1. How it was
Even before the collapse of the USSR, more precisely, on the eve of this historical disasters, strange words began to sound for us for the first time: “contract army”, sometimes more familiar - “professional army”. Beautiful formulations, vivid examples from the camp of the “probable adversary”, the movement of soldier’s mothers (more precisely, mothers who absolutely do not want to be soldiers), the total denial of any positive examples of the history of their own country, the arguments of experts, and simply a craving for reform of everything and that it is impossible to reform, day after day, year after year, the denial of military draft was driven into public consciousness.
Ever since I have been tormenting myself with the question: where did “experts”, “military history specialists” and similar “chicks of perestroika” come from, so far flashing on the screens and pages of various media? Where are those scientific communities and educational institutions that recognized THEIR such?
Of course, there were real grounds for criticizing the army: a battalion, a cropped division, where the main type of combat work of a conscript soldier was sweeping and dragging, and leisure time was a scuffle, scientifically called “non-statutory relationships,” there was also a battle with the harvest, and construction of someone’s cottages. But the core of the armed forces, the combat component, and this, in addition to the “internationalist warriors” in Afghanistan, the whole of Eastern Europe, the border military districts, was at the peak of its power. And the probable enemy, by the way, had the opinions of his experts, who debated on how much time will pass from the start of hostilities to the appearance of Russians tanks on the English Channel - two or three weeks. Disputes on the topic of whether it will be possible to contain the blow of the Soviet Army by NATO forces without using nuclear weapons, did not have.
Let us return, however, to the picture of the beginning of those troubled times (there was already an April plenum, Gorbachev said something about perestroika and began with an anti-alcohol company). I recall the spring of 1985, the military commissariat and the draft board. What happened to the fate of the boys crowding in those corridors? I remember a strong guy who had memorized a vision test table so that they wouldn’t be rejected in the landing, and his joy when he was assigned to the Airborne Forces. There were volunteer sailors who were not embarrassed by the extra year of service on navy. I remember my answer to the question “Where would you like to serve, comrade draftee”: “Where the homeland will send, comrade Colonel.”
From my 10 "B" class of an ordinary Moscow school from 17, 15 went into the army, two "killed", one mother had a doctor and terrible health problems, the closer to the call, the worse it got, the other somehow left for homeland in Georgia to appeal there, but something did not work out.
My spring call for 1985 of the year was the first when students of day universities began to be called up for service in the Armed Forces. The scheme is simple: I entered the first year, studied for a year, turned 18 years old, apply for academic leave for the duration of the service - and forward, to new impressions. There are a lot of students among conscripts, but no one tore his hair and didn’t beat his head against the wall. If everyone goes to serve, then what to complain about? What was born? They looked for pros, passed exams, prepared as they could for service. The military enlistment office did not rush, giving the opportunity to pass the session, the teachers willingly agreed to early exams.
I remember what magical effect the agenda made on my physics teacher, the gray-haired assistant professor, I don’t know that he was convinced more, the agenda or my answer that “E divergence in the equipotential field is zero,” but satisfactorily he wrote to me in the record book and added aloud what something dreary: "Well, go to your army." “Not in ours, but in ours, the Soviet one,” I joked and caught the obviously cheerful face of the associate professor at the General Physics Department of the Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys.
Much can be remembered, but I don’t recall any sensations or thoughts about not understanding what is happening, much less about his inner denial. And in conversations with classmates and fellow students we did not have protests, complaints about fate or despondency. And about the positive moments in communication with peers who have become much more responsive in those spring draft days, probably, each of my comrades recalls in a special way. There was a farewell, everything is as it should be, a rank. Then the Dynamo-2 Stadium on Kashirskoye Highway, where all the draftees of the Krasnogvardeisky district of Moscow were gathered there in the morning. I remember a friend, classmate Dimka. His fellow students from the bus were taken out of the bus and solemnly brought into the stadium gates, with a duplicate of priceless cargo, so to speak. Then there was the “Ugreshka”, the Moscow assembly point on Ugreshskaya Street, all the draftees were waiting for their “buyers” officers from military units and formations who had come to take the teams of draftees to their units.
Then there was the service, two years, many new things, the knowledge of oneself and others. I remember that the 6-km march needed in the company of 32 for a minute to run, and you can still run in the OZK in the summer, shoot a gas mask. And I also remember the battalion on the parade ground and the question of the commander of the unit: “Those who are ready to continue service in the DRA, two steps forward,” and everyone stepped, probably not thinking much, simply because it was impossible not to step. They didn’t select everyone, Moscow and Leningrad aren’t suitable, why should the capital be disturbed with “200 cargo”, children from incomplete families, don’t take one child, do not go from small villages - if, God forbid, trouble, then the whole collective farm is not acceptable for public peace, so to speak.
