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A leaner, meaner Russian army

As I mentioned in the Morning Brief today, the Russian army is planning to fire an astonishing 35,000 officers this year as part of an effort launched under Vladimir Putin to cut the force down below 1 million by 2012. But it’s not just the junior level officers who are getting the boot. RIA-Novosti reports ...

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MOSCOW, RUSSIA - APRIL 24: Russian soldiers march during a Victory Day parade rehearsal on April 24, 2009 in Alabino, outside Moscow, Russia. On May 9, 2009 Russia will mark the 64th anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two. (Photo by Dmitry Korotayev/Epsilon/Getty Images)

As I mentioned in the Morning Brief today, the Russian army is planning to fire an astonishing 35,000 officers this year as part of an effort launched under Vladimir Putin to cut the force down below 1 million by 2012. But it's not just the junior level officers who are getting the boot.

RIA-Novosti reports today that 50 of Russia's 249 generals will be fired after failing an aptitude test. 

As I mentioned in the Morning Brief today, the Russian army is planning to fire an astonishing 35,000 officers this year as part of an effort launched under Vladimir Putin to cut the force down below 1 million by 2012. But it’s not just the junior level officers who are getting the boot.

RIA-Novosti reports today that 50 of Russia’s 249 generals will be fired after failing an aptitude test. 

We are not going to keep officers who are not fit for their positions,” Gen. Pankov told journalists, as reports indicated around one-fifth of officers had failed the military aptitude test.

“The Defense Ministry took a decision to carry out unplanned tests among officers and NCOs. A considerable number of senior officers have proved inapt and will be dismissed from the Armed Forces,” he added.

Russia’s military arms buildup has raised alarm lately, but its staffing slimdown might actually turn out to be more consequential. Despite their military victory over the must smaller Georgian forces, last year’s August War exposed the Russian military as poorly equipped and badly organized. The Kremlin has evidently decided that smaller and smarter is the way to go.

Dmitry Korotayev/Epsilon/Getty Images

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy  Twitter: @joshuakeating

Tag: Russia

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