Two important events, which must improve the image of the Russian Army, happened last week. Firstly, the interdepartmental commission for informational provision of Russia’s policy abroad held a meeting and discussed the main directions of activities aimed at improving the performance of representative offices of Russian embassies abroad (including military representative offices). Secondly, the Defense Ministry and RIA Novosti presented the new magazine Russian Military Review to Russian and foreign readers. Precisely this magazine must become the guide of Russian military policy abroad. As is known, Russia did not publish official military issues financed from the budget and oriented to civil readers owing to financial problems. As is known, the majority of magazines such as Orientir, Armeiskii Sbornik, MOrskoi Sbornik, Voyennaya Mysl and Krasnaya Zvezda are oriented to military readers.

Russian Military Review was registered with the Russian Media Ministry on October 31, 2003. The magazine is published in Russian, English and Spanish. The magazine costs 35 rubles for the Army and 50 rubles for civil readers. An English version of the magazine costs 300 rubles. Around 30,000 magazines are published. The military thinks that advertising in this magazine will also be profitable.

Colonel Alexander Artozei, head of the Voyeninform agency (the Defense Ministry) told WPS that “the main task of the magazine is to reflect the official position of the Russian president, the Federal Assembly, the government and the Defense Ministry regarding all problems of the defense policy, military construction and the life of the Armed Forces and other security structures”. The goal is to give objective information to Russian and foreign readers and improve the prestige of the Russian Army and attractiveness of military service.

Yury Baluyevsky, Deputy Chief of the General Staff, stated that “the magazine will reflect problems, which worry society, including the directions of development of the Russian Army”. He noted that the magazine will be able to criticize the Defense Ministry. Baluyevsky thinks that censorship will be applied to the magazine. He said: “censorship will be elementary. Such censorship is applied to materials concerning the development of any army.” The magazine will consist of two parts: analytical materials and documents issued by the Defense Ministry.

Leonid Burmistrov, deputy president of the RIA Novosti board of directors, said: “The main criterion of publications is their objectiveness. We are prepared to speak of problems.”

Victor Ozerov, head of the defense and security committee of the Federation Council, said: “The more foreigners know about the actual situation in the Russian Federation, the better the prestige.”

Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov’s message to the readers was announced at a presentation of the magazine. He noted in the message that “the Defense Ministry’s decision to establish the magazine Russian Military Review is a topical and important event”.

The defense minister noted: “The state and the Armed Forces need understanding and support of Russian society at the current phase of Russia’s development and a period of important decisions and practical moves in the military construction sector. It’s impossible to solve defense tasks and ensure reliable protection of Russia’s national interests without such support.”

The Defense Ministry thinks that it’s an important task to inform society about processes taking place in the Armed Forces. This is the new magazine is a very important event in the life of the Russian Army.

In other words, the Russian Defense Ministry has finally focused on problems linked with its image and prestige, and started building a new information policy. However, sources in the Defense Ministry state that this is just the beginning of the reform of the information system. It is possible that the Defense Ministry will create a large information holding.