The mission of the president is difficult: as a top manager, he cannot embark on a kind of “arms race,” taking a lot of money away from social budget items; and as the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, he is obliged in principle to uphold the interests of ensuring reliable defense capability of the same state and to listen to reasonably reasonable proposals of the military. According to the observations of the author of these lines, the Belarusian leader has developed a very productive style in working with all the power structures of the country, whose authority over almost the 17 years of his reign he has considerably raised and strengthened. The military in Belarus are openly proud that they serve in the “Army of Old Lukashenko”.
HERITAGE FROM THE COLLAPSE OF THE UNION
In August, Alexander Grigorievich will be 57 years old. 19 December 2010. He was elected president for the fourth time. And he came to power in the Republic of 10 in July 1994 at the age of 39 years - a unique case in the post-Soviet space. Belarusian sovereignty was just three years old. By the way, the young president began to be called Old Man shortly after he took the reins in his hands. Lukashenko knows that he is so called behind the eyes in the republic, and internationally - he was asked the appropriate question in one of the press conferences - and he takes it calmly.
What was at that time in the hands of Lukashenko to protect the independence of the country? Suffice it to recall the perestroika slogans of the Gorabachev era about the need for a so-called conversion, to imagine what scale it took in Belarus, which for decades was a platform for the production of high-precision instruments and equipment - mainly electronics and optics, designed, among other things, for space and military needs. Many companies have literally switched to the production of pots and even toilet paper. Simultaneously, the destruction of military equipment of the largest group of troops of the USSR Armed Forces - the Belarusian Military District. Finally, the exportation of nuclear weapons in pursuance of previously reached international agreements.
In the first weeks of his reign, Lukashenko decisively stopped the sawmills for cutting armored vehicles and airplanes. The young president personally visited all the “points” where this “file” was carried out with manic fever and ordered the “carvers” to calm down.
This was greatly facilitated by the political situation. The NATO bloc hastily recruited former "loyal friends" of the Soviet Union — Eastern European countries — into their ranks. In one of his speeches, Lukashenko described NATO as “a monster creeping toward our blue-eyed Belarus.” Against this background, at the beginning of 1995, Minsk suspended the implementation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. At the same time, the President of Belarus seriously intended to stop the export of strategic weapons, which he offered Moscow to leave in the republic. And at that time, 72 nuclear warheads were still on its territory.
The Old Man was clearly not going to continue the pro-Western course of the former leadership of Belarus and abruptly turned the helm of its foreign policy on a course of rapprochement with Russia. Since then, an unknown politician who dared to openly go against the West, the local “doves of peace” have disliked them.
Russia in the 1990-s fraternized with its "Western partners." And through the Kozyrev Foreign Ministry (Andrei Kozyrev, the then foreign minister), who was often called the “branch of the American State Department,” Moscow’s new “friends” began to put pressure on Belarus. I must say - not without success. 15 October 1995 Mr. Lukashenko again gave the command to start the conveyor of the destruction of military equipment. We went to Russia and nuclear warheads.
But he still stopped the “pottery” conversion. “We resolutely refused to convert the enterprises of the military-industrial complex,” said the Belarusian leader in 2007, responding to the question of the author of these lines at a press conference for Russian journalists. - It was clearly and openly said: we will not produce pans at the enterprises, which produced electronics and optics for military needs. We did this honestly and frankly, for which we were subjected to the most severe criticism in the West, and in some former Soviet republics. But we endured it. ”
NATIONAL IDEA OF BELARUS
The middle of the 1990-x - a complete economic collapse in all countries of the former Soviet Union, not excluding Belarus. Under these conditions, Lukashenko, in his own language, abruptly collapses in the country "wild" seizure "and landslide market reforms, during which property created by national labor is plundered outright."
In the internal political life, having conducted a referendum, he to a considerable extent stops the growing nationalism that is growing in the country, mixed up with pronounced Russophobia. As a result, the current white-red-white flag and the state emblem Pahonya (the rider riding to the east) are directly referred to as nationalistic. This met with a positive reaction from the overwhelming majority of the Belarusian society. Lukashenko returns, in fact, the symbolism of Soviet times, making only minor changes to it. At the same time, the main holiday of the country - Independence Day - becomes 3 July, the day of liberation of Minsk from the Nazi invaders in 1944. For the previous five years, this holiday was celebrated on July 27 - as the anniversary of the Declaration of Sovereignty of the Republic of Belarus. Old Man keenly caught the mood of the whole people. “What is this holiday - July 27? - he was surprised. - From whom did we become independent, from Russian brothers? This is utter nonsense! It was with the liberation from Hitler's barbarians that Belarus, in which every fourth died, gained real freedom, and it was the Russian soldier who, more than anyone else, helped us to gain it, to conquer it! ”All of this together became a kind of national idea of the republic on the basis of which its formation began. Including - and the construction of the Armed Forces.
