The army of the Republic of Belarus (RB) needs significant retooling. Funds for this in Minsk are currently minimal, or rather, close to zero. This is mainly due to the massive financial crisis that the republic experienced in 2011. The consequences of his noticeable response and in 2012-m and, obviously, will affect in the short term. Own modernization capabilities, on which the military leadership made a big bet, were used almost to the limit, and the recently adopted national armaments program clearly stalled. Emerging homegrown new items like "unparalleled in the world" drones only emphasize the depressing state of affairs. The social status of fraternal state servicemen also plummeted.
The above state of affairs is probably extremely aggravated by the author of these lines. But such a disposition allows us to concisely conceive that if the situation is not so depressing yet, then it can become deeply depressive after a few years.
All is well
The rearmament of the Belarusian army is by no means of such quality and far from the pace that the military leadership of the country was counting on at the end of the last decade. It is obvious that the program of state equipment before the 2015 of the year, then adopted in the republic, is not being carried out even by a third, if not less.
Under these conditions, the Belarusian officialdom is trying to thoroughly wipe even hints that the situation with the rearmament of the troops is so bad. Officials “leave unscrupulous“ critics ”their obvious incompetence when they, to put it mildly, make skeptical conclusions about the capabilities of our country's military security system, to put it mildly (words of the Minister of Defense of the Republic of Belarus, Lieutenant General Yuri Zhadobin). In this sense, openness is minimal (before the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Belarus was much more welcoming to journalists and told them about the immense rearmament plans). State propaganda works in the spirit of the notorious vaudeville song, in which “everything is good, everything is good”. The ideological apparatus of the country's armed forces convinces the officers who fell into the social pit, as if they have everything in openwork, and soon even life will become better.
The official body of the Ministry of Defense - "Belarusian Military Gazette" ("GVH") writes about anything: about orphanage children (every Saturday on the front page), monuments of architecture, flea markets near Minsk, gender, various anniversaries (sometimes they are celebrated several times a week ), stories local wine and vodka industry, vacation abroad, family ties, and the like, paying little attention to the problems of the armed forces themselves. Articles about patriotism, military dynasties are just going wild.
Reports from the troops from the landfills, too much. But with the rarest exception, all of them are served exclusively in excellent colors. The Minister of Defense and his deputies, other military commanders regularly draw telephone “direct lines” with the population, during which the military (including retired) and their family members ask a lot of questions, including those who live. But Belvoengazeta never publishes detailed reports on this communication - only general information: they say there were so many calls, this or that official answered all questions in detail.
One cannot fail to get the impression that, under the Minister of Defense, there is a powerful censorship, which almost with manic obscurantism removes from the texts any hints even of petty problematicality.
Here, for example, the April interview with Air Force Commander and Air Defense Forces, Major General Oleg Dvigalev. He was appointed to this position after a series of resonant state of emergency in this type of troops last summer. So, in December 2011, after a nine-year investigation that lasted for nine years, was transferred to the colony of a reinforced regime deprived of the military rank of Major General Igor Azarenok, who had been in command of the Air Force and Air Defense Forces for four years. He, along with his friend from Russia, planned a scam in the state defense order and managed to get the first dollar kickbacks by the time of his detention. His first deputy and chief of staff, Major-General Sergei Lemeshevsky, was appointed to the place of Azarenka in May 2011 - and after nine months he was dismissed and transferred to the reserve "due to his systematic non-compliance with the terms of the contract and for committing offenses discrediting the title of a military man" line from the presidential decree). Major General Dmitry Pakhmelkin, who replaced him in February of 2012, lasted even less: in the summer, the Belarusian air defense was confounded by the scandalous "plush landing party". Recall that a light aircraft, piloted by Swedes, invaded the airspace of Belarus through Lithuania, flew to Minsk, where he dropped toy bears with anti-presidential proclamations (how and why they missed it in Belarus is also a separate topic). And the commander who didn’t have time to really get used to the new position lost it. In addition, the troops literally in a few years lost several combat aircraft with the death of the pilots.
From this it is clear that there are problems in the Air Force and the Air Defense Forces and even with a leapfrog with leaders, as they say, above the sky. But in an interview with General Dvigalev about them not a hint.
Thus, the analyst as such is not completely clear in the publications of the national defense ministry, and the criticism, if it exists, is usually unaddressed.
Retooling on ... old
Such an “ideological dominance” (which, as it is very likely to be assumed, dominates journalists and the leadership of Vayar, the military information agency of Belarus) fully applies to covering the problem of re-equipping troops with modern models. Here we read the December 2012 of the interview of the Deputy Minister of Defense for Armaments - Chief of Armaments of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus Colonel Igor Lotenkov (in February of the 2013) he was given the rank of Major General), given by the same “UBG”. The correspondent seems to be beating around the bush, afraid to ask about the main thing: what exactly is the army being updated with? Most of the empty talk in general is that the newest and most promising weapons and military equipment models are procured and will be procured.
