Forces: September 28, 2003


The Russian armed forces have lost over half its manpower in the last eleven years. But the current 1.1 million troops are still commanded by 1,400 generals and admirals (one for every 830 troops). There are also about 140,000 "contract troops" (lower ranking enlisted troops serving on higher paid professional contracts) and 730,000 civilian employees. This year, another 36,800 officers and career enlisted troops will be losing their jobs. The army only has 321,000 troops, which is smaller than the American army (something that never happened in all of American history.) The air force (including air defense forces) are 148,600 troops and the navy has 171,500. Russia still relies on conscripts for most of their manpower, and these young troops serve only two years. Much time and effort has to be dedicated to training new conscripts to replace those who have left. 

The Missile, Space and Airborne forces are still around, but they are no longer independent services. These troops now belong to the army, navy and air force, although they are still considered national strategic forces.

But there many others in Russian government service who carry weapons. The interior ministry has 186,000 security troops (many organized into light infantry units), the Federal Bodyguard Service has 11,500 people (most armed) and the border patrol has 165,000 armed men (and some women). The penitentiary system has 251,000 uniformed personnel. The Russian government actually has 3.2 million people who go to work wearing a military type uniform. But most of these are not considered troops. For example, the Federal Fire Fighting Service has 73,000 uniformed personnel, as does the Federal Railroad Force (48,000 people.) The FSB (replaced the KGB and is similar to the FBI/CIA in the U.S.) has 66,200 employees who, while they usually work in civilian clothes, have a military uniform they wear from time to time. The government also has 4.5 million civilians on the payroll.


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