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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia to further cut Interior Ministry troops to 170,000 by 2020

RIA Novosti

14:44 04/12/2009 MOSCOW, December 4 (RIA Novosti) - The numerical strength of Russia's Interior Ministry troops will be reduced by 14,000 to around 170,000 personnel by 2020, the force commander said on Friday.

Gen. Nikolai Rogozhkin said the reduction was part of the Interior Ministry force development concept through 2020, which was approved by the Russian Security Council.

"The 200,000 internal troops have been cut by 16,000 [over the past few years]," he said. "By 2020, their numerical size will be brought down to 170,000."

He added that the figure was not final as everything depended on the situation prevailing in the country.

"The figure could be revised either upward or downward in the future," the general said.

The Interior Ministry's forces are used to support and reinforce the police in dealing with internal armed conflicts and large-scale riots, ensuring prison security and safeguarding vital facilities such as nuclear power plants.

Historically, the troops have been involved in all conflicts and violent disturbances in the Soviet Union and modern Russia, including Stalin-era reprisals and mass deportations, and more recently the wars in Chechnya.

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