Military Review

The mercenary is not the defender of the fatherland

The mercenary is not the defender of the fatherland

To speculate about the need to create a so-called professional army is very much loved in modern Russia. And the supporters of this proposal are not only representatives of the liberal intelligentsia, but also a significant part of the population of our country that does not share its other views.

Many citizens of the Russian Federation are firmly convinced that a professional army is good by definition. Any opponent of this idea is declared a stupid retrograde, with whom there is simply nothing to talk about. Although there is a lot to talk about. After all, you only need to think a little to understand what frankly absurd constructions underlie the myth that has taken root in the public consciousness.


“Let those who want serve”, “Let well-trained professionals serve” - these theses are considered self-evident. In response, I would like to ask questions: who and when prevented people from joining the army who decided to choose a military career? Who and when did not allow them into the Armed Forces? Even in Soviet times, when the draft principle of recruitment was not subject to discussion, there was an institute of extra term soldiers. But in the post-Soviet period, attempts to attract professionals to the military system were extremely active. But somehow it did not work out.

However, the liberal public easily explains this by the fact that the “stupid generals” killed the “brilliant idea”. What and how - intelligibly is not explained. Ruined - and all. Apparently, they stood a wall in the way of well-trained professionals and did not allow them to serve. Those were torn, but - alas! Here, by the way, the following question arises: where do well-trained professionals come from? Are they so prepared in "conscription slavery"? Something with something here does not fit.

Actually, whoever sees his vocation in military service is the one who serves. First of all, we are talking about officers. As for the rank and file, it is easy to understand: in a developed country with a market economy (and Russia, with all understandable reservations is such), those who have not found their place in civilian life will go to the army under the contract. That is, lumpen. Or, at best, well-intentioned people from the lower classes. Representatives of other segments of the population will choose a civilian profession, which gives many times more money at an incomparably higher level of freedom (and if they see their vocation in military service, they will become officers, not private soldiers). This happened in all developed countries, not excluding the United States. In 70-80-ies of the twentieth century, when in the United States there was a refusal of conscription, the quality of the personnel of the American armed forces deteriorated catastrophically.

This fact kills the thesis about “well-trained professionals”, which is no less stupid than “let those who want serve”.

And again the question arises: why are they professionals? Who prepared them well? You would think that if a man is called up for military service, he is not a professional. And if the same person got hired for her, he automatically becomes a professional. By the way, the level of training is determined by its organization, and not by the principle of recruitment. In the Israeli army, for example, military training is the highest, although the IDF can be said to be the most conscript army in the world, even women are obliged to serve in its ranks and no AGS is envisaged (“otkazniks” are sent to prison). At the same time, the excellent living conditions of the servicemen of the armed forces of the Jewish state are known, as well as the absence of non-statutory relations in them.

The Israelis were able to create such an army, but what prevents us from doing this? Domestic zealots of the professional army are not able to give explanations on this score. The only relatively intelligible answer: "Israel is surrounded by enemies." This is equivalent to the well-known expression "In the garden of elderberry, and in Kiev the uncle." The fact of taxing the territory of your country with enemies, of course, requires a draft army (which will be discussed below), but it has nothing to do with the IDF’s internal structure. How does a hostile environment affect the excellent living conditions in the Israeli barracks? Is the lack of enemy tanks behind the nearest outskirts prevents our army from "learning military affairs in this way"?

And in the armies of Western European countries, which, before the start of the 90s, were all conscripted without exception, the level of training of the rank and file was higher than in the hired Anglo-Saxon armies. The very same groupings of the Armed Forces of the USSR in the countries of Eastern Europe differed. A real professional Soviet army was stationed there, although it was recruited by conscription. Just abroad, in contrast to the units on the territory of the Union, they did not paint dandelions green, and all the two years of service they were purposefully engaged in combat training. And if it is not there, then the person will not become a professional completely regardless of how many years he has served and whether he receives money for it. In addition, from a representative of the lower classes, not to mention the lumpen, it is extremely difficult to make a professional even with good organization of training and the length of time you are in the military ranks. Especially in the modern army, where the main thing is to understand the complex technique, and not to run around the field with a gun.


In fact, the principle of acquisition is a purely applied thing. It is determined by what tasks the army faces, and nothing more. This principle has nothing to do with the level of the country's economic and social development and its political structure. If there is a danger of large-scale external aggression, the country needs a conscription army (at least because it is necessary to have a large prepared reserve). That is why in Israel or in such a very highly developed democratic country as South Korea, there is no question of the abolition of universal military service. Therefore, until the collapse of the Warsaw Pact and the USSR, all Western European armies of NATO member countries were recruited by conscription. And now the “sworn friends” - Greece and Turkey, who are constantly preparing for war between themselves (and the Turks - with their neighbors in the east) are not considering the possibility of abandoning it.

