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    Russian government hasn't received military training department abolition document

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    MOSCOW, June 30 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian government has not yet received the Defense Ministry's document on the abolition of military training departments at institutes of higher learning, a cabinet source said.

    "As far as we know, the reduction of military training departments at institutes of higher learning was discussed at the level of the federal bodies of executive power, but no draft decisions on this issue have been submitted to the government," the source said.

    Earlier, a cabinet source told journalists that the Russian government had made no decisions to abolish military training departments.

    "This issue is very complicated," the source said.

    Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Nikolai Pankov said Thursday that he had sent an instruction to civilian universities and colleges not to accept students to military training departments. The move caused the public's wide reaction.

    Pankov said today's realities as well as the structure and strength of Russia's Armed Forces made it possible to use a more compact and less expensive way to train reserve officers.

    "A young man who graduates from a civilian higher school then serves one year in the Armed Forces and becomes a reserve officer," he said.

    Pankov said military training departments would be preserved in 30-35 institutes of higher learning. Students would study science-intensive military professions, he said.

    Pankov said a new scheme would regulate the students' training at military training departments. A young man would have to sign a contract with the Defense Ministry as soon as he starts studying. After graduation, he would have to serve three years as a commissioned officer.

    "We should regard military training departments as a way to train reserve officers, rather than a way to avoid serving in the army," Russian Education and Science Minister Andrei Fursenko said, commenting on Defense Ministry representatives' intention to get rid of military training departments.

    The minister said deferments for students should be preserved.

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