Barvikha, July 22, Interfax – Office of chaplain in Russia’s military will be introduced in three phases, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov told reporters. According to him, every Russian armed forces unit based outside Russia will have a chaplain posted in it before the end of 2009 as phase one.
Serdyukov said the forces outside Russia he was referring to were the 102nd Military Base in Armenia, the 201st Military Base in Tajikistan, and units based in South Ossetia, Abkhazia, the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol and Kyrgyzstan.
“One chaplain will be posted in each of the divisions by end of this year,” Serdyukov said.
Besides, according to him, it is planned to set up such a department in the North Caucasus armed forces unit during the first phase. “It’s our most belligerent district, it needs chaplains,” the Minister explained.
In course of the second phase, he went on to say, “additional civil staff (chaplains – IF) will be posted in main units, armed forces sub-units and military bases in Russia.” “The third phase is to set up a special administration at the central apparatus of the Russian armed forces and departments in military commands and in the navy,” Serdyukov further said.
He stressed, all main religions would be represented in these structures.
According to the Minister’s estimates, staff of chaplains in the Russian Army and navy would list about 200-250 persons.
When questioned about chaplain’s salary Serdyukov responded, “average wage of a chaplain can’t be lower than the salary of the unit’s deputy commander on educational work.”