The “power” ministries and the respective military leadership failed to exercise a due control over the last year’s military-economic processes. This ascertainment is particularly true, as far as the Ministry of Defense is concerned, which was half-way towards completion of its reorganization, while running, at the same time, transition of the Armed Forces (AF) of Russian Federation to some “new look”. The document on the new look has not ever been made available for the at-large public’s review and comments, while views on it it have been changing constantly through the end of the year. Meanwhile, a string of official legal documents was adopted and promulgated, including, first and foremost, the new Military Doctrine of RF,which builds on individual provisions of the Strategy of National Security of RF2, and engendered a number of the national military structure (MS) leadership representatives’ statements in the media. The Commander-in- Chief and other participants in the meeting of the Collegiums of the Ministry of Defense held on 5 March assessed progress en route to the new look and specified annual objectives. Specifically, Mr. N. Makarov the Head of the Staff Quarters, asserted that, “now as many as 85 brigades have been formed. All of them are in the state of permanent combat readiness… They are fully manned, equipped with arms and military hardware”3. However, it was futile an attempt to ensure a “full” manning of the brigades and to sustain it through the end of the year, as there were no young men ready for conscription and willing to serve in the army. By the end of the year, it became clear that the brigades would not be fully manned in the years to come, either. Mr. Makarov’s also produced an inaccurate ascertainment of economic aspects of the process: “The best option is to have a genuine draft-based army. But the state so far has not been in a position to afford such a financial burden...The biggest changes occurred in the highest echelon of military brass. The number of military-administrative districts was reduced from recent 6 to 4 ones and the respective number of operative strategic commands (OSKs) was established ahead of pre-set timelines. Concomitant with the processes were relocations of organizational structures, which involved costs of relocation and provision of service and support. However, it is a waste of time to look for the respective figures in the federal budget, as the information is classified, while the budget classification remains imperfect.
A notable development for AF became completion of the reforming of reduced units and transition of all others under the “permanent combat readiness” category, which implied transition of the bulk of AF from the division-based structure to the brigade-based one, which Decree of the RF President of 05.02.2010 and the Military Doctrine of RF approved with it//Nezavisimoye voyennoye obozreniye. 2010. 12-18 February (¹05).
Decree of the RF President of 12.05.2009 and the Strategy of National Security of RF approved with it//Krasnaya zvezda. 2009. 2-26 May (¹ 88).
Institutional Problems suggests a greater mobility. The changes resulted in “extra” officers with no housing who found themselves “out of service”. There have been no unambiguously positive comments on the brigade-based structure. Meanwhile, being the most mobile branch of troops, the Airborne Forces has retained the division-based structure. But critical comments on the novelty are often hushed.
Yet more dangerous is the fact that the year of 2010 saw continuous disinformation of the civil society and the military, including the supreme level of the military and political command. To cite a particular example that implies far-reaching consequences, suffice it to mention a statement that the ratio of the AF support and training costs to their development costs, or more precisely, development of arms and military hardware, in RF allegedly does not quadrate with records posted by most modern states. Several years ago, when Russia would spend nearly 30% of the national defense budget on equipping its AF with arms and military hardware (AMH), Mr. Yu. Baluyevsky, the then-head of the Staff Quarters reckoned1: “The whole world is following the pattern: some 60 per cent is spent on procurement of arms and R&D, while some 30-40 per cent - on money allowance and matters associated with the material provision and military training of armed forces”. The statement disclosed the rationale behind the RF Security Council’s decision of 25 June 2005. It became known later that at the time the Security Council set a task of “changing the ratio of the ongoing support and technical equipping of the Armed Forces towards the latter and to hit the level of 50:50 by 2011 and further the one of 30:70 in favor of technical equipping – by 2015”2.
