MOSCOW— The Russian government has announced it would hire 10,000 military veterans from the United States and other NATO countries, sources confirmed today.
“Joining our veteran hiring program is as simple as scanning both sides of your military identification card, filling out some paperwork, and taking a short exam,” said Sergei Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister.
The hiring initiative follows other recent pushes to hire veterans by American companies, such as Starbucks and Black Rifle Coffee Co., in addition to previous pledges from Waste Management and Walmart to directly recruit Marine Corps infantrymen for janitorial roles.
The program was set to begin last year but was delayed since Kremlin officials were busy closely monitoring the 2016 U.S. presidential election, which it did not interfere in at all.
Officials said that signing bonuses were being offered for those special skills that are desperately needed in Moscow, such as Americans with top-secret security clearances or former NSA employees.
Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden took advantage of a similar pilot program offered in 2013.
“Applying was super easy, and I was hired within two weeks,” said Maj. Joshua McCreton, a former Marine intelligence officer. “I just had to verify my identity, then take a quick test with really easy questions like 'what's my mother’s maiden name,' 'the name of my first pet,' and 'what's my favorite food.'"
He added: "After that I was able to work from home by helping out with their security and sharing the knowledge about how we can defeat ISIS in Syria.
Still, the program is not without its critics.
Richard Ledgett, former deputy director of the NSA, warned that veteran involvement in Russia could be dangerous to national security. However, a full report he was due to present at the Center for Strategic and International Studies was delayed indefinitely after he slipped on something in the shower, and then choked on rare plutonium only found in Siberia.
“Occupation is very important to me and my countries," Russian President Vladimir Putin said of the hiring program.