If the threat of external aggression has disappeared, either the army is assigned the task of conducting overseas operations (often police rather than military), or it is by and large not needed and remains a certain mandatory attribute of the state. In the latter case, the call loses its meaning and the transition to the hired principle of recruitment occurs naturally.

In the United States and Great Britain, they decided to abandon the recruitment of recruits-recruits as early as the Cold War years precisely because, for purely geographical reasons, these states were not threatened with invasion from outside. Overseas operations (like the Vietnamese) were rejected by society, which made the call impossible. By the way, it was not formally canceled in the USA, it is simply declared annually "zero" every year.

Now most of the countries of the North Atlantic alliance have no need for conscription armies (although, apart from Greece and Turkey, they are in Germany, Portugal, Denmark, Norway, Slovenia, Croatia, Slovakia, Albania, Estonia, and also in neutral Austria, Finland, Switzerland ). The problem of lumpenization is being fought by increasing the money allowance, which makes it possible to attract not only representatives of the lower classes to the armed forces. This naturally leads to a very significant increase in military spending.

Europeans solved this problem simply: their armies are so small that the remaining personnel can be paid relatively well. The reduction of the armed forces actually leads to the loss of defense capability, but the Europeans have no one to defend from. In addition, they are all members of NATO, the total power of which is still very high. The Americans cannot do this, because they are fighting all the time, in addition, the United States is obliged to protect Europeans who refuse to armies. Therefore, the Pentagon budget has reached a truly astronomical size. And most of the money goes to the maintenance of military personnel.

In 80-90-ies, the Pentagon achieved an improvement in the quality of the personnel of the US armed forces, getting rid of lumpen people by means of a sharp increase in the monetary allowance and the introduction of many different kinds of benefits. But the Second Iraq War broke everything. She revealed another shortcoming of the mercenary army, much more serious than lumpenization. This is a fundamental change in motivation.


Another favorite statement by the adherents of a professional army is “the military profession is the same as everyone else.” This thesis is not just false, like the above "postulates", it is frankly mean. The military profession is fundamentally different from all others in that it, and only it, implies the obligation to die. And you can not die for money. It is possible to kill, but not to die. You can die only for the idea. That is why a mercenary army cannot wage a war, implying a high level of casualties.

The demotivation of European professional servicemen assumed a frankly shameful character. It all started with the famous events in Srebrenica in 1995, when the Dutch battalion did nothing to prevent the massacre of civilians. Then there were the resigned surrender of the English Marines to the Iranians, the repeated withdrawal of Czech special forces in Afghanistan from combat positions, because the lives of soldiers were in danger! All these "heroes" were professionals.

And in the United States, due to increased losses in Iraq and Afghanistan, there was a shortage of people willing to serve in the army, which led to an immediate decline in the quality of volunteer recruits to the level of mid-70's. The lumpens and criminals again pulled into the troops. And for huge money.

Fortunately for the States and European countries, even a defeat in the overseas wars does not threaten their independence. For the defense of their own land, a mercenary army is unfit not only because in this case there is not a sufficient number of reservists. Much worse is that professionals for their homeland will not die either, because they did not go to serve for this.

Professional troops of the six monarchies of the Persian Gulf, equipped with the most modern weapons more than enough, in August 1990 showed an absolute inconsistency against the draft army of Iraq. The armed forces of Kuwait before the war were simply enormous in scale of this microscopic state and had a real opportunity to hold out for several days alone, waiting for help from formally very powerful armies of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. In reality, the Kuwaiti professionals simply evaporated, not offering any resistance to the enemy, and the neighbors allies did not even try to help the victim of aggression and began calling for help to NATO in horror. Then, at the very beginning of the first Gulf War - January 24, 1991, the Iraqis launched the only offensive on the Saudi town of Ras Khafji in that campaign. His "defenders" ran immediately! They were also professionals ...

Interestingly, after liberation from the Iraqi occupation, Kuwait immediately moved to universal conscription. Moreover, it was kept until the final defeat of Iraq in 2003.

In August 2008 история repeated in the Caucasus. Although the call is formally maintained in Georgia, all mechanized brigades that have been trained under the NATO programs were staffed with contract servicemen. And at the beginning of the attack on South Ossetia, during the offensive against the weaker adversary, the aggressor was doing well. And then Russian troops came into action, roughly equal in size to the grouping of the Georgian Armed Forces. In addition, conscripts constituted a significant part of the personnel of our units. As you know, the Georgian professional army did not even lose, it just collapsed and fled. Although from the second day of the war for the Georgians it was about protecting their own territory.

This problem has another aspect. The draft army is a people's army, therefore it is very difficult to turn against the people of their own country. A mercenary army is an army that has hired it, it is much easier to use it for solving internal punitive tasks. That is why in most of the underdeveloped third world countries, armies are mercenary. They do not exist for war with an external adversary, but for the protection of the power from the population. Bangladesh, Belize, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Gabon, Guyana, Gambia, Ghana, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, DRC (Zaire), Zambia, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Kenya, Malawi, Nepal, Nigeria, Nicaragua, Papua - New Gvineya Rwanda, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Fiji, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Jamaica are professional armed forces in all these countries.

