A three-fold fall in the national currency rate in the Republic of Belarus (RB) in the spring of 2011 not only disrupted the implementation of the state procurement program of modern weapons to 2015, but also led to a sharp collapse in the social security of the military.
This especially hit the junior officers and warrant officers, as well as soldiers and sergeants of the contract service (contract soldiers in the troops, according to official data, 21 – 23 percent of the total army). It also had an effect on military pensioners.
For a decade before the collapse, the Belarusian military and their leadership were proud (restrained, without arrogance) that their monetary allowance, though not much, but still noticeably higher than their counterparts in similar positions in Russia. This difference amounted to US $ 30–50, and for certain categories of military personnel (for example, aviation) and 100–250. However, for more than two years of the crisis, and mainly because since January 1, 2012, the salary of the Russian military has increased significantly, the difference between the thickness of the wallet of the Belarusian and Russian officers has changed dramatically. Recall that a lieutenant of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in the army now receives an average of about 50 thousand rubles, and in a number of geographical areas - one and a half to two times more.
Therefore, today the Belarusian military leadership is trying not to advertise especially, what are the revenues of the platoon commander, company commander, battalion commander or commander, as well as what monthly service and staff officers are satisfied with. For it will be clearly seen that even the headquarters general in the Ministry of Defense of Belarus receives two times less than the lieutenant of the Russian army, and this despite the series of salary increases during two crisis years.
Back in February, 2012, it seemed so startling to Alexander Lukashenko that at the next meeting with the head of the Security Council and the Minister of Defense, he raised the question that such a situation should be changed. "How so?! After all, Belarus and Russia have practically common army and the tasks facing it, ”he complained. At the same time, Alexander Grigorievich said that he had sent the President of Russia (then Dmitry Medvedev) “a letter about the need to find additional funds for the Belarusian servicemen at the expense of different areas of cooperation between our countries, and he promised to help in this regard”.
This statement made quite a stir in the republic itself. And the point is not that the Belarusian opposition in its own way beat the words “usurper”: they say, he finally “falls under Russia”. Suddenly, the officers who were suddenly at the bottom of social hardships came to life: many imagined that tomorrow they would begin to receive, if not such a salary, as Russian lieutenants, captains, colonels, then close to it.
This ferment in the minds was so great that literally in a few days, the country's defense minister, Lieutenant-General Yuri Zhadobin, in essence, disavowed Lukashenko's voluntary or involuntary promise. At a meeting of the Advisory Council under the Minister of Defense and the Coordination Council of Officers' Meetings of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus, the head of the republic’s defense ministry stated that the media disseminated incorrect information to the population regarding the increase in the monetary allowance of servicemen. Since “it could have been the impression that at that meeting they were talking about the need to find additional funds from the Russian budget for Belarusian servicemen”. In fact, according to him, “it was emphasized: successful military cooperation between our countries can be one of the arguments in obtaining preferences in economic matters, for example, in relation to oil or gas duties, which will replenish the country's budget and provide an opportunity to increase our money military men ". However, for more than a year, this gas and oil issue had no effect on the increase in the salaries of Belarusian servicemen. At the same time, as Zhadobin noted, the state is also looking for internal reserves in this regard. In particular, some reduction in the number of personnel is coming: “The structure of the budget of the armed forces will be optimized with an increase in the share of funds allocated for their development to 20, and in the future to 30 percent. There will also be an increase in the pay for military and civilian personnel. ”
And the rises really followed. But not the "Russian", as expected in the troops. Yes, this could not happen in principle. After all, if in Russia the ratio of military and civilian payments is more or less adjusted, has a reasonable proportion, then in Belarus, in the event of such an increase, the army captain would receive two thousand dollars, and the doctor or teacher would get 400 – 500. Only top officials receive as much as Russian lieutenants and captains. For example, the head of the National Bank of Belarus, Nadezhda Yermakova, in December 2012, mentioned that her salary was about two thousand US dollars and she had to save.
In such a situation, a “moaning” took place in the army (a word by the Minister of Defense of the Republic of Belarus, Yuri Zhadobin), especially among junior officers. One of them, serving in Polotsk, was not even afraid to write, having fully introduced himself, a letter to the Belarusian Military Newspaper (and it was partly printed, picked up by the opposition press), in which he indicated that he was receiving today as a cleaner at the Polotsk oil refinery. And that he, in general, has almost nothing to feed a family consisting of only three people: the wife does not work, since she recently had a child. “Belvoengazeta” immediately not only scolded the platoon officer for this misbehavior, but carried out a detailed analysis of his letter with relevant derogatory comments in an official manner — the material was entitled “The True Face of Comrade D.”. Relying on the reader’s understanding, however, was not completely justified: as rightly noted in one of the numerous hotly supported comrade D. Internet responses to this publication, “I’m afraid to assume what the“ true face ”is of the majority of young (and not so) officers” .
Already in July, at a large meeting with the military, 2012, Lukashenka again paid special attention to the issues of social protection of military personnel. According to him, in general, the salaries of officers today are higher than the average salary in the country, which corresponds to global trends. “However, this is more relevant to senior officers,” he noted. - Junior officers are not so well provided, therefore their outflow from the army takes place. In this regard, we need a clear and thoughtful position of the leadership of the armed forces, how in the current difficult financial situation to prevent the squandering of professional personnel, to preserve and educate the future of our army. ”
By that time, Yuri Zhadobin already had something to report to the president in terms of "how to raise." The leadership of the Ministry of Defense, through its powerful ideological apparatus, tentacles of which are in each company, actively introduced into the troops the idea that the state is doing everything possible to solve the problems of officers and the army as a whole (and continues to do this). And we can not say that this is unfounded rhetoric in order to calm the minds. A number of solutions were promptly worked out and implemented without swinging. In particular, to increase compensation for servicemen for sublease housing, to grant the Minister of Defense the right to use the funds released as a result of optimization of the organizational-staff army structure, for material incentives for military personnel, preferential crediting of officers in the construction of housing was introduced.
