Military Review

Do Russian troops need national units?

Do Russian troops need national units?
Recently, a statement was made in the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, which quite thoroughly stirred up the domestic mass media. This refers to the message about the possibility of creating mono-ethnic parts in the Russian Armed Forces.

About why suddenly in our military department decided to take such a step, it will be discussed below. But at first it makes sense to consider, so to speak, "history questions. "


In the regular Russian army, born under Peter I, national formations appeared almost immediately, even during the Northern War. They were staffed either by “friendly foreigners” - as a rule, immigrants from the regions of Europe, where Orthodoxy was professed, or by “foreigners” - by representatives of nations who did not supply recruits and were not Orthodox. The former included, for example, Moldovan and Serbian regiments, the latter the Kalmyk, Bashkir, and Kabardian regiments.

By the way, the Bashkir riders who entered 1814 in Paris, together with the Russian troops, were armed not only with firearms weapons, but also with bows, for which the French called them the "northern Amurs". In general, during World War 1812, national units comprised up to five percent of the Russian army. And during and after the end of the conquest of the Caucasus, it also included Caucasian formations, such as the Dagestan Equestrian Regiment, which existed from 1851 to 1917 for the year and took part in all the wars of Russia - from Crimea to the First World War.

In addition, the famous Wild Division includes the Kabardian, Dagestan, Chechen, Ingush, Circassian and Tatar regiments, the Ossetian brigade and the Don Cossack artillery division. To a certain extent, Cossack units could be considered national. Moreover, among the Don Cossacks there were quite a few Kalmyks, and among Transbaikalian Buryats.

In 1874, universal military service was introduced in the Russian Empire. Although it did not extend to all nations, most parts of the Russian army became multinational. The revival of national formations occurred during the First World War. In addition to the Wild Division, they were the Turkmen cavalry units, Polish and Baltic (Latvian and Estonian) formations, Serbian divisions, a corps staffed by Czechs and Slovaks mobilized into the Austro-Hungarian army and surrendered.

During the Civil War in Russia, there were quite a few national units both in the red and the white. Moreover, it should be noted that, on the whole, “foreigners” remained loyal to the “white king” much longer than the Russians, and were distinguished by extreme cruelty towards supporters of Soviet power. At the same time, the Bolsheviks, as a rule, were the most excellent punishers of “foreigners”, only European. Latvian arrows became especially famous in this respect.

When the Civil War ended, many national parts of the Red Army retained their status. However, in reality, they began to "blur", becoming ordinary multinational, and in the 1938 year they were transformed into ordinary ones. However, as soon as the Great Patriotic War broke out, they began to be created again. This was largely due to the fact that the natives of the Caucasus and Central Asia often knew the Russian language very poorly, so it was assumed that they would be better commanded by their fellow tribesmen. It was also thought that such units would be more united and efficient.

As a result, the Latvian and Estonian rifle corps were formed, around 30 national rifle divisions (C-and-C-and-C-and-C-and-C-and-C-and C-and C-and C-and C-and C-and C-and C-14-C), and on the 30 and the 6-B and the C-forces (B-16 and C-B). was Kim Il Sung). Not all of these units fought at the front, and if some had to go to the front line, they showed themselves there very differently.

Gradually, the national units again began to "blur" in composition and at the end of the 50's were finally eliminated. After that, the Soviet army became ideally international, which did not mean the absence of national problems within it.

The fact is that representatives of different nationalities were not equivalent warriors. And the level of combat training, and moral and psychological qualities. Everywhere and always there were exceptions, but on the whole, Slavs, Balts, representatives of the majority of peoples of the RSFSR (Volga, Ural, Siberian) were highly valued, and among Caucasians Ossetians and Armenians.

With the rest of Caucasians, as well as Tuvans and Central Asians, it was not possible, let's say, to avoid some difficulties. Meanwhile, the proportion of representatives of the “problem” nationalities in the Armed Forces of the USSR gradually grew. Because it was their birth rate that remained high, while among the Slavs, the Balts, and the majority of the peoples of Russia, it very quickly declined. As a result, the “problem” recruits gradually had to not only replenish construction battalions, railway and motorized rifle units, but more and more often send them to those types of troops where there were a lot of sophisticated equipment. From this combat effectiveness, to put it mildly, did not grow. On the other hand, internal relations in the army deteriorated rapidly, as the offenses committed by the fraternities were added to the “ordinary” hazing.


The collapse of the USSR automatically freed the Armed Forces of Russia from a significant part of the “prob lemnykh fighters, but not from all. To a certain extent, the Tuvans remained as such, but still they are not delivering the chief concern to the commanders of the units. A more serious problem was and remains the North Caucasus, especially its eastern part, primarily Dagestan.

