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Russian army to be reformed despite protest

More than one thousand Russian servicemen have rallied in Moscow to demand the resignation of the country's Defence Minister.

­The protesters are against Anatoly Serdyukov's radical reforms in the armed forces.

The protest was organized by veterans from the Airborne Forces with servicemen and veterans from other military branches also taking part, along with monarchists, nationalists and hard line Orthodox Christians.

Throughout the rally, the protesters have opposed Serdyukov’s accusations of betraying Russia's interests, selling out the army and even acting in the interests of Zionists, APTN reports.

Serdyukov, the first civilian defence minister in 90 years , was appointed by then president Vladimir Putin in 2007 to make Russia’s Armed Forces more efficient.

In October 2009 the minister announced a number of reforms that he wanted to implement. These reforms included cutting officers’ jobs, and many Armed Forces’ members were unhappy with the prospects.

Serdykov’s has said that the military has to adjust to the current threats that Russia is facing, and that Russia no longer is facing full scale war as it was in the past. Therefore, a massive military is not what Russia needs.

The country, he claims, requires an efficient and non-corrupt military, and that’s what Serdyukov wants to create.

So, despite opposition protests calling for his resignation, Serdyukov says by 2016 he plans to cut back military to 1 million members, versus its current 5 million.

Pavel Zolotaryov – a retired major general – says Anatoly Serdyukov – a civilian – has dared to make changes which many in the army couldn't envisage.

“The reforms were able to start thanks to the fact that Anatoly Serdyukov is a civilian,”

Zolotaryov told RT.

“The civilian element in our armed forces helps to implement changes that army officials would never have dared to introduce. This anger has to do with the personal interests of our servicemen, not with the fact that these people don't accept the reform.”