Supreme Commander-in-Chief Vladimir Putin signed a decree according to which from the new year the regular strength of the Russian army will exceed 2 million people. Of these, 1.15 million are actually military. It is planned to strengthen the ranks of the army participating in the special operation at the expense of contract professionals. What types of troops and military specialties need to be strengthened in the first place?
President Vladimir Putin on Thursday issued a decree to increase the size of the Russian army by 137 thousand people from January 1 to 1.15 million people. Thus, the total staff of our Armed Forces, including civilian personnel, will exceed 2 million, and to be precise, the staff will be 2,039,758 people.
The last time the size of the army changed was in the fall of 2017. Since then, it has amounted to 1.9 million. Of these, a little over one million are military, the remaining 900 thousand are civilians. And the penultimate time Putin raised the staff of the Armed Forces in the now distant 2005.
If the Supreme Commander-in-Chief considered it necessary to expand the number by exactly 137,000, it means that an assessment was made in advance, the quantity and quality of recruited human resources, said Alexander Bartosh, corresponding member of the Academy of Military Sciences.
“If you look at the future based on the current military operation, then in future conflicts we can expect a high demand for such specialists: tankers, artillerymen, aviators, specialists in information warfare in cyberspace,” suggests Bartosz. – It is to these categories that attention will be paid. So now, most likely, an additional recruitment of contractors in the indicated specialties will begin.
In the liberated territories of Ukraine, our permanent garrisons will probably soon appear – this is one of the reasons why it was necessary to increase the personnel of the Russian army, Bartosz does not exclude. “The liberated territories will be considered ours only after our Armed Forces are stationed there on a permanent basis. It will be necessary to ensure the protection of cities and villages. Specialists in intelligence, anti-terror, law enforcement, as well as conventional military, power support will be especially needed there, ”Bartosz listed.
Recall that the number of contract soldiers in the army, according to the latest data, is 405.1 thousand people. This was reported in March 2020 by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
Many drew attention to the fact that the number mentioned in the decree corresponds to the approximate size of the conscription, which is already carried out in the country every six months. For example, in March of this year, the president decided by his decree to call up 134,500 people for military service. However, military expert Vladislav Shurygin considers this a mere coincidence.
“Now in the regions – in Yakutia, in Tatarstan – a large number of volunteer battalion tactical groups have been formed, there are several dozen of them.
Structurally, they are still outside the state, undergoing combat coordination. By this decree, they will probably just be included in the RF Armed Forces and will move from the category of volunteers to military personnel. Now they will be protected by rights, law and other guarantees. In addition, new batteries and regiments will be deployed in the RF Armed Forces along with existing units. In general, the peacetime army is building up its strength,” Shurygin believes.
“The military needs people. For example, it is necessary to restore the air defense system to a size close to Soviet times, since air defense is the first to repel any provocations, and provocations usually begin from the air and from space. We must also fully return to the places we left behind – to the European north, to the Murmansk region, where the entire military presence has been reduced to a minimum. Now this is the most dangerous direction – the north-western, the Arctic. This is the shortest distance to America, in addition, neighboring Finland decided to join NATO,” said Lieutenant General Aitech Bizhev, former deputy commander-in-chief of the Russian Air Force for the joint air defense system of the CIS.
In addition, according to the general, due to replenishment, it is necessary to strengthen the border troops and the Navy. “The space group needs to be brought to perfection so that the quality and quantity of the military does not lag behind the rearmament program,” he added.
Like Bartosz, the interlocutor believes that some of the 137,000 recruits should be sent to the liberated Ukrainian territories. “I myself in Kherson commanded an anti-aircraft missile brigade, consisting of 15 divisions. The Odessa air defense division was nearby, there was a missile brigade in Zaporozhye – all this needs to be restored, ”the general is sure.
The expansion will take place at the expense of contract soldiers and will not lead to an increase in conscription, suggested Alexei Leonkov, editor of the Arsenal of the Fatherland magazine. Russian troops are receiving new military equipment, which has become more complex, he recalled. For example, specialists will be required to manage the new S-500 and A-235 Nudol aerospace defense systems. “People who have to operate it must be trained for at least three years. It is clear that no urgent service will cover this, ”the expert is sure.
Leonkov recalled that against the backdrop of a special military operation, the number of people wishing to serve under a contract has increased, but under the law their number is limited to 600,000. At the same time, only after the announcement of Sweden and Finland about joining NATO, Shoigu promised to form 12 new units in response. “It can be assumed that some of these 137,000 new servicemen will end up serving in these new units,” the RIA Novosti expert said.
According to his forecasts, the current increase is not the last one. “Under the circumstances that are now taking shape, the share of contract servicemen should be increased to at least 1.2 million people,” the expert urges.