This information caused a very different reaction in Kazakhstani society and outside the country. For the older generation, who still remembers the Soviet mobilization system, the question of military service causes mixed feelings. On the one hand, the call itself was recalled as an extremely unpleasant duty. On the other hand, as time passed, military service was perceived as the greatest adventure in life. Especially if you had to serve in different parts of a huge country.
For most of Kazakhstani society, this was good news. No more tragic incidents involving draftees would have to be expected. At the same time, this news was probably very upset for many. Because the army was an important social elevator, which allowed people from the village to rely on service in the police or the KNB. Therefore, our youth so sought in the army.
However, in a more professional environment, the issue of a draft army was considered from fundamentally different positions. Some have paid attention to the fact that now Kazakhstan will not have a prepared reserve. Others stated that the transition to a professional army is due to the fact that it is less connected with society and can therefore also be used to solve domestic political problems. Still others, on the contrary, emphasized that serving in the modern army requires lengthy training, which the draft cannot provide for just one year.
However, among other arguments stood out the well-known thesis that Kazakhstan would still not be able to resist any of the potential opponents, except for some Central Asian countries. Consequently, it does not matter what kind of army Kazakhstan will have - professional or recruiting. It will still be small and will perform symbolic functions.
In principle, the transition to a fully professional army is associated with the rejection of the Soviet concept of a mass army, when the entire male population serves in the army and then enters the reserve. Such a system was supposed to allow the USSR to deploy multimillion-dollar troops to wage a global war. The basis for building such a system was the experience of the Second World War. Then, despite the loss in the first months of the war of almost all regular units, the USSR was able to re-create the army due to the total mobilization of the population.
However, such a system was very expensive. In addition to the huge recruiting machine and the need to ensure the maintenance of a multimillion-dollar contingent, the army in the USSR had a large number of cropped divisions. In such divisions there was a limited number of officers and soldiers to maintain equipment and weapons in working condition. In the event of war, they had to turn into full-fledged units due to the call of reservists. And since there were many reservists, the reserves weapons were colossal.
In modern conditions, to maintain such a colossus in working condition is simply impossible. Firstly, because no budget can bear such costs. Only the former USSR with its total control over the economy and society, as well as the eternal expectation of a big war, could go for it. Secondly, in the world no one else is preparing for war on the model of the Second World War. So, mass armies are simply not needed. Thirdly, in modern wars, a large role is played by technology and communication systems. For their operation requires professionally trained professionals. It is clear that the recruit for the year of service is not able to fully master the modern requirements.
Conscription has one more advantage for the state. A conscript is cheaper than a contract. Accordingly, military expenditures can be reduced in the budget. However, he is much more powerless than an adult fighter. From here all stories about how conscripts worked on the side on the orders of commanders. In addition, the recruit does not need to create special living conditions.
So refusal of an appeal is a serious decision. It not only requires large investments, but also the restructuring of the entire concept of the use of armed forces. In addition, a professional army is already a very important institution of the state, one of whose functions is to maintain state foundations. The role of the army in the East is always greater than that which it traditionally played in the West.
But even to fulfill its direct functions, a professional army is still more suited to the conditions of Kazakhstan. It is clear that our country is not going to fight with anyone, we have a purely defensive military doctrine and good relations with all our neighbors. Moreover, the independence of Kazakhstan was guaranteed by the great powers at the very moment when we were abandoning nuclear weapons.
Photo source: nomad.suHypothetically, the capture of the territory of our country by foreign troops is possible, but unrealistic. Nowadays there is no point in such actions. Because you still have to leave the occupied territory, as happened with the Russian troops, which, reflecting the attack of the Georgian army on South Ossetia in 2008, occupied the cities of Senaki, Gori and Poti on the territory of Georgia. If you leave your troops in the occupied territory, then, on the one hand, this is a very costly measure, on the other - it worsens the country's position in the international arena.
Practically the only way to occupy and hold for a long time a piece of someone else’s territory if there has previously been an internal conflict, for example, on ethnic grounds. That is, the pretext should be given by the state on whose territory they attempt or attempt to encroach. If the state does not give reasons, then there is no reason to interfere in internal affairs.
