Military Review

Military reform in finnish

More than two weeks have passed since we, a group of Russian journalists invited to the Suomi Country by the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, have returned to Moscow. New trips and business trips did not allow the author of these lines to quickly unsubscribe about his business trip. And yet what he saw in the Finnish army, conversations with its officers and defense experts do not go out of their head. I again and again appeal to conversations in the Parliament, in the Ministry of Defense, in the foreign policy department, on the training ground of the coastal defense brigade "Uusimaa" in the coastal town of Syundalen ...


Training ground of the Egersky brigade of coastal defense "Uusimaa" (marines in our opinion) is similar to all army polygons of the world. The same deserted space, with the same for the military one-story wooden-plywood buildings of barracks, canteens, staffs and warehouses with weapons and ammunition. With the same asceticism for all - nothing superfluous that distracts from military training.

True, unlike the polygons “Uusimaa” known to me, it is not fenced with either a high fence or barbed wire - only the inscription at the entrance in four languages ​​- Finnish, Swedish (it is the second state in Suomi Country), English and ... in Russian: “Military territory . Entrance without a permit is prohibited under the threat of punishment. ” We have such a warning a few people stop, and here in the pine forest with islands of young trees, through the warm autumn sun, not a single soul.

Only soldiers in full field ammunition - in helmets with glasses, headphones and microphones, in bulletproof vests, with machine guns and machine guns and their mentors - instructor officers in orange vests, like Moscow’s street cleaners. Probably, in order to immediately catch the eye.

The Uusimaa Brigade, like almost all the brigades of the Ground Forces of the Finnish Defense Forces, is a training brigade. Young men and women come here to serve (for young men, conscription is obligatory, for girls it is optional) for 5,5 and 11 months. The difference is in what specialty is recruiting. If he wants to be the commander of a squad, crew, crew, a combat vehicle driver, or an ATGM operator, a radio station technician or a specialist in another high-tech system, then he has been serving for a year. If he does not pretend to anything - he is ready to remain a machine gunner or a machine gunner, the number of artillery crews, then his life will be half a year. And here, in Syundalen, there are only Swedes by nationality or those young men who live in those areas of the country where the second state language predominates. For the convenience of their training, all the "Swedes" are assembled into one brigade. In this case, in Uusimaa.

- Is it possible in such a short time - 5 and 11 months - to teach the future huntsman something? - We ask the deputy commander of the brigade, Lieutenant Colonel Torkelli, more like a professor of philosophy than a professional military.

- You can - he says. “Our soldiers are engaged in theory for three months, and then they are coordinated as part of units, platoons and companies, and after five and a half months they go home.” But those who serve the 11 months first master the techniques and methods of leading people, then put their knowledge and skills into practice, commanding those who came to serve for five months.

An entire battalion immediately goes to the reserve at the end of its service life. Then a new one is recruited, and the process of preparing soldiers for the Country of Suomi begins in a new way. In fact, the officers of the Ground Forces prepare not a regular army, but a combat reserve, or, in other words, partisans. After all, the main task of the Finnish Defense Forces is to protect their country or to protect the territory of their country. And for this, as in Switzerland, all men must pass through the crucible of military training and education, except for those who are hopelessly ill. Although for the disabled in the army can be used - for example, in repair or service units. But only for those who want to serve themselves.

From time to time, reservists are called for military training. Basically on tactical exercises. This happens once every two or three years, not more often. And fees last from two to three weeks. Forgetting the skills acquired in the army under the action “squad-platoon in attack or defense” for a year or two is quite difficult. Especially if during science, this science is brought to automatism.

We were shown how the huntsmen train. The platoon received ammunition (by the way, the caliber of cartridges 7,62 mm, and machine guns and machine guns from the Finnish army - Kalashnikov, only slightly modified). Crashed into offices and "troika of three", lined up in battle formations and under the supervision of instructors in orange vests (on the branch, "three" - one by one), with the support of mortar fire (explosions 82-mm min were heard in the depths of the forest) went on the attack . First, on foot, then in short dashes. Moreover, fitting into a tactical background given by the teachers, during which one squad attacked the “enemy” from the flank, and was supported by a short automatic with machine-gun fire that operated in the center. After some time, the flank squads lay behind the trees and, in turn, covering their comrades with fire, made it possible for the squad in the center of the battle formations to attack.