In the same context, the Belarusian chief of weapons says that some of the weapons currently available will be subjected to a profound modernization. According to him, individual samples (he listed them here, all of them were novelties in the last century. - V.Z.), meeting the requirements of modern combat, have an adequate margin of safety, reliability and will still be part of the supply of troops for some time.
In the final, the interviewer nevertheless squeezed out the sacramental question: “Can we give specific examples of new weapons?”. The answer came down essentially only to the purchase of eight newest Russian Tor-M2 air defense systems during 2011 – 2012. But so that this modest single example did not cause disappointment, Lotenkov expanded the scale: "The result of the modernization of weapons and military equipment are ..." - and issued a series of "old exhibits", almost all of which were modernized in the republic by the middle of the last decade.
About the critical financial difficulties that do not allow updating the army as we would like, the deputy minister for armaments did not say a word: as if they did not exist at all and everything was going according to plan.
Lukashenko does not hide problems
But in fairness it must be said that at the highest level in Minsk they don’t hide the fact that the problem with rearmament with modern models, to put it mildly, is the place to be. At a traditional press conference for Russian journalists, held in October 2012, President Alexander Lukashenko literally stated the following: “We have practically modernized and reformed the army. Of course, there is not enough money to maintain the equipment and update. ” And after that, the Belarusian commander-in-chief expressed hope: “Here, of course, we really hope for Russia, because in principle this is the Russian army. We cannot even defend ourselves alone. ”
Such evaluations by Western experts really made. But it was already more than ten years ago, when reforms in the Belarusian armed forces were in full swing and not without success (their completion was officially announced in 2005). Then, we recall, the Royal United Institute of Defense Studies (RUSI, United Kingdom) estimated that Belarus, in terms of its military potential, occupies the 41 place (from 164). It was the third position among the CIS countries after Russia (second place, in the first - the USA) and Ukraine (21-e). At the same time, all the countries of the former Warsaw Pact (behind 30, except for Poland), the Baltic States and even a number of NATO member states were far behind the republic. But now all these are memories of better times. In addition, RUSI no longer published any new research on this topic. It will not be recalled that in the last year or two other similar institutions would build similar ratings, in which the Belarusian army would appear as one of the most modern in the world.
Perhaps now in a number of parameters it has become equal in its combat potential and the social position of officers and soldiers with such backward CIS armies as the armed forces of, say, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Let it be so far, but everything seems to be on track. Even the “elite” air defense system, as it turned out recently, already “hints” at serious failures, which was briefly mentioned above.
It is also noteworthy in this sense that, say, at the traditional exhibition of weapons and military equipment MILEX in Minsk last year in 2011, Minsk, the organizers decided to abandon the test site display of weapons models “for a number of reasons, one of which is economic inexpediency” National Goskomvoenproma Sergey Gurulev). And this is despite the fact that Belarus itself displayed around 180 samples of weapons and special equipment of 87 organizations and enterprises, and all in all, about 20 foreign delegations from 15 countries participated in the exhibition. It is involuntarily thought: maybe, there was nothing special to show, therefore, the economic expediency in the conditions of a massive financial crisis significantly prevailed over the possible benefits that the field show could give.
Teaching - outlet for the military
The only consolation is that the missile defense regime works effectively in the republic. Belarusian missilemen and pilots from year to year at the Russian landfills Ashuluk (in the Caspian Sea) and Telemba (in Buryatia) demonstrate outstanding results in hitting complex targets that imitate the most invulnerable weapon likely opponent. Here they often act much better than their colleagues from other CIS countries, including Russia.
And one more outlet for the Belarusian military are large-scale exercises held jointly with Russia every two years. But they are financed mainly by the budget of the Union State and the Russian Federation. The plan of the next similar maneuvers "West-2013", which will be held in the fall on the territory of Belarus, is now being worked out.
In the republic itself, in recent years, at best, only local training battles can be organized (although in the first decade the 2000s in the country conducted a series of independent large-scale experimental exercises with a large involvement of personnel and weapons). Their multiplicity and wideness are ensured only by the territorial troops created in the country (as Lukashenko stated at the press conference mentioned, “we can mobilize up to half a million people in a short time”). Territorial troops, as is well known, are reservists or, in a popular way, “partisans”, whom they massively put under gun for a week or a month, tearing them away from civilian fields.
But even at such ambitious field exits (the latter took place in November of 2011), with the participation of the head of state, very narrow, pointed, mostly fashionable now anti-terrorism tasks are being worked out.
From all of the above, we can conclude: if Russia for several years will not decisively contribute to Belarus in rearming its troops, the latter, figuratively speaking, will be ready to fight like Neanderthals against a mammoth. There was such a caricature of the Russian army in 90, in which skinny fighters dressed in hides and earmuffs with cockades were throwing a German Leopard tank into the pit with cobblestones. Fortunately, the Russian army is now crawling out of this pit.