In a word, everything is thought out, maybe that's why the monument to “Afghans” stands on the banks of the Kachi in Krasnoyarsk, the regional Siberian cities of many children were sent to Afghan. Many of our soldiers fought and died on Afghan soil, not knowing that their valor and courage, self-sacrifice and just hard soldier’s work by the people of the country they defended would be recognized as unnecessary in five years.
Eternal memory to the soldiers, the last defenders of the Soviet Union!
Then they didn’t think about it, they served everything, Afgan was far away, and each of his bowls of porridge fell out. In my there were outfits, guards, shooting, checking, reading newspapers, the program "Time", also did not do without a lip, the usual service, like everyone else, put up with a bayonet-knife in the guardhouse "Demobel is inevitable, like the collapse of capitalism" and a poster on the wall in Lenkomnat "Homeland highly appreciates your service, soldier." How many years later to evaluate this "folklore"? One night, chemists-dosimetrists were raised and ordered to carry out radiation reconnaissance, everyone wondered that this was the first time such a garbage, a major-chief, and he was not aware of it. In the morning, a new introductory - radiation reconnaissance to conduct continuously, up to a special order. Three days later, we learned about Chernobyl. Days, weeks, months, and years - there are only two of them, and both are gone, home soon, for a walk, for some reason, and for study. Nothing stuck to the epaulettes, a roundabout sheet and a divorce on the parade ground - and already former colleagues are marching past us under the “Slavyanka”. Here it is, a demob of delight, a brief moment from the gate of the house to the house, May 1987 of the year.
And somehow it immediately caught my eye: the country was becoming different, it smelled of “perestroika” in the air. The queue for vodka in three rounds around the stores, kiosks with juice at every turn, "Luber", articles about AIDS in the newspapers and the daily Gorbachev on TV, radio. They joked that if you listen, the iron plugged in will speak in the voice of the general secretary.
And then the talk about the “professional army”, service under the contract and the most surprising thing about our lag in military construction, the inexpediency of the content and the need for reform, peaceful coexistence and a lot of correct, smart things have moved from the category of chatter to the category of the main theme in all layers already losing its form, idea, meaning of the existence of society. Now it is impossible to figure out whether the authorities decided to please the people, or the people caught the thought of the leader, or the leader threw the idea to the masses. I do not know. But the fact that the idea sown by someone found support also is a fact, and another fact is that this idea turned out to be a catalyst for the collapse of the army and the country as a whole.
In the meantime, the army fought, the one not professional, not contractual, lagging behind in matters of recruitment, badly in need of reform, already betrayed by the political leadership of the country, quite professionally fought with a serious dangerous opponent. And she was preparing to fight, studied and at the same time was in a state of readiness to immediately join the battle.
Let the “specialists” answer me, not the cardboard ones, but the real ones. Has a strategic army group, similar to the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany in the period from the creation to the year 1987-88, ever been comparable in the world readiness, equipment, and training in world history?
And with this force, the most terrible thing that could happen to the army, with its soldiers - the army was betrayed by its own people. “Soldiers' mothers”, human rights activists, the yellow press lined up in the line of accusers and prosecutors and, on behalf of the people, mixed up the soldiers of their own country fighting in Afghanistan. We began to call for the withdrawal from Eastern Europe of our elite compounds, which, by their very presence, cemented the global world order and guaranteed the observance of security and untouchability of our indigenous territory.
The Soviet army was crushed and destroyed by its people, its highest generals, the political leadership of the country, a country that went into oblivion after its army. Of course, now it is easier and clearer to see the truth, foam has settled, the dregs have subsided and it became clear that the betrayal of the army by its people and the government destroys the army that protects the country, and a country without an army is doomed to death. At the very moment when we turned away from our army, we signed the sentence to the country where we were born. In 41, our grandfathers didn’t turn away, didn’t betray and survived and won, but we decided that we need a mercenary army, Afghanistan is a shameful war, and, looking, someone already drunk conducts a German orchestra, and we applaud.
Years passed, many events and many changes, demonstrations gave way to shooting, democracy separatism, the athletes became gangsters, the gangsters became deputies. My comrades in the institute became merchants, comrades in the service went to the "cops" and looked at the merchants. Someone left, someone drinks, someone is gone. Life in an era of change.
But only in May, in every city, from Moscow to the very outskirts, boys and gray-haired uncles get their green hats, in August, troops of all ages across the country wear berets, sailors do not have visors. What nostalgia is about and why, why these already far from boys recall those very years in that very inefficient and outdated army. (I do not advise, by the way, to ask them about it.) Let the psychologists sort out their intoxicating souls, this is not important. It is important, in my opinion, that for a large part of our fellow citizens service to their country in the ranks of the armed forces was and remains, if not the work of a lifetime, then certainly a matter of a lifetime.
