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New chief of staff to revive Russia's ailing military - expert

04.06.2008 Source: en.rian.ru

Gen. Nikolai Makarov's appointment as chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces suggests higher priority will be given to modernizing the military, a top Russian military expert said on Tuesday.

Deputy Defense Minister Gen. Nikolai Makarov has been appointed chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces. He replaces Gen. Yury Baluyevsky, who has been appointed deputy secretary of Russia's Security Council.

In an interview with RIA Novosti, Col. Gen. Leonid Ivashov, president of the Academy of Geopolitical Studies, said the appointment of Gen. Makarov, former chief of Armed Forces Arms Procurement, indicates that he may "reverse the negative, destructive trends that are now plaguing the Armed Forces, and stop the technical degradation of the Army and Navy."

He said the Russian military "has an acute shortage of new weaponry and military equipment, ammunition, and other technical systems."

Gen. Ivashov said with the right political and financial support, Gen. Makarov would be able to turn the Armed Forces around and make them more operationally effective and improve combat readiness.

He said that former General Staff chief Gen. Yury Baluyevsky had disagreed with Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov over military reforms.

The new chief of the General Staff told President Dmitry Medvedev earlier on Tuesday that he was fully aware of the responsibility delegated to him and would do everything to achieve the goals set for the Armed Forces, working in conjunction with the Defense Ministry and the Security Council.

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