Lukashenko retains the potential of the defense of Belarus, but in a number of areas the country's army depends on supplies from Russia
WHAT TO DO WITH THE ARMY?
With a huge army inherited from the Belarusian Military District of the USSR Armed Forces (the number of troops in the district reached 280 thousand troops), something had to be done.
The generals and officers were waiting for what steps the newly elected president and commander-in-chief would take. Many military men appealed to Lukashenko, and, probably, the majority of them voted for him in the elections.
First and foremost, the president stopped the sweeping blackening of a man with a gun in the country, which had become fashionable since the last years of Gorbachev's “perestroika”. While in the military, he was keenly aware of the pessimistic sentiments of the military thrown into poverty, but he did not give any special promises. He himself, an economist and agrarian by training, did not have enough specific military knowledge to ponder what to do with the army and impose a plan to reform it. The young president was still looking at those who could shoulder the burden of radical reforming the former BVI, creating from it a worthy national army. Replacing ministers of defense one after another, Lukashenko in March 2001 chose 51-year-old Lieutenant General Leonid Maltsev.
A graduate of two academies (named after Frunze and the General Staff), he went from platoon to corps commander, served in the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany, in the Far East, and became sovereign Belarus. Over the years of service, Maltsev has matured many sensible ideas for improving the state of affairs in the army.
Presumably, Lukashenko gave the Minister of Defense a complete blank of the implementation of reforms in the army. At the same time, the president said that "from now on we will spend as much as our army needs to maintain". And it was not a declaration.
The methodological basis of the fundamental army reforms was developed by the new editions of the National Security Concept and the Military Doctrine of the country, as well as a number of other important documents. The goal of the reform was to bring the troops in line with the nature of the modern military-political situation, potential war and warfare, the degree of possible military threats and the economic possibilities of the state.
Soon after his appointment, Maltsev organizes and conducts the largest in the post-Soviet space operational-tactical exercise "Neman-2001". It was attended by 9 thousand troops, 1600 units of military equipment, including 60 tanks, almost 200 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 60 missile and artillery systems, over 100 air defense systems, 48 aircraft and helicopters. The weekly maneuvers were of a research nature: it was supposed to get answers to many questions regarding the further construction of the Armed Forces. The “game” was by no means abstract - the army of the republic learned to repulse an air strike on the type of NATO operation in Yugoslavia, as well as to confront the superior forces of a potential enemy in the western direction.
Lukashenko was personally interested in the process of working out tasks, actively communicated with the military. It was then that he first appeared among the officers and soldiers in the field uniform of the commander-in-chief - with a large national emblem on shoulder straps and a wide "marshal's" badge on a headdress.
It is obvious that soon the Old Man became convinced that he made the right choice with regard to Maltsev. Half a month after the end of the "Neman-2001", 18 September, he assigns him the rank of colonel-general. Two years later, he rewarded the Minister of Defense with the Order “For Service to the Motherland” of the I degree - “for special merits in strengthening the defense capacity of the Republic of Belarus, creating and mastering new military equipment”.
By that time, many officers who had retired had returned to the Belarusian army. Leonid Maltsev, not without pride, said that "today the staffing of troops with officers is 92,5%, while in 2001 there were a little more than 70%". The minister argued that such an indicator was not even in Soviet times, and in a year and a half (if not earlier) there will be what is called a complete set. So it happened.
Large-scale exercises have become the norm in the country. They were held every year: followed by "Berezina-2002", "Clear Sky-2003", "Shield of the Fatherland-2004". In addition, as part of the 2000-thousandth Russian-Belarusian Western regional group of forces created at the beginning of the 300-s, Strategic Highway-2003, Allied Security-2004 and Shield of the Union-2005 maneuvers were conducted. After the completion of the reform in 2005, such “games” began to be held once every two years, and, as a rule, with the participation of a considerable number of Russian troops.
The latest large-scale bilateral exercises were "West-2009". "Echo" from them for a long time sounded in the West. Lukashenko himself is truly unparalleled since the collapse of the Soviet Union in terms of the number of troops (more than 11 thousand) and on the tasks to be solved, he assessed as a crown in training the national army and as the highest level of cooperation with Moscow in the military sphere, especially in the matter of ensuring the joint security of the two states .
