That number — 766,055 — is how many officers and soldiers Russia’s Audit Chamber says were paid to serve in the armed forces on 1 January 2013, according to RIA Novosti.
This confirms what’s been said by various military commentators over the past year or so. Several said about 750,000 or below 800,000.
The Audit Chamber is a quasi-independent and pretty reliable source, something akin to America’s GAO.
Walk this back . . . take 766,055 and subtract 220,000 officers, 186,000 contractees reported at the beginning of 2013, spring 2013 and fall 2012 draft contingents of 153,200 and 140,140, and you are left with 66,715.
That leftover number roughly corresponds to cadets in VVUZy.
Undermanning — below the statutory authorization of one million — has been confirmed officially.
This is the truest, most accurate manpower baseline we’re likely to see.