of our armed forces personnel, while in the armies of the major countries the figure is 16%. We do not consider such a number of officers in our army as quite normal, said Colonel General Vasily Smirnov, deputy chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces. As of September 2008 about 300 foreigners served in the Russian army. The Deputy Chief-of-General-Staff Vasily Smirnov said that these young people are basically from the Commonwealth of Independent States. Among these are 80 Tadjiks, 66 Uzbeks and 40 Ukrainians. After serving 3 years voluntarily, a contract-soldier can get the full-pledged Russian citizenship.

About 320,000 young men were to be drafted into the Russian Armed Forces in the fall of 2009, a deputy chief of the General Staff said on 21 July 2009. "According to our estimates, about 320,000 people will be conscripted into the Russian Armed Forces this fall," Col. Gen. Vasily Smirnov said. Only 133,000 conscripts joined the armed forces during the spring draft, and about 219,000 people were drafted in fall 2008. The general said the higher number of conscripts was due to the reduction of officer ranks, the scrapping the rank of warrant officers and cuts to contract personnel. As of January 1, 2009, the Russian Armed Forces numbered 355,000 officers and 140,000 warrant officers. "By the end of 2009, we will have 150,000 officers, all warrant officers will have been discharged or absorbed into other ranks, and we will have less contracted personnel," Smirnov said.

In December 2016 it was reported that the Ministry of Defence would finally get rid of all the so-called sergeant officers - the officers appointed to posts of sergeants and petty officers. Such a situation arose in the course of Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov's "transition of the Armed Forces on a new look." Due to the reduction of the army, such petty officers were transferred to the reserve or taken from their respective formation positions.

In the course of military reform 2008-2012's, the leadership of the military department decided in a reduction of officer positions. Over the years from 2009 to 2010 the number dropped from 335,000 to 150,000. Due to this, part of the junior officers, mostly graduates of military schools, were asked to either leave the reserve or occupy vacant posts of sergeants - Squad leaders, deputies platoon commanders, commanders of combat vehicles. Also the rank of warrant officers was abolished Their duties were scheduled to shift to contract sergeants, but the latter was not availible in sufficient quantities, and officers were also appointed to their positions.

At the peak of the reform of Anatoly Serdyukov there were about 10,000 men in the status of "sergeants officers." With the change of leadership of the Ministry of Defence of their number steadily declined, and by 2016 the Ministry of Defence had fewere than a thousand soldiers ssigned to the sergeant and petty officer positions.

The "sergeants officers" were reassigned to officer positions, as the Ministry of Defence was faced with an acute shortage of officer personnel. But there were still not enough to meet staff shortages.

Service Eligible Population

The country struggled in recent years to fulfil quotas for conscripts due to widespread draft dodging and a scarcity of eligible young men, following a collapse in the birth rate during the turbulent 1990s. The military needed to enroll about 300,000 men during each draft to keep the number of army personnel at the required level of 1 million. According to official data, as of early 2014 the strength of the Russian Armed Forces was estimated at 774,500 personnel, including 220,000 officers and about 200,000 contracted soldiers.

Russia has no conscript-age young men left to recruit, Russia's chief of the General Staff complained 17 November 2011. The current conscript service crisis in the Russian Armed Forces was mainly due to demographic decline, bullying and brutal treatment of conscripts. General Nikolai Makarov said only 11.7% of young men aged 18-27 were eligible for the army service but 60% of them had health problems and could not be drafted under law. "We now have a situation when there is virtually nobody left to draft," Makarov said. "It is a serious problem and I make no bones about it." Many young people have been known to fake medical documents or even start a family in order to avoid the 12-month compulsory service in the army. The crisis in the consript service has led the Defense Ministry to halve the number of conscripts in the autumn 2011 draft period. It would recruit 135,850 young men instead of 250-300,000, as was planned in spring. The effect of the 1990s demographic crisis is expected to reach its peak in 2014, experts said.

Not the number of conscripts, but the health of the young men called up for military service was a problem. The medical health of conscripts was at an all time low and is declining still further. While at the end of 2007 the percentage of suitable recruits was 70.4%, by the end of 2009 it was already down to 68.4%. The lowest suitability percentage for recruits at the end of 2009 was observed in the Siberian (65.2%) and Moscow (66.9%) Military Districts, and the highest was in the North Caucasian (72.6%) and the Far Eastern (72.2%) Military Districts.

"Compared with 2011 the number of citizens, found fit for military service, increased by more than 8% and currently stands at about 77%. Positive dynamics is due to the increase in the number of young people leading a healthy lifestyle, as well as improving the identification work and prevention of diseases in pre-conscription youth " according to Chief of the Main Organization and Mobilization Directorate (Mobilization) General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Colonel-General Vasily Tonkoshkurov, speaking 31 March 2016.

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