So, changing the order of actions, striking real targets with fire, which rose to full height before the attackers, the separation after separation moved between the pines forward to the sandy height beyond which the open space began and the tank advanced from the trench (old Soviet T-62) could be seen. By fire from grenade launchers similar to the Russian “Fly”, he was amazed.

It is interesting that in the course of the battle all the growth targets were struck, although, as Lt. Col. Torkelli assured us, his subordinates had fired their live ammunition for the first time that day.


In Finnish society there is no discussion about which army and why the Country of Suomi is needed. All these disputes usually take place on the eve of parliamentary elections, but new ones will not be soon, and all major parliamentary parties, as we already wrote in NVO No. 39, agreed on the problem of building the Finnish Defense Forces. Defense Minister Policy Advisor Pete Piirainen told us in detail how this agreement was reached.

In January, the Government of Finland submitted to the Parliament the Report on Defense and Security Policies, which is prepared every four years. It was run-in in all parliamentary committees, during which deputies heard more than 100 military experts. Among them were not only officials and generals, but also specialists independent of the authorities. It was only after the approval of the report by the parliament that it was transferred to the military department for execution.

Key points of the report: The country of Suomi does not join any military alliances, but will actively cooperate with NATO and other not very large military associations. Together with its northern neighbors, with the European Union and the Benelux countries. And although Finland, Mr. Piirainen said, regards its environment from a security point of view as stable, today no country in the world can alone withstand military crises if they affect it. So, Helsinki should strengthen its military cooperation primarily with European countries and, despite the difficult economic situation, increase the effectiveness of its armed forces.

On the one hand, the military reform of the Defense Forces implies a reduction in personnel and military structures, on the other, a small but increased defense expenditure. In the "NVO" number 39 we already called the abbreviation numbers. But I consider it necessary to repeat them again (not everyone read that number of the newspaper). The number of reservists who are called up to troops in the event of a critical situation should be reduced to 2015 from 540 thousand to 250 thousand, and the number of peacetime reservists will be only 18 thousand. Moreover, only 25 thousand draftees will remain in battle. At the same time, the headquarters of the military districts will be reduced and eliminated (there are four of them in Finland today, just like in our country - in parts of the world - Zapadny, Severny, Vostochny, and Yuzhny), regional commands of types of defense will become a thing of the past - The Ground Forces, Navy and Air Force, many other headquarters will be reduced. For example, the headquarters of the defense territory of the Turku Archipelago or the headquarters of the naval defense of the Gulf of Finland in Kirkkonummi. The main headquarters of the defense forces will have 2300 people, 4500 Ground Forces, 1400 in the Navy, 2050 in the Air Force, the Defense Academy, which includes two more training units - the Egersky Regiment (we were told about it in 19 No. 7– 13 Jun) and the Land Defense School, - 250 man.

These numbers we called Colonel Kim Mattssson, deputy head of the strategic planning of the Ministry of Defense of Finland. According to him, despite the reduction in personnel, the country's defense spending will rise to the level of 2009 of the year, when the military’s annual budget amounted to 110 million euros, to 130 million euros in 2015 year. At the same time, three principles of Suomi’s defense policy remain unchanged: ensuring state defense, universal military duty and non-alignment with military alliances. Although Helsinki participates in the NATO operation in Afghanistan as part of the Partnership for Peace, there is now a contingent of 156 troops, as part of the commitments of the European Union, Finnish boys and girls are present in Kosovo - 21 people, and participate in peacekeeping operations under the auspices UN. In Lebanon today there are 182 Finnish military observers. (In more detail the participation of Finnish military and police in peacekeeping operations under the flag of NATO, OSCE and the United Nations - on the map presented to us by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland).

And although the priority for the Finnish army, of course, is to defend their own country, helping various authorities in various crisis situations, participation in the international military crisis management is the most important task for the military Suomi. And it is clear why. No army can exist without combat experience. And the soldiers and officers of Finland today can get this experience only in international peacekeeping operations. Colonel Mattssson showed us slides on the main areas of military reform in Finnish. They began with a kind of “diamond”, in the center of which were the main tasks of ensuring the safety of the population, society and the sovereignty of the state. Only one of the facets of this “diamond” belonged to the National Defense Forces. The rest entrusted this task to the state leadership, the department of foreign affairs, ensuring internal security, the existence and viability of the population, the psychological stability of society to crises, economic development and improvement of infrastructure. “Our ministry,” said the colonel, “is the smallest in this series, but the tasks before us are very serious.”