However, all these measures are insufficient. Say, the compensation for suiting of housing is already far from one hundred percent, as it was in the first decade of 2000's. Removing odnushku in Minsk costs from 250 US dollars (this is, if well, very lucky), compensate the family of a soldier, consisting of three people, on the strength of 210 – 230. And homeless in the army a lot. According to Colonel Vladimir Kutsevich, Head of the Housing Department of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus, published by Belvoengazeta in April 2013, today 10 770 military personnel (22,4 percent), including 526 citizens dismissed from military service, are in need of housing improvement. And thanks to the measures taken to provide private housing in 2012, for the first time in the period of the existence of the armed forces of the Republic of Belarus, it was possible to reduce the number of people in need of better housing conditions for 640 people. At the same time, the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Belarus does not hide the fact that at the same time, today, during the transition period, a decline in cooperative construction is forecasted, on which the stake was made before. As a result, by the end of this year, an increase in the number of military personnel who are registered needing to improve their living conditions, as well as the time of the state on such an account before joining the housing and consumer cooperative, is possible.
Comparison on the course
In February 2013, the journal of the armed forces of the Republic of Belarus Armiya published the data of the monetary allowance for typical military posts at 1 December 2012, by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Economics and Finance - Chief of the Main Financial and Economic Directorate of the Ministry of Defense, Major General Peter Galeznik . According to them, the platoon commander with the rank of lieutenant with a five-ten-year service gets 3 805 900 Belarusian rubles (at an average rate this is about 440 US dollars or 13 600 Russian rubles). Company, the captain with the same length of service is content with 4 470 900 Belarusian rubles (520 dollars or 16 000 Russian rubles). Zamkombat, major with a length of service from ten to 15 years - 5 045 500 (595 dollars or 18 000 rubles). The battalion commander, a lieutenant colonel with an 15 – 20 experience of years, the cashier issues 5 963 400 (690 dollars or 21 300 rubles). The commander of the regiment, who had served more than 20 years, is 7 049 600 (820 dollars or 25 200 rubles). Finally, the commander of the operational command, according to sources of the author of these lines in the Belarusian army, receives no more than 1050 – 1100 US dollars. As for pensions, then, say, the colonel who served in the headquarters now in stock at the end of 2012 received 3 500 000 Belarusian rubles or about 405 dollars.
Not one of the sums, despite the salary increase more than doubled, they did not reach the pre-crisis level in terms of dollars or Russian rubles. Projecting these figures on the Russian army, suffice it to say that in it the ordinary contract service receives 25 – 35 thousand rubles or 820 – 1150 dollars (depending on the region of service and length of service). A retired Russian colonel, who retired with a minimum length of service of 25 years, has an income in the order of 18 – 20 thousand rubles (590 – 660 dollars). The military leadership of the Republic of Belarus reassures its subordinates only by the fact that in Ukraine the income of servicemen is even lower. But this is poor consolation.
Is there any grumbling among the troops due to the thinning of the wallets? Defense Minister Zhadobin is more than optimistic about this: “Today I am fully satisfied with the state of affairs in the officer corps. The question of the motivation of the Belarusian military is very important for us. Of course, in these difficult times, every officer and every officer family felt their financial difficulties. But in these difficult times for all, 2009 – 2011 years, when the dollar collapsed, few people quivered who left the army: around 100, the servicemen retired from the armed forces for various reasons. The average turnover rate over the years has not changed much. This suggests that the officers really came to serve. " Whatever it was, but in these two years, the military leadership conducted a powerful moral processing of the officer corps.
Today, in the Belarusian Ministry of Defense, they no longer boast, as in the 2005 year, that the staffing of the units and units of the primary officer positions is 93 – 95 percent of the staff number. With the permission of the president, cash is accrued to empty regular cells, which are proportionally distributed among the continuing officers as "correctly understanding the situation."
Nowhere to run
A number of Belarusian military experts believe that sooner or later, if servicemen do not pay well, they will go to Russia. Well, this option is possible: on the contract basis in the Russian army can serve non-citizens of the Russian Federation. However, there is no point in expecting a massive influx of military: the Russian military leadership, as Deputy Chief of the General Staff Colonel-General Vasily Smirnov stated not so long ago, was not going and is not going to solve the problem of under-staffing at the expense of foreign citizens. According to official data, in recent years, in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, only no more than 110 – 115 so-called foreign citizens (mainly Tajiks, Uzbeks and Ukrainians) are serving under contract.
In the Belarusian officer corps another tendency is partly observed. Already many senior officers do not want to occupy higher positions for which they have been nominated, in order to quickly resign, to receive a military pension, to go to work "for a citizen" and thus a half to two, or even more to increase their current income. According to the author of these lines, the ideological apparatus of the Ministry of Defense is currently working out the question of how to handle officers and soldiers who will take part in the large-scale “West-2013” exercise, the main stages of which will be held in Belarus. As it is already known, nine thousand people will be involved in it, of which a significant proportion will be made by the Russian military. For talk about the salary between the participants from two friendly armies will arise necessarily and Belarusians will clearly see the differences. In the Russian expert community, they are inclined to think that in terms of military assistance, Moscow benefits from cooperating with Minsk, since our Western strategic direction is reliably covered only by the Belarusian Armed Forces. Therefore, Russia could well respond to Lukashenka’s requests for specific assistance in providing troops with new equipment or raising salaries for Belarusian servicemen.