And for this reason, Germany still does not refuse the draft army, although from a geopolitical point of view, the need for it has been lost. The memory of the totalitarian past is too strong in the country. And even in the United States, where totalitarianism has never happened, literature and cinema from time to time give out horror stories about a military coup, and experts constantly discuss the issue of how to strengthen civilian control over the Armed Forces.

No matter how surprised our liberals, who are being beaten by riot police, are on the “Dissenter Marches”, who continue to demand from the Kremlin: “Take out and put us a professional army!”. After all, the riot police is a professional army, a power structure that is fully staffed for hire. Alas, dogma is above reality.


It is clear that the ugly living conditions of military personnel lie at the heart of the national myth about the professional army and that hazing is much worse. It is easy to understand that the former are in no way connected with the principle of recruitment. As for hazing, she was born at the end of 60, when at the same time criminals began to be called up for military service and more importantly, the institute of junior commanders, sergeants and petty officers was essentially eliminated. This gave a cumulative effect, which we are clearing to this day.

Not a single army in the world - neither in the draft or in the hired - there is nothing like this. Although the "non-statutory relationship" is everywhere. After all, the rank and file of the army unit (ship) is a group of young men who are in puberty, with a level of education not above average, focused on violence. In this case, non-statutory relations in mercenary armies appear more often than in conscription. This is natural, because a hired army is a specific closed caste, where the internal hierarchy, the role of traditions and rituals is much higher than in the national conscription army, where people serve for a relatively short time. But, again, nothing like our hazing, which was essentially institutionalized, is nowhere to be found. The increase in the share of contract servicemen in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation did not abolish the problem at all, in some places even aggravated, the crime rate among them is higher than among the draftees, and continues to grow. What is absolutely natural, since the problem of lumpenization described above fully affected us.

The only way to deal with hazing is the restoration of a full-fledged institute of junior commanders, here we really need to follow the example of the United States (there is an expression “the world is ruled by sergeants”). It is sergeants and foremen who must be professionals, so there is a need for special, very tough selection for physical, intellectual, and psychological indicators. Naturally, it is implied that the future junior commander served a full term conscription. At the same time, he is not only obliged to serve himself well, but also to have the ability to teach others. That is why when selecting for the position of sergeant (foremen) it is imperative to take into account the feedback about the serviceman of his commanders and colleagues. The size of the money allowance of the sergeant (sergeant) should be set at the level of the middle class, and Moscow, rather than provincial (with, of course, the lieutenant has to pay more than the sergeant).

Ordinary composition must be recruited. He should be provided with normal living conditions and occupations only and exclusively combat training throughout the entire period of service. Naturally, among the privates who have served the actual call, there may be those who wish to continue serving under the contract. In this case, the selection will also be required, of course, somewhat less stringent than for junior commanders. We must remember that quality is more important than quantity. The desire of a potential contractor to become such is not enough, it is necessary that the army also had a desire to see him in their ranks.

The need to preserve the appeal is explained by the fact that a country with the largest territory in the world and the longest borders in the world simply cannot have a “small compact army” (another favorite liberal mantra). In addition, our external threats are very diverse and diverse.

The most serious among them is Chinese. China will not be able to survive without external expansion in order to seize resources and territories - this is an objective fact. It can be overlooked, but it does not disappear from it. From 2006, the Celestial Empire openly began to prepare for aggression against Russia, and the scale of preparation is constantly growing. The situation is reminiscent of 1940 - the beginning of 1941, when the USSR was also openly going to attack (and with the same goals), while in Moscow they tried to “talk” the problem, convincing themselves that Germany was a great friend to us.

Of course, someone will rely on the nuclear deterrence of the PRC, but its effectiveness is not obvious, as “MIC” has already written about in the article “The illusion of nuclear deterrence” (No. 11, 2010). It’s not a fact that a conscript army will save us from the Chinese invasion. But definitely the mercenary army will not protect us from it. It will "evaporate" in the same way as the Kuwaiti and Georgian.

For Russia, the idea of ​​creating a professional army is a grandiose and extremely harmful self-deception. Either our army will be a conscription, or you just have to give it up. And do not complain about the consequences.
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  1. berimor
    berimor 21 May 2012 20: 21
    Absolutely agree!!! Indeed, one must be a completely short-sighted military specialist, so that in the Russian army, and in the Ukrainian one, too, he should introduce manning on the basis of a contract. It seems that there are either full or sale bastards. Even considering the military conflicts of our time, it becomes absolutely clear that the contract principle of manning a large army will be a failure, as there will be no mobilization reserves !!!
  2. greenx
    greenx 1 May 2013 17: 23
    aunt check
  3. greenx
    greenx 1 May 2013 17: 42
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