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Russia Launches Purge Of Army Officers

President Dmitry Medvedev (right) met in February with officers appointed to top command ranks.
MOSCOW -- Fifty senior Russian officers have been declared unfit for their posts and will be discharged from the Russian Army, RFE/RL's Russian Service reported.

Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov initiated a campaign this month to assess qualifications for service among the country's top brass.

Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Pankov said on April 28 that experts and commissions had assessed the professional qualifications of 85 percent of the army's officers.

Pankov added that beyond the generals and colonels, a further 40,000 officers will be expelled from the army by December.

But he added that the expellees will leave the army only after they have been assured proper housing.

Officer posts in the top-heavy Soviet and Russian armies were long regarded as havens where pay was regular and benefits attractive even as other sectors struggled.