In the case of China, which has a large army and very significant police formations, many of which are located on our border, any military aggression is basically impossible. Because on the borders with Central Asia, China needs a calm rear. All his military-political activity is concentrated in Southeast Asia. And here in Beijing, everything is not very good.
The last case with the announcement in early December of Chinese control over the air zone in the area of the disputed islands in Japanese, Senkaku, in Chinese Diaoyu, is quite indicative. Beijing declared its readiness to take decisive measures and demanded that Japanese airlines report flight routes through the islands. In response, the United States defiantly sent two B-52 bombers to the islands, which flew through the restricted area. Then it was already violated by Japanese aircraft. And China was in an awkward position, he was forced to pretend that nothing happened. After all the bellicose rhetoric, it turned out to be very humiliating. But such a situation could be calculated. No one will shoot over the disputed territory in a military plane of a great power.
But in any case, China, even if it wants to saber with weapons, will be occupied by the southeast direction for many more decades. In the western direction, his interests are in the strategic defense of Xinjiang so that no problems arise here. In addition, military action against Central Asia will automatically cause opposition from Russia and the United States, as well as a wave of indignation in the Muslim world. For China, which is critically dependent on the development of economic relations with the outside world, some global complications are least needed.
So the global war in our region with the use of mass armies is an incredible development of events. Accordingly, we do not need such an army. But to say that it is not needed in principle, it would be premature.
It should be borne in mind that in our time, a war between states is too expensive to be long. Even the great powers are not ready for long-term hostilities. Therefore, the strategy of small countries can be based on the fact that in the event of aggression of any opponent hold out as long as possible. The most important thing is not to give up. Thus, those who resist, perhaps, will not win the war, but will significantly increase the costs for the attackers. In the end, this will give time to opponents of any aggressor from among the great powers. And such people in the conditions of geopolitical conflict of interests will always be found. They will be able to put pressure on the advancing side. If a small country gives up, then there will be no one to protect.
A very revealing situation occurred in the 1940 year. Then, after the start of World War II in 1939, the USSR began to implement agreements reached with Germany on the division of zones of influence in Eastern Europe. As a result of Moscow’s pressure, the Baltic countries capitulated because the scale of the armed forces of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia was too incomparable. At the same time, the Finns, who were in a similar situation, began to resist. This initially seemed a hopeless struggle, but the Finnish commander Mannerheim said that it was necessary to fight for the sake of future generations.
This is logical, because whoever resists, and in the end they agree, who simply gives up, he has no chance of independently determining his own destiny. So the Latvians with the Estonians ended up in the SS legions. Now they can talk as much as they want that they were called by the Germans and fought against the Soviet empire, but service in the SS left a black mark on their reputation. While the Finns twice fought with the Soviet Union, but after the war, despite the lost territories, they had no problems in relations with the USSR, and then with Russia. As for Latvians and Estonians, relations with Russia are not very good.
A small compact army capable of confronting any adversary, even for a short time, is an objective necessity for an independent state. At the same time, a small professional army is perfectly capable of coping with threats, such as those that occurred in 1999 in Batken, Kyrgyzstan. Then militant groups from Tajikistan broke through to Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. It does not need a massive army. Therefore, the refusal of Kazakhstan from the mass appeal is quite logical. The main thing is whether he has the financial capabilities and human resources for a professional army.
For example, Russia also wants to increase the number of contract soldiers to about half of the current army in 800 thousand. Although, in principle, Russia is oriented toward the million-strong army. At the same time, in Russia there was always the backbone of professional military officers and warrant officers. This corps was seriously affected by the reforms of the previous Minister of Defense, Anatoly Serdyukov, but still retained its capabilities. But with ordinary contract soldiers the situation is much more complicated.
What is the difference between the situation in Russia and Kazakhstan? The main difference is due to the presence of a significant rural population. In Russia, the village objectively exhausted its human resources. While in our village, after all the reforms of 1990, they remain crowded, families are large. In this situation, military career is a good way to earn money for those who do not have the opportunity to find work in the countryside and have no desire to tempt fate in the city. The salary in 100 thousand tenge per month, plus some social package, will quite suit many Kazakhstanis. Therefore, in Kazakhstan, the military can choose from a large number of applicants, in Russia it is much more difficult to choose. In addition, there is higher expectations, especially among the urban population.
