In the last week of November, the political elite of Russia was actively discussing the problems of reforming of national security agencies. Visiting the Ryazan Institute of Airborne Forces on November 29, President Vladimir Putin announced that authorities of the country confirmed the course of gradual transition to manning of the Armed Forces on a contract basis. However, according to Putin, “The economy does not allow doing this quickly.” The President adds that, “There is military work, for which there is no sense in recruiting contract servicemen yet, and there are such problems of military service, where it is necessary to have those who chose their service voluntarily.” According to Putin, special forces, units of permanent readiness, Airborne Forces and marine units should be manned on the contract basis. But when will this happen?

It is known that the conceptual plan of transition of the Armed Forces to the professional basis will be prepared only by mid-2003. The results of the relevant experiment will be summed up by 2004. Thus, massive transition of the troops to a contract basis will begin only during 2005 and 2006. By the same time, it is also planned to start reforming the Interior Ministry.

Setting the tasks for 2003 at a meeting of an expanded commission of the Interior Forces, Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov announced that, “We face a big task in changing of the plan of troops use, taking into account terrorist threats.” What will this work be like?

First, the Interior Forces will be structured in a different manner. It is known that in mid-2003 command over the antiterrorist operation in Chechnya will be reassigned from the Federal Security Service to the Interior Ministry. The Interior Forces has already formed six special detachments that will soon replace the combined militia rapid response detachments in the North Caucasus. By the end of 2003, the number of special units in the Interior Forces will reach ten, and four special detachments will operate in Chechnya on a permanent basis. According to the plans of the Interior Ministry, special antiterrorist forces will form the basis of the rapid response forces to be organized in 2003. By 2005, it is planned to form a National Guard from the Interior Forces.

Second, reforms are planned within the Interior Ministry itself. It is planned to divide the militia into federal police (financed from the federal budget) and municipal militias (financed by the local authorities). An investigation committee will be separated from the Interior Ministry and transformed into the Federal Investigation Service. On November 29, Gryzlov confirmed existence of such plans, adding that appearance of municipal militias is expected not earlier than in 2006. Gryzlov pointed out that, “Nobody is going to disband the Interior Ministry.” According to him, the component oriented at the municipal level will be simply separated. “According to the Constitution, the local self-government bodies also have the function of law enforcement, due to which municipal militias may be organized,” stresses Gryzlov. He explains that members of the municipal militias will be municipal employees and not representatives of the “federal militia component.”

“The level of responsibility that may be given to the newly established structures is currently being considered,” says the Minister. He lists the possible areas of responsibility of municipal militias: maintenance of public order through patrol work, work connected with uncared-for children, sobering up centers, monitoring of the condition of road paving, and some other functions.

Thus, the new appearance of the national security agencies will be formed only after election of the new president after 2004. It is known that Russia spends more than 6% of GDP on defense and security. This is a very large amount. Not a single developed country of the world can afford such expenditures. However, we see that the Kremlin is not in a hurry with the reforms. Their efficiency may be low, and the reorganizations may form negative motivations of the people. Of course, this is not beneficial for the “party in power” in circumstances of the election struggle.

Reorganizations also require money. Thus, expenditures on defense and security may grow. For example, the experiment in the 76th Airborne Division alone cost about 3 billion rubles. Much money was spent, and results were lamentable. People do not wish to become contract servicemen.

Meanwhile, new plans of troops use are being formed for struggle against terrorism, including plans implying the use of some Army formations in the antiterrorist struggle. In the television program “Zerkalo” on November 30 former Security Council Secretary and incumbent Duma deputy Andrei Kokoshin said that a new security triad was being formed in Russia. According to “Nezavisimaya Gazeta”, together with the traditional strategic nuclear forces (including the Strategic Missile Forces, the nuclear surface and submarine fleet of the Navy and the long-range aviation of the Air Force) and general-purpose forces (ground forces and non-strategic Navy and Air Force), the Armed Forces will receive special antiterrorist forces. According to available information, it was decided to form a new plan for use of the troops and antiterrorist forces within the structure of a new ministry (or service or committee), which would probably be organized very soon. The National Guard will be operationally subordinated to this new agency. Units of general-purpose forces and special forces of other security agencies of the country will also be operationally subordinated to the “antiterrorist” ministry.

These are the main directions for reforming of security agencies in Russia. These reorganizations are connected with the political factor, but it is difficult to say yet what hinders acceleration of the reforming processes more: actual policy or economic problems.

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