Non-accession to military alliances, including NATO, until 2015, remains one of the priorities of military construction in Finland, they assured us in parliament. Nevertheless, there is a serious discussion about joining the North Atlantic alliance in Finnish society. Not because Helsinki fears Russia, as it is obsessively heard in the speeches of certain politicians of the Baltic countries, but because, as they say here, Suomi is part of Europe, but almost all European states are members of NATO. Why should we be out of this company? On the other hand, for the Finns, as we were told at the Foreign Policy Institute, the experience and example of neutral Sweden is very important. If Stockholm joins Brussels, Helsinki will follow. So it will be or not, time will tell.


In the brigade of the "Swedish" sea rangers "Uusimaa" we were introduced to the "Russian-speaking mortar" Sergei Zagora. Sergey lives with his mother in a small town in the west of Finland, in the Swedish district. Therefore, besides Finnish, he speaks fluently Swedish, English and, of course, his native Russian.

True, which of the four languages ​​he speaks is native is a question. Seryozhin's family came to Finland from St. Petersburg, from Fontanka, where they had lived before when he was 14. Here he graduated from school, gymnasium, is going to enroll in medical school. Education in the Suomi Country is free at all levels, and Zagora is confident that he will definitely become a dentist. Moreover, service in the army provides students with certain benefits when entering a university.

Serve mortar going only five and a half months. This period is enough for him. The only thing that grieves - those who serve six months, are paid on 5 euros per month, those who "signed up" for 11 - 10 euros. The difference in output is decent. But, truth, travel to the house and back to the unit during the dismissal on public transport for the soldier is free. They are released on dismissal for two days, at least once a month, so that Sergey endures the “service and deprivation” of military service quite easily.

I remember that during my last visit to Finland I met two more Russian guys who serve in the local Defense Forces — private soldiers Sergei Ilyukhin and Ilya Tiito. It was in the training chasseur regiment at the Academy of Defense ("NVO" number 19). I then, as now in a conversation with Sergey Zagora, it seemed that the Russian people feel quite comfortable in the Suomi Country. Probably, we can easily make it so that this country feels quite comfortable near Russia. Maybe then NATO will be forgotten after 2015 of the year?
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  1. Professor
    Professor 13 November 2013 10: 34
    The only thing that upsets is that those who serve for six months are paid 5 euros a month, for those who have "signed up" for 11-10 euros. The difference in output is decent.

    Probably thousands of euros, otherwise the "exit difference" is only 30 euros.
    1. Nuar
      Nuar 13 November 2013 12: 45
      I look professor already counted everything in shekels.
      1. mirag2
        mirag2 13 November 2013 13: 01
        It is very interesting that the Swedes were afraid of us, they feel jambs and intelligence gathering for NATO, and support for the Baltic enclave of Russophobia.
        It is good to read about it from the words of a person "from the inside".
        True, there are no secrets, but still ...
  2. Walking
    Walking 13 November 2013 11: 28
    Start a war and these Russian guys in the Finnish army will come to Russian land as occupants.
    1. VARCHUN
      VARCHUN 14 November 2013 18: 27
      They are already citizens of another country and all, what questions then to him?
    2. Afluk
      Afluk 12 January 2014 21: 39
      So the Finns seem to be smart from the article, and they said that their army is defensive !! So they will not fight with Russia, they are not Georgians)
  3. tlauicol
    tlauicol 13 November 2013 11: 50
    An interesting principle of recruitment and retirement is obtained in Sec. wars you can immediately organize ready-made battalions of classmates quickly
  4. avg
    avg 13 November 2013 13: 20
    Interesting business trip. It was still necessary to go "for matches". drinks
  5. Konstantin Brother
    Konstantin Brother 13 November 2013 13: 58
    Such motivated "euro" partisans come out. Cool))) However, behind all this pleasant looking and comfortable body husk shines through some kind of wretchedness ... sorry for these Russian guys, to whom the Motherland is where the priest is warmer))) and ... the author is "minus". With sw, KB
    1. castle
      castle 14 November 2013 02: 11
      Homeland where was born? Example: Russian boys were born in Alaska (or Florida), and all this is the United States, in Russian families who have lived there as great-great-grandfathers since 1732. And they even speak a little Russian. Who will answer what their homeland is? And how many after 1917 in the world of grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren of Russian emigrants. Where is their homeland? In what army do they serve?
      1. Walking
        Walking 14 November 2013 10: 55
        Maybe the country's leadership should think about this and create the conditions for those Russian guys who want to serve Russia.
  6. Leshka
    Leshka 13 November 2013 14: 29
    I wonder when will the reform of the Estonian army laughing
    1. maxvet
      maxvet 13 November 2013 20: 57
      when the tank will be divided laughing
  7. Letnab
    Letnab 13 November 2013 16: 44
    but it’s an interesting article anyway, the Finns don’t swing, they just prepare a mob reserve, and all the time of the service goes just to study and coordination. Let's hope that in our army the guys also started to deal with
  8. Columbus
    Columbus 13 November 2013 21: 25
    Cool pioneer camp :))) Directly sanatorium.
  9. Sergei 163
    Sergei 163 13 November 2013 21: 40
    And why do Finns have Kalashnikovs? But what about the famous Suomi?
  10. Jaros81
    Jaros81 13 November 2013 22: 39
    To do what? God forbid they will fight as in the 39th. Oh, we are tormented with them, if so ...
    1. hannibal lecter
      hannibal lecter 13 November 2013 23: 19
      These are our generals at 39m were stupid people in summer uniforms in the winter and the battalion forward along one trail one by one. In several places, they cut out from an ambush of pedestrians, took them to a cauldron and stupidly shot them.
    2. VARCHUN
      VARCHUN 14 November 2013 18: 36
      Finns in terms of organizing and training the partisan war population made the right approach, Russia is far from small Finland in this regard, although I will not hide the specialists in Russia completely and best. And there the author wrote
      Quote: Jaros81
      Maybe then they will forget about NATO after 2015?
      Not when this will not happen. Finns are not fools, and unlike others, they remember history and small people will fight for their land as in 39.
  11. hannibal lecter
    hannibal lecter 13 November 2013 23: 01
    On foot: we will not come as occupants. We love our homeland more than you because we have to live in Finland far from our homeland. Although it’s not very far to go home, it is extremely rare.