It is also obvious that Russia cannot completely refuse conscripts, as they are going to do in Kazakhstan. Too much territory requires not only the size of the army, but also an impressive number of trained reservists. Although many of the cropped units were disbanded under the former minister of Serdyukov, nevertheless, stocks of weapons and equipment remained, and this makes it possible to use reservists if necessary.
So the army is formed under its task. In Soviet times, the army had to prepare for a big war with NATO, on the one hand, and with China, on the other. It was supposed to contain a large ocean fleet, to have strategic missile forces. All enterprises had to have a strategic reserve for working in conditions of war. Many of them had a dual purpose - civil and military. The entire male population first served in the army, then entered the reserve.
Now, no one is preparing for a big war. Hypothetically, this possibility exists, but in reality, in the context of globalization, war has become too unprofitable.
Military engineering planning
Photo source: voxpopuli.kz This year there were a number of events related to our army. In April, the MiG-31 fighter in the Karaganda region fell. The plane was just before it was repaired in Russia, at the Rzhev aircraft repair plant. According to the findings of the commission, the accident occurred due to a technical defect committed during the repair. The plant itself denied his guilt. However, objectively, the Rzhev factory doesn't have much work at all. For 2012 the year he spent repairing three MiG-31, at least one of them was the same Kazakhstani. In the same year, two Mig-29 were repaired. At the same time, this aircraft is not a profile for the Rzhevsky plant, it only masters its repair. Therefore, one can imagine that the plant has difficulties with personnel and even spare parts.
Although, in fact, not so fundamentally, they were mistaken at the Rzhevsky plant or not. The tragedy occurred with a machine that was released at least 30 years ago. Characteristically, another MiG-31 crashed in Russia on December 11. On these aircraft, the maximum and prohibitive wear of the airframe and the engine are certain. Almost all military aircraft in Kazakhstan are in this condition. They are just very old. Repair can extend the life of the machine, and in recent years Kazakhstan has been actively repairing aircraft in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. But in the same way, active military training is underway, on the fly our military aviation occupies a leading position in the former USSR (more than 100 hours per year).
Su-24 fighters-bombers available in Kazakhstan do not fly anymore. They were put on a joke, according to one version, because of the complete wear of the car, on the other - because of the refusal of Russia to repair it. In Russia, the Su-24 is being replaced by a new Su-34 aircraft. Probably, it makes no sense for them to keep production facilities for the repair of a model that is being decommissioned. A total of up to 2015 will be written off until 100 of the Russian Su-24. In 2012, these vehicles were decommissioned by the Air Force of Belarus.
At the same time, the Su-34 was created on the basis of the Su-27 fighter, therefore it is not a complete replacement for the front-line bomber Su-24. But today, the Air Force cannot afford the narrow specialization of military equipment, as it was during the Cold War. For example, in the United States, a close analogue of the Su-24 front-line bomber F-111 was decommissioned. Its functions on the battlefield are performed by F-16 lightweight fighter-bombers.
Accordingly, the question arises with Mig-31. The catastrophe near Karaganda identified the problem. Mig-31 is certainly an outstanding, but too highly specialized aircraft. For him, the Air Force of Kazakhstan simply does not have the corresponding tasks. It was created to combat cruise missiles, low-flying satellites. In Russia, aircraft are given great importance and are being upgraded to the level of Mig-31BM. This year, the question of the transfer of the aircraft from the Air Force to the military space forces was discussed. Including Mig-31BM should shoot down targets entering the atmosphere at hypersonic speed.
But if this aircraft is important for Russia and it is ready to spend money on its costly modernization, then for Kazakhstan the question is not so simple. Firstly, the modernization of the old aircraft itself raises doubts about its feasibility. Secondly, there is clearly no sense for Kazakhstan to prepare for any military conflict using space. Rather, he needs light front-line fighter-bombers.