2. How did it become
Any inheritance has heirs. There is an heiress to the indestructible and legendary Soviet Army, and the fleet also remained, although the story, like an anecdote, happened to the fleet. In the city of glory of the Russian seamen of Sevastopol, now there are two fleets - the Russian and the Ukrainian. If I had dreamed of this in 1985 on an appeal, I would have fallen into a fool, and not in the army, and I would have given up.
The historical breakdown experienced by the country, in the most disastrous way, changed the attitude of people towards the army towards military service. A persistent denial of the need for such an unshakeable, system-forming concept as a call for military service has been formed. Conscription service is the lot of fools, the army is an obsolete institution of the state, we will not let our children go there, the attitude to military service has changed for the majority, and single sober voices have drowned in a sea of popular discontent with their army. This tendency was strengthened by the fact that difficult battle tests fell on the fragments of the Soviet Army, which had not yet become the Russian Army. Two Chechen campaigns stretched out on the veins and blood of the boys who were called to the service, but could not be trained, and feed and clothe them was not easy, not so long ago mighty military districts barely scraped up the consolidated battalions ... Even the marines had to attack the Grozny fleet redeploy. Militias are just not needed, I do not know, really, good or bad.
It was also hard for our soldiers because they didn’t have the most important thing, the ideas with which the soldiers went into battle, and traded them, then surrendering to captivity, then redeeming them from captivity. But they fought, died for Yeltsin’s second term, and another billion of Berezovsky, and took Grozny, and drove into the mountains a well-motivated, equipped, informed opponent. And they, recruits, went to the fire, and, “mercenaries” -professionals? .. Let the historians get to the bottom of the truth and tell about the contribution of the hired and military units in those battles. It’s not for me to judge who fought and how in Grozny on that very New Year’s night, I wasn’t there.
Let scientists calculate with arithmetic accuracy how many contract soldiers there were in the company of the Pskov paratroopers who died all but did not retreat. And without cold calculations, it is clear that the mountaineers were basically a conscript army who had gone too far before the loss of humanity, simply because we had no other, and could not and could not have.
Later, in 2008, trained by American instructors, dressed and fattened at overseas handouts, Saakashvili’s “contract servicemen” with the support of mercenary heirs, Benders ran ahead of their own screeching from recruits, 18-20 boys, who at that time were Russian soldiers - defenders of their country .
Now, basically, our army remains a draft, the percentage of mercenaries is small, their contribution to the defense of the country, in my opinion, is rather negative.
I will explain. Imagine an army with a mixed recruitment principle.
On the one hand - a boy, a romantic, dreaming of landing, of victories and deed, of service to the country. He did not "stumble", he was not "otmazali", he is ready to serve. On the other hand, it is a fully formed, but not found itself in a civilian, who came for the "loot" is far from an ideal contract.
And now the question: what military specialty will the army offer to one and the other? Who will do the dirty work, and whose will be the cream?
And for what we cut the wings of our sons, why can not we appreciate the good, which led them to the service? Why do we want our army to rely on recruited contract soldiers than they are more useful? Why instead of maintaining a patriotic impulse, we want to eradicate it, to exchange it for money?
Because it is easier? Yes. Do you have to mess with draftees? Teach? Work with their parents? Yes. But the army is not only an instrument of foreign policy, defense and deterrence. The army is also a huge mechanism of education, the formation of a worldview. The army is another scale of values. The army is courage, patience, the will to win, honor and justice. By investing money in “messing around” with draftees for 12-24 months, we are forming a whole generation of young, capable people. And these people, returning to their cities, villages, houses change the life of the whole country. The draft army is a unique mechanism of domestic policy, education, and the creation of a favorable economic environment.
Only this mechanism should be used with skill and care.
I repeat, I think that the Armed Forces of the USSR were defeated because they were betrayed, and the country that lost the army disappeared.
I am sure that it will not be possible to defeat the Russian army to an external enemy, but you can destroy it by making it mercenary. And if Russia loses its army, we will lose Russia.
3. Is there an alternative to mercenaries?
There is. I am sure that there is. It can not be! Just because all the victories for the Russian mined the army is not hired. What kind of army do we need then? I will put aside the technical component of the Armed Forces. This is the most important topic for another article. Let's talk about people in uniform.
I will try to begin to draw a portrait of such armed forces (the ideal military machine). Army, which will be part of the country, its support, its pride and glory.
