Staunton, June 23 – Historically, the Russian military has commissioned a single class of lieutenants each year; but this year, because of changes in training arrangements for those in higher educational institutions and because of a shortage of officers in the Russian army, it is commissioning two classes, one last March and a second in October, Izvestiya reports.
As a result, the Moscow paper continues, there will be approximately 2,000 newly-minted lieutenants entering service, “three times more than last year,” with experts insisting the “accelerated” program “will not reduce the quality of the preparation of officers” (iz.ru/757228/aleksandr-kruglov-bogdan-stepovoi/leitenantskie-pogony-polozhat-pod-novogodniuiu-elku).
The defense ministry says it plans to have two classes next year as well but then to return to a single class in the following years once the shift in the preparation of officers enrolled in higher educational institutions from five years to four has been fully achieved. This four-year program represents a return to what was standard at the end of Soviet times.
Many will likely see this boost in the number of new officers as an indication of the Kremlin’s future military plans. After all, as Izvestiya points out, “the last time” there were such additional classes was in 1999 and 2000 when the army needed more officers “for conducting the counter-terrorist operation in Chechnya.”