The first part of the problem is very relevant. If Su-24 (they, according to unofficial data, around 35) no longer fly, the use of Mig-31 (approximately 30) is questionable, then the Air Force remains some amount of Su-27 (around 30) and Mig-29 (approximately the same ). Part of the Su-27 repaired, others not, with the Mig-29 a similar situation. Taking into account the fact that in Russia there is a massive replacement of old cars with new ones, the situation for us does not look very promising. Especially since in 2009, an incident occurred in Russia with Mig-29. After the Mig-29 accident in Transbaikalia, all 200 aircraft in service with the Russian Air Force were tested. 90 of them were considered unfit for flying due to corrosion of the airframe materials.
It is characteristic that Su-27 is being repaired, but there is no such information about Mig-29. In any case, the concept of endless repair of old Soviet aircraft is not very promising. With intensive use, the remaining life of the aircraft will melt like smoke. A natural question arises: what to do in such a situation? Probably, first of all it is necessary to decide why Kazakhstan needs combat aircraft?
If we proceed from the fact that Kazakhstan is a relatively small country with a large territory, then it is logical to assume that the country will need, firstly, military transport aircraft for the transfer of troops over long distances; secondly, transport and assault helicopters, especially they are needed in the south, where problems are likely to occur; thirdly, a certain number of modern fighter-bombers. Their number depends on the ambitions of the state.
For example, small Qatar bought the 1990 French Mirage-10 in 2000-e, and now they have announced a tender to buy 30 new fighters. India held a tender for the supply of 126 fighters worth 10 billion. Not very rich Bulgaria announced a tender for the purchase of used fighters, etc.
Actually, tenders for the supply of announced almost all countries, so it would be logical to determine the duration of the remaining operation of the old Soviet cars. Then figure out how many planes we need. Then negotiate with Russia about the possibility of buying from her party a lot of cars. But now the Russian industry is busy fulfilling a large state order. Although at prices the new Russian aircraft are more attractive than Western cars. But you can immediately announce an international tender. It will also attract Russian manufacturers. And there already choose based on the issue price.
For example, Kazakhstan needs 48 new fighter-bombers (maybe less, maybe more), 8 – 12 transport aircraft, as well as military air bases in different parts of the country - in the east, west, and south. The main base at the same time is located in the center - the same Karaganda, where Mig-31 now stand.
Formalization of the question is in principle better than closed agreements. You can understand what and how much we buy, and most importantly - why.
BMPT "Terminator". Photo source: alternathistory.org.ua For example, it is not clear why Kazakhstan bought three BMPT Terminator cars and three Buratino TOS cars from Russia. "Terminator" is a support combat vehicle tanksand “Pinocchio” - a flamethrower designed to break through the fortifications. In the first case, the Terminator has not yet been adopted by Russia. The weak point of this complex is the lack of protection for the entire range of weapons that are mounted on the basis of the T-72 tank. Anti-tank missiles, grenade launchers, automatic guns (2 caliber 30 mm), machine guns openly stand on the case. All this is intended for combat in urban environments. However, a simple hit of a grenade from a hand grenade launcher, or firing from a heavy machine gun, or a high-explosive mine explosion will render all Terminator armament unusable. With "Pinocchio" also not everything is clear. Why, in fact, the Kazakh army several such machines. It is unlikely that she will ever break through the layered defense.
In recent years, the Ministry of Defense has funds for the purchase of equipment. In Soviet times, there was such a thing as a small-time mother. The purchase of "Terminator" and "Buratino" is an obvious petty mother. Undoubtedly, it is better to purchase equipment in large batches and thus close the existing gaps. That is, to solve point problems of the army in order of priority. For example, we need army trucks - one problem, we need our own production of ammunition - another problem, we need modern tanks, and maybe we don’t need them.
The question of choosing a new technique is the same. For example, helicopters are needed - we will buy Mi-17 from Russia. But if new fighters are needed, and Russia does not have free production capacity, maybe then buy them from someone else?
In November, Kazakhstan’s Defense Minister Adilbek Dzhaksybekov visited the United States. During the visit, they talked about the possible purchases of weapons, including even Predator drones with strike weapons. The ministry knows better what the army needs. But buying a weapon is also a policy, even if it will never be applied. Moreover, the continuation of multi-vector state policy.