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Russian president supports military draft

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President Vladimir Putin said Saturday he supported the parliament's decision to maintain conscript service in the Russian Armed Forces, while reducing its term to one year.
ZAVIDOVO (Tver Region), November 17 (RIA Novosti) - President Vladimir Putin said Saturday he supported the parliament's decision to maintain conscript service in the Russian Armed Forces, while reducing its term to one year.

"The State Duma has made a weighted and absolutely right decision to cut the service term to 12 months, while maintaining the military draft," Putin said at a meeting with members of the United Russia faction at the lower house of the Russian parliament.

He said that the law on reduction of the term of conscript service well-fitted the current trend on strengthening Russia's defense capability, including the modernization of the Russian army and the preparation of professional cadre for the Armed Forces.

State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov said at the meeting that Russia's new three-year federal budget stipulated an equal distribution of expenditures between the maintenance of the army and its modernization.

Russia's military spending has increased dramatically under President Putin. According to the budget, defense spending in 2008 will grow another 16.3% from 2007 to 956 billion rubles ($36.8 billion), and is set to total 1.184 trillion rubles ($45.5 billion) by 2010.

Russia has recently cut its Armed Forces to about 1.1 million personnel, but unveiled plans to make it a strong professional force, capable of ensuring national security and protecting the country's interests anywhere in the world.

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