Russia is introducing new uniforms, developed by a top Russian clothing
designer, and has discovered that many of the top generals and admirals look
terrible in the new threads. The reason is that the design team was given the
new military physical fitness standards as a guideline. The problem was that a
third of the senior officers did not meet these standards. Not only were all of
these guys overweight, but a quarter of the senior officers could not pass the
new physical fitness tests. The order has now gone out to the generals; shape
up or retire.
been upgrading its armed forces for the past five years, with the goal of
having a highly professional, all-volunteer, force in the next decade. New
equipment, new weapons, new housing, new tactics, new uniforms and, perhaps
most painful of all, new physical fitness standards. Through the 1990s, the
Soviet era forces fell apart, leaving Russia militarily weaker than it has been
for centuries. Only its nuclear weapons provided some security, and comfort,
during that dark decade.
just the generals who are having problems with physical fitness. Half the
conscripts (who comprise about half the military manpower) are physically unfit
when they enter service. The volunteers are a different story. In fact, they
cannot become "contract" (volunteer) soldiers unless they can meet higher
standards all around. Russia wants to go with an all-volunteer force as quickly
as possible. But it's a matter of money. Volunteers have to be paid wages competitive
with the civilian job market. That will take time. Meanwhile, everyone is out
exercising more, and looking better.