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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Four top Russian army generals lose their ranks, keep 'civilian' jobs

RIA Novosti

31/03/2009 19:47 MOSCOW, March 31 (RIA Novosti) - Four key Russian generals have been discharged from the Armed Forces, but will continue working in the Defense Ministry as 'civil servants,' the General Staff said on Tuesday.

"These include Army Gen. Vladimir Popovkin, deputy defense minister for procurements; Army Gen. Nikolai Pankov, deputy defense minister for mobilization; Col. Gen. Vasily Smirnov, deputy chief of the General Staff; and Col. Gen. Mikhail Vozhakin, head of the Defense Ministry personnel directorate," a General Staff officer said.

He added that although the generals had been discharged, they would retain their official positions, but only in a civilian capacity.

Commentators suggest the move comes as part of Russia's ongoing military reform, which aims to downsize the Armed Forces from the current 1.2 million to 1 million personnel, including a reduction in the number of generals and admirals from 1,100 to 200 by 2012.

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