Moscow military leadership rejects report on troop unrest
The Russian Defence Ministry on Saturday denied reports of protests by leading military personnel against planned army reforms by the Kremlin, dpa reported.
The report by the daily Kommersant, which wrote of resignations of high-ranking officers and "open dissatisfaction" by the military rank-and-file, was described by a Defence Ministry spokesman as a "scandalous lie."
There was no disunity over the planned military course, the unnamed spokesman was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.
The spokesman also denied reports that soldiers had been banned from speaking to the press about the reforms.
"On the contrary, we are in continual dialogue with the media," the spokesman said.
According to the Kommersant report, among the dissatisfied officers were special forces soldiers who had served in Chechnya.
"The reform is arousing serious dissatisfaction in all parts of the military structure," Kommmersant, which quoted parliamentarian Mikhail Babitch as saying that "disgust was growing" in the army and in society.
The miliary leadership plans to reduce the number of officers by 160,000 by 2012, or to around half of its current size, said Military Chief of STaff Nikolai Makarov recently.
According to Makarov, the proposed changes stem from the need for reform in both the army and navy. In the future, the military will likely only around have about 150,000 officers, or around 15 per cent of the total military.
Defence Minister Anatoli Serdyukov previously announced that Russia, in its pursuit of reform, would reduce the number of its soldiers to around 1 million.