January 23rd, 2009
The head of the Defence Ministry reported to the President on the progress made in reforming the Armed Forces.
Mr Serdyukov also briefed the head of state on preparations for the celebration of the 65th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War.
Earlier on Dmitry Medvedev had signed an order on holding a meeting of the Victory organising committee, a committee devoted to the celebration of the 65th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War, in St Petersburg in January 2009.
Beginning of Working Meeting with Minister of Defence Anatoly Serdyukov
Gorki, Moscow region, January 22, 2009
PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Anatoly Eduardovich, I would like to discuss two topics with you.
One of them relates to the upcoming meeting of Victory organising committee. I signed an order on holding this committee meeting in Saint Petersburg at the end of this month.
We should, of course, talk about how preparations are going for celebrating the 65th anniversary of our Victory [in Great Patriotic War], which of the challenges that we have given ourselves have been resolved, and which challenges still require governmental intervention; this will include talking about a range of responsibilities that the government has taken upon itself.
I would also like to remind you about the measures related to providing participants of the Great Patriotic War with housing. And we must cover a very wide spectrum of issues related to veterans of the Great Patriotic War at this organising committee session. How are preparations going?
MINISTER OF DEFENCE ANATOLY SERDYUKOV: Dmitry Anatolyevich, we are engaging in preparations quite actively, as per your decree. We have developed full-blown work quite extensively with veteran organizations, and with preparations for the events we have in store to honour the 65th anniversary of our Victory; we are also preparing an entirely new parade for this day.
We have already begun to work on a multi-volume publication entitled “The Great Patriotic War,” which will fully describe all of the activities of the state during the Great Patriotic War. We feel that in this area, we have made good progress.
DMITRY MEDVEDEV: And I have one other topic that is very important. I have validated the new image of the Armed Forces as the Supreme Commander in Chief. In accordance with this decision, the Armed Forces headcount is being optimized.
Keeping in mind that a certain re-configuration will be expected for modernizing the Armed Forces, with a simultaneous increase in monetary allowances for officers and sergeants who are serving on a contractual basis, I would like you to tell me about the measures being taken by the Ministry of Defence to help our colleagues who will be laid off find other suitable work. What actions are necessary to achieve this, and what has already been done?
ANATOLY SERDYUKOV: I would like to report that in the autumn of 2008, we instituted a departmental target program on social protection and adjustment for military personnel that will be laid off as part of this reform.
Using our military academies as our basis, we have developed a large and serious program to train and retrain individuals in various specializations that may be used in civilian employment.
We have made agreements with a range of constituent territories of the Russian Federation regarding the specific professions they need, and their demands for certain specializations. This means that, based on their requests, we are beginning to prepare specialists at our universities in fields that are needed within specific companies and territories, including work in municipal districts.
Thus, this work is planned quite meticulously over the course of three years (2009–2011), and we have calibrated everything. We do not believe that we should have any serious problems with this, because 2009 will be a year dedicated specifically to reducing the vacancies that we have.
DMITRY MEDVEDEV: So first of all, current vacancies will be reduced. We will need to monitor this as carefully as possible. Do you have the funding for this program?
ANATOLY SERDYUKOV: Yes.
DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Is it included in the budget?
ANATOLY SERDYUKOV: We are funding the program with our own resources, thanks to the optimization of the resources that are allocated to us within the framework of the Ministry of Defence budget.
DMITRY MEDVEDEV: These are still resources coming from the Ministry of Defence budget, but re-optimized by you in order to use them on these projects.
And there is another topic, or I should say, another issue, that is related to this. Overall, we presume that in the future, the Armed Forces will consist of permanent combat readiness units.
We have agreed that beginning this year, we will start paying new types of monetary allowances, in new amounts, to officers who perform their service in permanent combat readiness units and certain other units. Are you ready now to pay these allowances? What is the situation there?
ANATOLY SERDYUKOV: That money is planned in the budget for 2009 – 25 billion is allocated toward these goals. According to our plans, 30 thousand officers should be recipients of these funds. After all, we devoted 2008 to shaping this system, and we determined which officers should be recipients of these monetary incentives.
I think that by the end of January, we should already be able to pay out these allowances for that month. As we said before: a lieutenant gets up to 35 thousand, and correspondingly, the salary grows depending on position.
DMITRY MEDVEDEV: This must absolutely be done, because this is one of the major measures that accompany the new image of the Armed Forces. And, of course, the entire officer corps will be looking at how precisely these commitments are fulfilled. Please attend to this without fail and report back to me.