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Military Reform Must be Started with Army Commanders

The military doesn't know where poet Pushkin was born, cannot shoot well and doesn't care about its soldiers 
Now we often hear that switching to a military based contracts may become an effective method to put an end to abuses of new recruits by soldiers that have been in the army for at least a year. The military authorities are merely charmed with the word "a contract". What does this mean? This is what we still cannot realize, not because of money problems but because people don't know how the idea can be carried out.

The Russian army was always supported by the professionalism of officers and junior army commanders, sergeants. Thus, the manpower is the core of the army, but its most important morale problem is the fact that new recruits are hazed by soldiers that have been in the army for at least a year; and unfortunately this fact is taken as normal. This may sound strange but the hazing of new recruits by older soldiers is the problem experienced by all armies of the world for many-many years. The problem is that what is going on in the army now is mere hooliganism in the Russian army quarters; adequate measures must be applied to fight it, proper training of the military personnel is among them.

Soldiers in the Russian army won't be beaten in the face only when officers give up the very though that these measures are admissible in the army at all. For the time being it is rather difficult to say when it may happen because unfortunately the army education doesn't include a humanitarian component which is important for formation of well-bred people. The military treat as a joke the very notion of a military bachelor. In fact, unfortunately the military often doesn't know where poet Pushkin was born, cannot shoot well and doesn't care about its soldiers. 

Today the condition of Russia's armed forces is such that they are no military power at all. The Russian army is now able to wage a global war only by showering the enemy with nuclear bombs. Some time ago, the Russian army had other more effective military methods, but all of them were lost as a result of negative personnel recruiting. What does the notion mean? The negative personnel recruiting means that poor specialists recruit even poorer colleagues.

During the year before the parliamentary elections, many parties focused their attention on the army, but none of them had a strong expert basis for development of the army reform. Also, none of the projects suggested by the parties for reforming the army provided the answer to the issue of distributing the responsibility in the army. A program suggested by the Union of Right-Wing Forces (SPS) for army reforming was lame; the party insisted that all military in the army must serve on a contractual basis. However it is important to keep it in mind that other countries formed the army on a contractual basis only when they planned to wage wars outside the country or when the interests of the people and the authority were radically different. The army was formed on a contractual basis so that to have some force to suppress some conflicts inside the country. In this situation it is rather useful to have mercenaries. 

As for Russia, reforming of the army must be started with establishing order among army commanders. Unfortunately army commanders are often people with wrong morals, they steal, are engaged in commerce, and so on. As a result, majority of the population in Russia treat the army service as danger. But it is important that switching of the army to a contractual basis doesn't solve the problem at all, as the problem mostly lies in the arbitrariness of the army command. 

There are few people who know what issues should be taught to soldiers and cadets. Teachers of military educational institutions are very often people who wish to be paid privileges by the government and who have already obtained material comforts. Those people who have no comforts they leave the army; unfortunately many of them are gifted for army service.

Special headquarters must be created to develop the military reform which would further help solve the army problems. The headquarters must consist of the military and civil members as there are issues that cannot be solved by the military or problems where civilians are incompetent. If all necessary measures are taken we'll have a chance to change the situation for the better within the next 10 years. However, for successful realization of the idea we also need effective laws and political parties which would focus on army problems not only before elections.

Alexander Vladimirov
Vice-president of the Military Experts Collegium