HOLIDAY BREAKFULLY FULLY
In the autumn of 2005, the Minister of Defense Leonid Maltsev reported to the commander-in-chief, parliamentarians and the public about the completion of the reform of the republic’s Armed Forces and about the prospects for their further development. During the five-year reform period, the Belarusian army was reduced to 50 thousand of military personnel proud of their service in the army (plus 15 thousand civilian personnel). A strategic deterrence system was created. Improved command and control system. Formed special operations forces. A procedure has been developed for providing information to the Armed Forces. Improved approaches in the recruitment of troops and the training of junior military specialists. It was emphasized that all the activities planned by the regulatory documents for implementation were completed completely, accurately and on time. Since then there is a grinding of these basic developments.
Already at the end of the “Maltsev” Five-Year Plan for Reforms in the National Army, such a shameful phenomenon as hazing was completely wiped out: neither massacre, not escapes of soldiers with guns, nor shootings of offenders and suicides on this basis. For the first time, a fundamentally new system of work to maintain military discipline was created in the Belarusian army, eliminating the possibility of concealing offenses and at the same time allowing the commander to be socially defended, uncompromisingly, in accordance with the legislation, taking the necessary measures to ensure law and order.
Today, the Belarusian Armed Forces have the lowest crime rate among the armies of the world. The indicator achieved at the end of the reforms remains practically at the same level. The crime rate (the number of offenses on 1 ths. Military) in 2005 was 3,4, while in 1994 was 10,9. In 2008 (last official data), the criminal activity index in the Belarusian Armed Forces was 3,6.
But the official data on suicides. If in 1994 the number of suicides in the Belarusian army was the largest - the 42 incident per 100 thousand soldiers, in 2008 it decreased almost 4 times, all of which are associated exclusively with painful conditions, and not with non-statutory relationships. According to the Belarusian Ministry of Defense, if in 2008 in the whole country, about 3 people from 10 thousand lost their lives, then in the army this figure was about 1 to 10 thousand people - three times less.
Virtually negated and other non-combat losses. According to the official website of the Ministry of Defense, "despite the fact that military service is associated with an increased risk, the death of military personnel per 1000 people in 3-4 times less than in the country as a whole." In 2008, 3 people were killed while serving in the Belarusian army.
No wonder that the guys - yesterday's schoolchildren, according to Lukashenko himself, began to ask for service in the Armed Forces: “My mother even writes:“ Take my dunce, Alexander G., in the army, let him serve there ”. Because they no longer fear manifestations of hazing in the relations between the military personnel. Hazing is a shame for any president, as he is the commander in chief. And, sorry for the indiscretion, the statutory order in the army is one of the greatest achievements that we have been able to achieve in recent years. ”
The theft among generals and officers in the army is also single. A number of corruption scandals among senior officers took place in the summer of 2007. And the younger ones “distinguished themselves” at the same time as espionage in favor of Poland. But recently there was a very loud relapse. In late December, 2010 was detained and arrested while receiving a large bribe by the commander of the Air Force and Air Defense, Major General Igor Azaronok. Lukashenko, a consistent champion of the fight against corruption, no matter what level it takes, making sure that this incident is “no smoke without fire,” released the general from his post in January.
WITH CARE OF OFFICERS AND SOLDIERS
Concluding the story about the approaches of Lukashenka to reforming the army, it is necessary to note that these transformations took place with simultaneous increased care for the social needs of servicemen.
Leonid Maltsev - the creator of the Belarusian military reform
The housing problem is solved in different directions: the Defense Ministry creates housing cooperatives (the officer gets a bank loan at 5% per annum for 20 years, and the military department pays half the cost of his apartment), service housing is being built. It is clear that many Belarusian officers are forced to rent apartments. But for the housing rent, even in Minsk, the officer is paid the entire cost of rent, not the 15-20 part of it, as in the Russian army. There is also the prospect of creating a mortgage savings system. But there are still few who want it, - the present principle of providing a servant with housing is quite satisfied.
Most recently, the Belarusian commander-in-chief set out before the leadership of the Ministry of Defense his view on the solution of the housing problem. He believes, for example, that the provision of official housing only for the period of service does not solve the problem: “This is not a method when a man who served in the army (colonel, general or major) leaves the occupied office housing. And where should he go? He cannot do anything else except how to serve and carry out his function. But, probably, we can hardly even give an apartment now even to a military man. Therefore, maybe some part of the cost - half, maybe 75%, maybe 30% - the state will assume, and the rest of the amount the soldier will be able to get an affordable loan. ”
As for the pay, the officers are happy with it. From the first years of the reforms, they received more times in 1,3-1,5 than their counterparts in similar positions in the Russian army. Adequately provided and retired military.