Imagine that, the highest political leadership, realizing all the destructiveness and danger of the destruction of the army, suddenly decides to radically change the situation. For this (besides, naturally, real re-equipment) it will take a number of organizational measures, namely:
1. Transition to recruitment of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation with conscripts.
2. A call for military service on the principle of VOLUNTARY, that is, a citizen of the Russian Federation who has reached 18 years of age, passes a medical commission and other standard procedures that exist now, but the draft board gives a written answer to the question: "Does he want and is ready to join the ranks The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation or refuse such a right.
3. The term of service on conscription - 24 month.
4. The first six months - general military training, aimed at leveling the physical, moral, adaptive capabilities of young soldiers. Such training is conducted on the basis of district training centers under the guidance of the best commanders. Daily medical control, psychological support for EVERY soldier. The fighter of the Russian army is a “piece product”, and it should be protected, but not spoiled, tempered, but not broken, taught, but not trained. Personal responsibility of the commander - for each fighter, for his physical, moral condition.
The tasks of the stage are the preparation of each soldier for further in-depth training of the military specialty. Full adaptation of the fighter to military service, its hardship and hardship. Vocational orientation by type of service, specialties, identification of candidates for junior commanders schools. Each soldier must be sifted, studied, examined in a magnifying glass in order to maximize the use of natural inclinations and eliminate personal shortcomings.
The second six months - getting a military specialty. Tankmen, gunners, paratroopers, border guards, and motorized infantry, who were previously selected and distributed during the first stage of the service, begin to study their specialties. This stage of training passes on the basis of training centers of the armed forces. The goal of the stage is complete mastery of the military specialty, in-depth combat training, taking into account the specifics of the kind of military. Complete training of the soldier to solve the tasks of military service in the army. Distribution to a specific warhead for continued service.
The third half of the year - serving in the combat unit as a full-fledged member of the military team, improving skills, mastering related specialties. The study of specific local conditions of combat work.
The fourth half of the year - change of the warhead, west to Siberia, north to south (to gain additional skills of service in different climatic zones and to relieve psychological fatigue from monotony).
5. To encourage young people of the citizens of the Russian Federation to make a decision to voluntarily join the ranks of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation to amend federal laws. Namely:
1) State medical insurance for military personnel, lump sum payments for injuries. Benefits (not handouts) in case of injury or death. Lifelong social providing with disability, quality medical care for life.
2) The right to receive higher education at the expense of the state.
3) Tax breaks. Citizens of the Russian Federation who have served voluntary military service in the ranks of the Armed Forces are exempt from paying income tax, property, land and other types of tax on physical. individuals.
4) Legislative consolidation of the norm on the fact that male citizens of the Russian Federation who have necessarily completed voluntary conscription service can enter the civil service. Exceptions - for those deemed unfit for service in the Armed Forces.
5) At the end of the urgent voluntary service - state interest-free loan for the purchase (construction) of housing in the place from which it was called.
6) Admission to military schools and higher military educational institutions, awarding officer ranks - only after volunteer military service.
I hear a chorus of skeptics! Their arguments are easy to foresee. Do not waste time, offer an alternative, if any. Of course, it's easier to pay: 500-600 thousands of mercenaries, there is a contract, that's all. To pay off military service all over the country. They recruited mercenaries, and the head doesn’t hurt our children, and the army is now professional, trained, it must smash any enemy. Should, but can it? The simplicity of the mercenary army - it is seeming, dipping. There is no rear behind the mercenary army, there is money behind them, but there is no people, there is no country behind them. We have already lost one country, is there a desire to walk around the rake?
Personally, I think that than throwing money on contract soldiers, it is better to prepare recruits. The money spent on such an army will return to the economy when these guys return home. And how many we tear away from drunkenness and drugs, how much we will teach to be people, warriors, defenders. How many will we save from prisons, how many will open our eyes to the world and give way to another life. We will teach you to set a goal for yourself, to find solutions to problems, to temper their will to move along this path. How to climb in this world a boy from a Siberian village on 100 yards, where men at thirty have finished drinking to “squirrel”, and he wants and can live. So this guy, instead of disappearing, will serve the Homeland in the army, return home and, having already looked at his village with different eyes, will begin to change it with his already strong soldiery character and having become much stronger hands, thereby serving the Homeland once again.
And most importantly, if we do this, if we can still give these guys modern technology, then, if not immediately, but we will create such a force, trying to a tooth that no one, not even a suicide, comes to mind.
And this army cannot be torn off from the people, and it will not be possible to betray it. Because there is no border between the country's army and its people.
And the old forgotten slogans “The people and the army are one” and “Army is the school of life” oh, how important it will sound again.
PS After I wrote this article, the media passed information about the proposals of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation to change the principles of recruitment of the Armed Forces. The initiative seems to come from Minister Shoigu, and it seems that in these sentences one can see the elements written above in the “magnifying glass”.
Wait and see.