Russian army will fight without officers
Thoughtless and destructive for the country's defense capability, the spotlight of the fathers of the army reform from the Ministry of Defense does not seem to withstand even the very first contact with objective reality. Only a few years have passed since the military leadership announced plans to transfer the Russian army to the contract principle of recruitment, as Anatoly Serdyukov’s department was forced to sign for powerlessness and inability to calculate the consequences of their “bold” experiments at least 1 – 2 ahead . That, in general, once again proves the well-known axiom of the "phenomenal professionalism" of the current army managers.
According to Interfax, the Ministry of Defense intends to begin a radical reduction in the number of contract servicemen in the Armed Forces: by the middle of this summer there will remain only those contractors on whom the combat readiness of the units depends. We are talking about highly qualified specialists (commanders of combat vehicles, driver mechanics, operators-gunners, etc.), without which any army will inevitably turn into cannon fodder for the enemy. The war department apparently will say “thank you” to all the other contract servicemen and send them to the ranks of another Russian “army” - the unemployed. As you might guess, this will by no means contribute to the reduction of social tension in society.
But there seems to be no other way out for Serdyukov’s subordinates who began to play in the reforms. It is unlikely that the Russian budget deficit in the conditions of the economic crisis will pull the contents of tens or even hundreds of thousands of soldiers of luck. The last thing is to hope only that the Ministry of Defense (at least “goodbye”) will fulfill its financial and other obligations to them.
However, the objective logic of the development of events did not have time to correct one of the controversial undertakings of the “military reformer in civilian clothes”, as officials of the Ministry of Defense risk making another (this time - irreparable) mistake, if not more. As a source in the Ministry of Defense reported on Wednesday to Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Anatoly Serdyukov made a decision this year to reduce the number of applicants to military higher educational institutions of the country for officer positions to a minimum. According to his information, this year the country's military higher educational institutions will accept only a few hundred cadets for training in officer positions. For comparison: even in the crisis year of 2009, the state began to prepare more 2000 entrants. Although this figure is a drop in the ocean for the Russian army, which numbers about a million people.
Considering the latter circumstance, the officially announced “motivation part” of the upcoming decision sounds already simply mockingly. It turns out, in the opinion of our army men, the training of officers for commanders of platoons, companies and battalions was irrelevant, since there are plenty of them in the Armed Forces today ... in abundance. One would like to ask: if two thousand trained officers per million soldiers-conscripts are “surplus,” then what is considered a “deficit”? And will it not happen that in a few years a personnel hole threatening the national security of the country will form in the officer corps of the Russian Federation, which constitutes the backbone of any more or less efficient army? ..
Thus, from the goals of military reform stated a few years ago, which consisted in creating a compact, but at the same time more highly professional army, only the “compactness” apparently remained in the Defense Ministry’s strategy. What is in the context of growing global crisis phenomena is very much like self-disarmament in the face of potential threats and opponents.
Igor Korotchenko, editor-in-chief of the magazine National Defense, assesses the reformist Exercises of the Serdyukov Office:
- As for the first part of the question, in general the whole idea of transferring the Russian army to a contractual basis was utopian from the very beginning, when it was just announced. Then these plans were submitted as a huge step forward. Although the majority of sensible experts specializing in military topics said that with reference to Russia this is unrealistic, mainly for economic reasons. In terms of GDP, we cannot compete with the United States, where there is a fully contract army and who can afford to pay people for military service a lot of money. It’s one thing to pay officers who are not so many, and another thing to private soldiers or sergeants (so that the latter will receive money comparable to the officers). Our economy simply could not stand it.
The money that was offered to our potential contractors, as well as the living conditions of the service did not withstand any criticism. In addition, the contract army in our public opinion has always been associated with a mercenary army. And, as you know, mercenaries want to get a lot, but do not want to die on the battlefield. That is why, in the traditions of Russia, there was always a conscript army, and the soldiers did not fight for the contract, but fulfilled their duty to the Motherland.
It is no secret that the number of contract servicemen in these years was mainly filled by people from the social strata. Lumpen elements arrived in military units and disorganized the normal life of military units. And some of them, being dissatisfied with the money they paid, simply deserted. At the same time, tens of millions of rubles were spent on the promotion of the contract service. I still remember the "amazing" stretch at the entrance to the famous Rublevke - "Sign up for a contract army!". Probably, the oligarchs, their children, as well as wives and mistresses just laughed at this spectacle. It is clear that it was money laundering. And now it would be good for the main military prosecutor's office to check how funds were spent on public relations, which were spelled out as a separate line in the federal program for the formation of contract units.
So, apparently, the call will now be increased, and when the presidential elections are held, the two-year term of service will probably be returned. This will simply have to come back, otherwise we will simply lose the army.
With regard to the reduction of admission to higher educational institutions of future officers, this decision causes a great deal of wariness. In conditions when experiments with contract soldiers fail, only the officer corps remains the real core of the Armed Forces. Having lost it, we can ruin them to their very foundations, because the army is cemented not by civilian officials, but officers (and not even contract servicemen). Sharp cuts are all the more incomprehensible, given that we are enlarging military schools. It would seem that such large centers of professional military education should switch to the issue of the officer corps for the new Armed Forces of Russia. But several hundred officers are a drop in the sea of the problems that the army has to solve.
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