If representatives of all other regions of the Russian Federation “mow down” from the army in all possible ways and basically only representatives of the lower classes go to it, then for the Caucasian young men the military service continues to be considered mandatory, the most important element of male initiation. Since the birth rate in the republics of the North Caucasus itself is much higher than in the rest of the country, these two factors ensure a very rapid increase in the proportion of Caucasians in the ranks of the Armed Forces. Dagestan and here is in the forefront. Both in terms of population and fertility, he is ahead of even his Caucasian neighbors. Since now the call to the Russian army is essentially selective, the distribution list for Dagestan is almost always less than the number of potential recruits. Because of this, there is a phenomenon there, for the rest of Russia it is absolutely amazing - people give bribes to be called upon. Because not to go into the army there is considered a disgrace. 50 years ago it was like this all over the country ...

At the same time, which is especially important, there are almost no Russians left in Dagestan today. They are now there less than five percent of the population (less - only in Chechnya), they live exclusively in Makhachkala and several other major cities. Accordingly, young men representing numerous local nationalities come to the Russian army, to put it mildly, not quite adapted to life in Russian society. And because of the propaganda of radical Islam, which is again especially common among young people, Dagestan youths often simply do not consider this society to be theirs. This is a paradox: it is imperative to go to the army, but whether it is its own army is another question.

This does not mean that Dagestanis necessarily turn out to be bad soldiers. On the contrary, excellent fighters often come out of them, because they treat the service more seriously than fellow soldiers of other nationalities. But this is only if there are a maximum of two Dagestanis in the unit. If more, then there is a "fraternity", after which the unit very quickly loses controllability and, accordingly, combat capability. As the proportion of Dagestanis in the army grows, their “dispersion” becomes less and less possible. Possessing an internal commissure, they, even being in a relative minority, easily subdue the rest. Moreover, the “unity”, “community” and “unity” of the Russians is one of the greatest myths. There is hardly any people on Earth who are more individualistic and incapable of unification and self-organization than the Russians. Other Russian peoples, alas, inherited this unpleasant feature from us. In addition, in each separate division, representatives of each individual people (non-Russians and non-Caucasians) are simply too few.

If it seemed to someone that the author of this article has a bad attitude towards Dagestanis, then this is a profound error. Unlike most of our citizens, I did not forget that in August 1999, Dagestanis, without exaggeration, saved Russia from a full-scale catastrophe, took up arms in the way of the Basayev and Khattab gangs. We can also recall that in February 2004, two Dagestani contract servicemen (foreman Mukhtar Suleimenov and sergeant Abdul Kurbanov), who served in the border troops (in fact at home), at the cost of their lives destroyed one of the most famous Chechen militants, Ruslan Gelayev.

However, there is no way to deny the fact that a “Caucasian problem” exists in the Armed Forces, and it is clearly aggravated. Hence the idea to form mono-ethnic parts.

However, the possibility of creating units on the "compatriot" basis has been discussed in Russia for a long time. It is believed that this should increase the internal cohesion of military teams and automatically reduce the level of non-statutory relations. It is assumed that the attitude to the countryman will be completely different from that to a native of another part of gigantic Russia. This argument is supported by the fact that the pre-revolutionary army was almost completely built on the "compatriot" principle. Her regiments, as a rule, were “regional” names and were actually staffed mainly by people from the respective province. Belonging to the “native” regiment was highly valued by its soldiers and officers, it seemed completely impossible to disgrace the honor of the regiment.

True, quite a lot has changed since then.

The most important argument against the creation of “compatriot” units in present-day Russia is that this will encourage ethnic and purely regional separatism, which we have, albeit in a latent form, is very strong (and regional, perhaps, even stronger and more dangerous than ethnic). Less often, another, equally fair argument sounds: the placement of the population in the country does not at all coincide with how the air force formations should be deployed in accordance with real threats. In the end, Russia must come to the realization that the impotent NATO does not represent a military danger for us. Threats come from Asia, moreover, that three-quarters of the country's population live in its European part.

Of course, both of these arguments are easily parried. The “earthman” principle is the principle of recruitment, but not the determination of the place of deployment. The Kostroma regiment may be stationed in Kamchatka or in the Caucasus, and not at all near Kostroma. It is only completed with people from the Kostroma region. Actually, this was exactly the case in the tsarist army.

There are, however, more serious objections. They are determined by a fundamental change in the social structure of society and the structural and technical structure of the Armed Forces.

The royal army was a highly socially simple organism. The rank and file is the peasantry, mostly Slavs, and the officers are usually from nobles or commoners. The soldiers who had left the peasants really had a rather strong sense of their community, which “moved” from village to army. In addition, the structure of the army was very homogeneous. It consisted of infantry, cavalry and artillery, which fit into the cultural and educational level of the conscript.

