Russian elite force numbers dwindling

Oct. 24, 2013 at 9:55 AM   |   Comments

MOSCOW, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- A high-ranking military official in Russia said Thursday cutting down the number of solders serving in elite forces was a strategic mistake.

Russian elite forces, serving as part of the Chief Intelligence Directorate, marked Thursday as their 63rd anniversary. Former force commander Lt. Gen. Dmitry Gerasimov told state news agency RIA Novosti the decision to downgrade the force in 2009-10 was a strategic error.

"I'm sure the downsizing was wrong," he said. "The number of high-level professionals was reduced and training programs were cut to the minimum."

Former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, a former elite commander who mandated the cuts, was fired in November and replaced by Sergei Shoigu. The shakeup was part of a string of reforms enacted by the Kremlin to address corruption in the Russian defense sector.

Transparency International in 2012 gave Russia a score of 28 on a scale of 0-100 where a score of zero means a country is perceived as highly corrupt.

A Russian government watchdog report said 70 percent of the 458 state contracts signed From July 1, 2011, to Dec. 31, 2012, violated procurement regulations. In July, the prosecutor general's office said there was a "high level" of bribery, forgery and abuse of power among members of the Russian armed forces. Corruption allegations extended to defense contractors.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Featured UPI Collection
Celebrity Couples of 2014 [PHOTOS]

Celebrity Couples of 2014 [PHOTOS]

Most Popular
New York Post defies #ISISMediablackout with graphic James Foley cover
Russia, Ukraine give ICRC necessary security guarantees for aid convoy
NATO soldier stabbed, killed near Kabul airport
Group tweaks Westboro Baptist Church with 'God Loves Gays' campaign
New York Times reporter ordered to leave Afghanistan
Trending News