MOSCOW - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Thursday changes in the Russian army were tough but vital.
"Our army is changing now, and difficult though these changes may be, they are necessary, because we understand that our armed forces will not be modern and efficient, more combat ready and better armed, if officers' salaries will not stimulate them to normal work, because then we will have no normal defense," said Medvedev as quoted by the Interfax news agency.
He stressed the importance of modernization of the army and admitted that a number of decisions had already been made on the issue.
"I am keeping this under control as the commander-in-chief, and will continue doing so," Medvedev said during a visit to a military training center near Solnechnogorsk outside Moscow.
He said money should be allocated for modernizing armed forces, and the military should start using digital means of communication by 2012.
Medvedev said late last December his country would fully re-equip its armed forces with modern military hardware in the next 10 years.
Shortly after a brief war with Georgia in August 2008, Russia unveiled military reform plans aimed at modernizing its armed forces, improving their efficiency and raising the living standards of servicemen and women.