In February, 2011, speaking to the leadership of the Armed Forces, Lukashenko stated that in general, the salaries of officers are now higher than the average salary in the country, which corresponds to global trends. “However,” the commander-in-chief noted, “this largely refers to the senior officers. Junior officers are not so well provided, and therefore they are being drained from the army. 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. ”
At the beginning of 2010, Mr. Lukashenko ordered the creation of a unit in which the conditions for service and life would meet all modern standards. This year, on the eve of February 23, he visited the 2 th engineering brigade of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus, which is deployed in the village of Sosny near Minsk. Here he was assured that in this part everything was done in accordance with the requirements that are objectively put forward in the 21st century. “What I see here is incomparable with what happened when I served in the army as a soldier and officer, but I served in the best parts,” the president noted, not without admiration. He gave three years for similar conditions of life and studies to be created in all parts of the Armed Forces.
By 2007, it became noticeable that Minsk was clearly seeking to expand its capabilities in the international arms market. Observers noted that in the republic they rather actively (if not aggressively) began to engage in information promotion of the national Goskomvoenproma created in 2003, using not only major reasons (say, the international exhibitions of weapons and military equipment MILEX, which take place in Minsk), but also various convenient cases. For example, visits to the country of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez or reception by the President of the Chinese Minister of Defense, Colonel General Cao Ganchuan.
Today, the Goskomvoyenproma includes more than 100 enterprises and organizations, and it is coordinated by the activities of 261 companies and organizations related to the production of military products. GVPK operates more than 30 plants, 15 research institutes and design bureaus. At the same time, 69% of the products manufactured and services rendered is sold for the power structures of Belarus. The share of the Russian Ministry of Defense and the organizations of the defense-industrial complex of the Russian Federation is 5%, the remaining 26% is in the interests of other countries.
Minsk’s ambitions in terms of exporting weapons and military equipment are quite large. Goskomvoyenprom does not want to go the way of one-time contracts, and wants to act in the algorithm of delivery - service maintenance - training - maintenance. Moreover, the business card of the defense industry complex of Belarus is high quality, reliability, efficiency and the most modern developments.
In addition to Russia, Minsk is actively developing military-technical cooperation with Algeria, Vietnam, Egypt, India, China, the United Arab Emirates, and Syria. Automated control systems for troops and weapons are supplied to these countries, primarily for the Air Force and Air Defense Forces, modernization and overhaul of armored vehicles are being carried out. Belarusian versions of the MiG-29, Su-27, Mi-8, Mi-24 helicopters are being promoted to international markets. On assignments of customers from far abroad, experimental design and research works are carried out.
WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF REGIONAL GROUPING TROOPS
Starting reforming the army and re-equipping it with modern types of weapons, Lukashenko understood that Belarus alone could not resist potential external threats. We needed close military cooperation with Russia. And at the beginning of 2000-s, he initiated the creation of a regional grouping of troops (RGV) within the framework of the Union State. Now its strength is more than 200 thousand Belarusian and Russian military personnel, the group is the military component of the CSTO in the western direction. Lukashenko reasonably believed that sooner or later Moscow will begin to re-equip its army and, logically, must supply weapons to the Belarusian army, which is fully part of the RSG.
In November, 2010, Mr. Lukashenko, hearing a report on the plan for the use of the WGW and confirming the country's readiness to perform the functions of ensuring the security of the Union State, states that Russia, in turn, should help Belarus in this area. Leonid Maltsev, State Secretary of the Security Council of Belarus (he was appointed to this position on December 4 2009), explained the president’s words: “The plan for applying the grouping includes not only tactical design, but also a system for its comprehensive provision, including weapons and equipment. Since this group is common and acts in the interests of both parties, the Russian Federation should be involved in providing this group with weapons and equipment. ”
It is known that Minsk would like to purchase from Russia not only the Triumph C-400 SAM systems, the Iskander complexes, for which Russia is rearming its army. In the same list, the Su-30, Su-34 and combat-training Yak-130, modernized IL-76 transports, attack Mi-28Н helicopters. Obviously, the acquisition of these particular weapons and military equipment from Russia is laid down in the Belarusian program HPV-2015.
At what level of mutual understanding Moscow and Minsk will act in the task of re-equipping the Western EWG, which includes the Belarusian army entirely, time will tell. Now it is obvious that as long as Russia does not properly re-equip its armed forces, it will not be necessary to talk about the supply of military innovations to Belarus. However, if the Belarusian budget pays for them, then the Russian “defense industry” can go forward. Then the question rests only on the amount of preferences, on which the friendly parties agree.