On Friday, Deputy Defence Minister Nikolai Pankov said that more women should serve as long-service personnel in the Russian forces, telling a meeting of Siberian university students, “My personal opinion is that we should see more women in the ranks serving as officers, generals, sergeants, and privates”. He added that such service would be voluntary. Pankov said that 200 women were cadets at various military education establishments in Russia last year; he expects that number to grow in 2014, noting, “We’ve opened admission [for women] even to the Ryazan Higher Airborne Command School… and the number of applications is enormous. This goes to show that women want to enter the military profession, so, we shouldn’t ignore it”. According to statistics, 11,000 women are now on military duty, down from 30,000 five years ago due to staff cuts under present military reforms. They serve as officers and NCOs, mainly in staff positions, as specialists in medical and financial services, or in communications units.
31 January 2014