    Konstantin Brother: all people are looking for a place where the ass is warmer is the law of nature and you are no exception because I feel envy between the lines. If it were possible, many would rush to EU especially in women when they find out that you live in EU. There will be working conditions - 80% of emigrants will return back.

    Sergey 163: The Finnish strategy - protection from Russia, because there was already a war, although everyone understands that this cannot be renewed in the future, it’s difficult to change the military doctrine - it is impossible to direct anyone else. Therefore, Kalashnikov, the Russian Kamazs, ZILs and other equipment are purchased if in war time with Russia they seize Russian equipment and weapons, then they will have repair and maintenance masters and spare parts and repair kits

    Posted by: (most surprising) The Finnish Army receives 5 euros per day, not a month, in addition to the allowance. As well as 11 euros per month. All together with the allowance of about 1000 euros I think. As such nonsense about 5 euros in MSC, you could write the same at least not logical and would require verification. Minus guaranteed
    1. Walking
      Walking 14 November 2013 13: 11
      You speak noticeably for women, so the Finns made good anti-advertising for themselves when they began to take away children from Russian mothers for far-fetched reasons.
      1. hannibal lecter
        hannibal lecter 14 November 2013 20: 56
        I'm just talking about an emotional reaction. Here local Russian women are enough. And no one here just picks up. 2 times I saw how juvenile services worked. They took away children from alcoholics who mass booze arranged every day. normal ones are not taken away
  12. Sergei 163
    Sergei 163 14 November 2013 19: 55
    Well, by the time we, don’t understand with what fright, decide to attack Finland, our troops will already capture Western Europe, North America and Papua New Guinea! Therefore, our Invasion Army (I know your strategy) will be exclusively armed with captured M-16s and Abrams. So, radish to you, not a repair kit! laughing
    1. hannibal lecter
      hannibal lecter 14 November 2013 21: 02
      Well yes. Like in Finnish. Look how much they put our soldiers and how many of them died. Mannerheim knew what he had done, as a matter of fact, as a Russian officer at the court of Catherine.
      1. Sergei 163
        Sergei 163 16 November 2013 16: 23
        Sorry, I didn’t understand which officer Catherine was at the court of Mannerheim. belay
        1. hannibal lecter
          hannibal lecter 17 November 2013 16: 36
          Well, under Nicholas. The meaning is clear - that he served in the Russian army. And it is clear that I was mistaken. Could just fix it, not start this flood-correspondence unnecessary to anyone.