The President inspected the Peschanka firing range and had a meeting with special forces of the Internal Affairs Ministry and the Siberian Military District.
According to official and unbiased reports coming from Chechnya, special forces of the Main Intelligence Directorate were among the best trained and best performing, with special troops of the Interior Forces coming in second, the President stated during his meeting with military personnel.
The President congratulated members of special units on the upcoming Day of Special Forces.
Speaking about the so-called “combat” pay in Chechnya, the President said these additional sums were paid to those who were fighting directly in the mountains. The other personnel in Chechnya must also receive more than those who serve in Russia’s other regions.
At the same time, the military personnel in the republic must be reduced as Chechen bodies of the internal affairs are strengthened. They are currently being actively formed, President Putin stressed. The troops deployed on Chechnya’s territory are either fighting militia groups, big and small, and their chiefs or reinforcing the actions of republican law enforcement bodies.
At the meeting the President also spoke of cuts in the armed forces in general. He noted that certain reductions were justified because a large number of non-functioning elements had already accumulated. He cited 1999 as an example: it was the year when a counter-terrorist operation began in Chechnya. At that time, the President said, out of 1,300,000 personnel only 50,000 were ground troops stationed in various parts of the country. In those conditions the government had to send personnel with just six months of training to fight in the counter-terrorist operation.
For that never to be repeated, reorganisation was currently under way to increase the number of high-readiness units, the President noted.