Huffpost WorldPost

Russia To Fire Over 35,000 Army Officers

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MOSCOW — Russian news agencies cite one of the country's deputy defense ministers as saying that more that 35,000 officers are to be fired in 2009 as part of sweeping military reforms.

ITAR-Tass and other agencies quote Nikolai Pankov as giving the figures on Tuesday.

Wide-ranging reforms announced by Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov in October envisaged cutting 200,000 of 355,000 military officers by 2012.

Russia's armed forces have been downsized to 1.13 million troops from the 4 million-member Soviet Army, but observers say Russia has done little to streamline its military.

The reforms, aimed at decreasing Russia's troops to below 1 million, have drawn increasingly loud grumbling from the top military brass. Several top generals who opposed them have lost their jobs.

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About 36000-37000 officers to be dismissed in 2009