In modern Russia, at least half of the conscript contingent (at least theoretically) are residents of large cities, for whom “fraternity” from the moral point of view means practically nothing. A man in the street from a modern metropolis often does not even know his neighbors on the landing. Therefore, it is not quite clear what the “compatriot” principle will give here, what kind of unity it will provide. Another thing is that in reality today the army from two Russian capitals, almost exclusively lumpen from the regional centers, all one way or another seek to "retreat". But the lumpen "compatriot" feelings are really quite "before the lantern." And from the peasant community, we have long left no trace.

Of course, the Ministry of Defense is not going to form Tatar, Bashkir, Mordovian, Khakass, Yakut or Karelian parts. Just because the warriors of these nationalities, as well as representatives of the rest of the northern, Volga, Ural and Siberian peoples, do not give the command special difficulties. As in the Soviet army, they are no more problematic than the Slavs. The speech, apparently, is exclusively about Caucasians, especially about Dagestanis.

Actually, we already have mono-ethnic Caucasian units in Chechnya. These are the well-known "Yamadaev" and "Kadyrov" battalions with "geographical" names. However, they were created with goals that were very narrow and understandable - “to turn an imperialist war into a civil war,” to solve the Chechen problem by the hands of the Chechens themselves. Accordingly, the “habitat” of these battalions is very narrow - only Chechnya itself. Although in August 2008, the Yamadaevs were transferred to South Ossetia, where they turned out to be almost the most combat-ready part of the Russian army. Georgians fled from them especially quickly.

However, this article deals with “normal” units, the war of the ignorant. Only Dagestanis should serve in them.

At first glance, the idea may seem interesting. Let them cook in their own juice. Now hot Caucasian guys very often refuse to engage in any kind of economic work, since this is a “non-male business.” And very often the command of the unit can do nothing, shifting the execution of similar tasks to representatives of less hot and proud nations. If the Caucasians alone will be in part, they will have to work hard. And it will not mock anyone, except for each other.

But this consolation is weak, if not to say miserable. Firstly, if, as they say, to see the root, Caucasians are right. The soldier is not obliged to wash the floors and peel potatoes (not to mention the construction of summer cottages and barns, which is a criminal offense), he should be engaged only and exclusively in combat training. Hozrabotka must be shifted either to civilian personnel (recently, this practice is beginning to be introduced, but very slowly and with great costs), or to “alternatives”, or to those draftees who, by intellectual parameters, are unable to do anything in the army (among the latter, of course, there may also be Caucasians, but this is a completely different question).

Secondly and most importantly, the command should first of all think about how much the unit is combat-ready, and not who is cleaning the potatoes in it. Once again I would like to remind you that the Armed Forces exist to ensure the security of the country, everything else is particular. Serious doubts arise in the combat capability of ethnic units.

If a war breaks out (and the army is up for war and prednazhenno!), Will the Dagestanis want to fight for Russia? And if they want, can they? Indeed, in the absence of Russians within them, dismantling between local nationalities (most of the Caucasian republics are multiethnic, Dagestan may be the most multinational place on Earth with a huge number of interethnic conflicts) and clans can begin. This will require the presence of officers (in any case, the majority of the commanders) of the same nationality: they will at least understand what is happening between the subordinates.

As a result, we have a ready-made national army and in which region of Russia it is deployed - it is no longer very important. It would be better to avoid such "happiness."


Discussing the problem of creating regional units, it should also be noted that the modern Armed Forces are distinguished by exceptionally high internal diversity in types, genus, technology. Even a motorized rifle (that is, the old - infantry) brigade actually includes, in addition to the motorized infantry itself, tank crews, artillerymen, communications men, anti-aircraft gunners (missilemen and artillerymen), and various logistics personnel. The extent to which the mono-ethnic principle fits into this diversity is difficult to understand.

The main thing is that the discussion itself about the creation of mono-ethnic parts is in essence a surrender, and a double one. In the narrow sense, the military command actually states that it is still unable to achieve elementary discipline among the troops with the help of available means. By the way, is this the result of the recent mass reductions of officers in general and educators in particular? In a broad nation-wide, this is a recognition that Russia is still far from true unity.

Now in Europe begins the painful process of revising the policy of "multiculturalism" and "tolerance." It turned out that European societies are unable to “digest” migrants from the Near and Middle East, from North Africa. As Tilo Saracen wrote in his book “Germany Self-Deleting”: “I don’t want muezzins to set the pace of life in the country of my ancestors and my grandchildren, the people spoke Turkish and Arabic, and women wore hijabs. If I want to see all this, I will take a vacation and go to the East. I am not obliged to accept someone who lives at the expense of taxpayers, not recognizing the state that feeds him. I also do not think it prudent to care about the education of his children and thereby produce new girls wrapped in a veil. ”

Our situation is no less difficult. Europe is unable to integrate migrants who, historically and mentally, have nothing to do with it and are not obligated to it. Russia is losing the ability to integrate its own citizens. Residents of regions that have been part of Russia for a century and a half. People whose ancestors fought and died for Russia.

However, are all Russians ready today to die for Russia? Or even their majority?
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