The newspaper Kommersant, in the material "The Ministry of Defense, recognized instability in
front of the new enemy. Office reported on the prevention of coronavirus ”
, writes that on April 13, 2020, President Vladimir Putin allowed
the use of“ capabilities ”and“ reserves ”of the Ministry of Defense in the fight against the spread of coronavirus in Russia.
At a meeting with the leadership of the federal headquarters to combat the pandemic, Vladimir Putin recalled that Russian military doctors “work
quite effectively abroad,” helping to combat coronavirus infection. It is, obviously, about groups of medical specialists of the Ministry of Defense
of the Russian Federation, which have been in Italy and Serbia for several weeks now. President Putin said that the “significant experience” they
have accumulated will need to be used in Russia. He added that the main capacities of the army to counter the spread of infection are “in reserve”
and that “the capabilities of the Ministry of Defense, if necessary, of course, can and should be used.”
At the same time, the Ministry of Defense itself assesses the sanitary-epidemiological status of coronavirus infection in the Russian armed forces as
“unstable,” a source familiar with the data provided by the ministry to the Russian government at the end of March told Kommersant.
As of March 30, at least three cases of COVID-19 infection among personnel were officially confirmed in the Russian army. Positive results on
coronavirus showed tests ensign 1994 born. He is undergoing treatment at home, and "anti-epidemic measures", as reported in the document, "carried
out in full." It was established that ten people contacted him. In a "satisfactory condition" in the hospital in Kommunarka is a soldier with the
rank of colonel. In the circle of persons in contact with him there are no military personnel. Midshipman of the Northern Fleet is undergoing
treatment in a hospital, 51 people contacted him. According to a Kommersant source, at least 133 troops were in contact with other carriers of the
virus. All of them are isolated, under medical supervision, have no signs of infectious diseases.
According to Kommersant’s information, on April 12, the Ministry of Defense also reported to the government on preparations for a possible increase
in the number of cases.
Thus, over 4.8 thousand infectious beds have been deployed in military medical organizations, 32 military hospitals have been prepared, 11 of which
(1936 beds) "are ready for work within four hours under strict anti-epidemic conditions." On March 30, seven mobile hospitals with 100 beds each
began to form on the basis of individual medical battalions, divisions, and medical companies, and construction and equipping of 16 multifunctional
medical centers on the territory of military hospitals of the Western, Southern, Central, and Eastern military districts began on March 19. 49 mobile
sanitary-epidemiological groups were also formed for an operational response. The Ministry has 2 million medical disposable masks, 15 thousand
respirators, 100 insulating transport boxes, 10 thousand disposable suits of an infectious disease specialist, 3 thousand medical protective suits of
the Quartz type, several dozen sets of tools for collecting biomaterial, and continues to purchase the necessary items.
It is worth noting that even in an emergency case, Russia will not be able to directly take advantage of the “experience gained abroad”. The
Ministry of Defense emphasizes that all military personnel arriving from foreign business trips undergo a “mandatory two-week observation”. This
also applies to military doctors who are now in Italy and Serbia.
According to a Kommersant source, the ministry stated that it “pays special attention” to students of military universities, pupils of cadet,
Suvorov and Nakhimov schools. In them, in particular, they inform about the symptoms of infection, conduct mandatory thermometry and disinfect common
areas. "Also developed" recommendations for medical examination and laboratory examination of draftees. March 30, Vladimir Putin signed a decree on
conscription from April 1 to July 15. Citizens aged 18 to 27 years began to be called up for military service; the total number of conscripts will be
135 thousand people. In mid-March, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov promised that the Kremlin would consider the possibility of postponing the
spring draft due to a pandemic and would appeal to the Ministry of Defense with this. However, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu later said that they
would not transfer the spring draft to the army and that it would go according to plan. On April 5, employees of the military registration and
enlistment offices switched to remote work, keeping records of data “remotely by telephone” so that conscripts and their relatives would not come
to the military enlistment offices. They are not yet being sent to the troops.