16:1321/07/2009 MOSCOW, July 21 (RIA Novosti) - About 320,000 young men are to be drafted into the Russian Armed Forces in the fall of 2009, a deputy chief of the General Staff said on Tuesday.
"According to our estimates, about 320,000 people will be conscripted into the Russian Armed Forces this fall," Col. Gen. Vasily Smirnov said.
Only 133,000 conscripts joined the armed forces during the spring draft, and about 219,000 people were drafted in last year's fall.
The general said the higher number of conscripts was due to the reduction of officer ranks, the scrapping the rank of warrant officers and cuts to contract personnel.
As of January 1, 2009, the Russian Armed Forces numbered 355,000 officers and 140,000 warrant officers.
"By the end of 2009, we will have 150,000 officers, all warrant officers will have been discharged or absorbed into other ranks, and we will have less contracted personnel," Smirnov said.
"Therefore, we will have to draft over 300,000 people," he said.
The current military reforms in Russia will see personnel cut to 1 million by 2012 from 1.34 million.