Meanwhile, the level of costs of development and procurement of arms worldwide was: in the US – 36.2% of the nation’s overall defense expenditures, in UK – 30.4%, France – 36.2%, and Germany – 24.2%3. In other words, there is rock-solid evidence that Russia was no maverick in this respect, as far as leading military nations are concerned. They have not boosted the share of spending on arms ever since, either. For example, between 2005 and 2010, the US spent, on a year-on-year basis, 62.1%, 64.2%, 61.7%, 58.6%, 63.1% of the nation’s total defense spending. An RF Ministry of Defense’s periodical regularly updates on these data4, but the military bosses and red tape ignore even domestic analysts’ materials.
The declared total “optimal” number of the AF staff accounts for 1 mln., of whom 150,are officers, while another 150,000 are sergeants and contracted specialists. Hence the need to man 700,000- plus positions with conscripts. That, in our view, became a consequence of the original erratic ascertainment that entailed a misconception of Russia being short of funds to transit to a draft-based army. Therefore, the policy setback implied “revisiting” conscription, which means both restrictions of some of the military’s rights and freedoms and an exceptionally low level of money allowance due (MA). An earlier IET research, which included a survey on conscription-aged residents5, evidenced that a 1.2 average nationwide salary would Rossiyskaya Gazeta. 2005. 1 November (¹245). URL: http://www.rg.ru/2005/11/01/baluevsky.html Comments of the Defense and Security Committee of the Federation Council on Federal Act “On the Federal Budget for 2011 and the planned period of 2012 and 2013”. ¹3.5-07/1681 of 30.11.2010.
For objective information, including transparency of military spending, see Reports by the UN SecretaryGeneral ¹¹ À/59/192 è À/60/159, Korotcheko V. Project voennogo byudgeta SSHA na 2010 finansovy god//Zarubezhnoye voyennoye obozreniye. 2009. ¹ Reforma systemy komplektovaniya voennoy organizatsii Rossii ryadovym i mladshim komandnym sostavom / Pod red. Ye.Ò. Gaidara i V.I.Tsymbala. Nauchnye trudy ¹ 39Ð. Ì.: IEPP, 2002; Problemy i praktika perekhoda voyennoy organizatsii Rossii na novuyu system komplektovaniya./ Pod red. Ye.Ò. Gaidara i V.I.Tsymbala.
Nauchnye trudy: Working papers # 75P. Moscow, IET, 2004.
RUSSIAN ECONOMY IN trends and outlooks suffice to attract new draftees; instead, the conscripted military are paid an amount 40-fold smaller than that. The approach conflicts with most of citizenry’s interests, but it suits two main groupings: army jobsters and around-the-army fixers, who make money on 1) the citizens’ fear of the army and desire to dodge conscription; and 2) on kickbacks and other embezzlement schemes in the course of allocation, under the smokescreen of secrecy, of huge funds on R&D works and arms procurements.
6.6.1. The Army Recruitment Problem Last year, as many as 700,000 young men born in 1992 reached the conscription age. For reference, in the early -1990 the birth rate in RF plummeted more than twice vis--vis the 1980s, hence the number of future conscripts will fall short of making up even the 2010 figures and will account for slightly over 600,000. Given past records, 1/3 of them will be discarded due to health problems. Plus, Russian universities will shortly offer some 1m tuition opportunities (with roughly a half of them targeting young men), so practically every masculine higher school graduate can enroll to the university and enjoy a conscription deferment.
The situation is further aggravated by many Russians’ willingness, to reside and work overseas, while retaining the RF passport.
Hence, today, it is mostly those who used to enjoy deferments earlier who form the bulk of the conscription reserve (CR), with ex-students dominating the group. That is why the number of university-educated conscripts is on the upsurge: in the spring 2009, they accounted for 31,000 (out of the total of 305,500 conscripts), in the autumn of 2009 – 43,000 (271,000), in the spring of 2010 – 45,000 (270,600), and in the autumn of 2010 – 44,000 (278,800).
The conscription reserve, which the head of the State Operational Mobilization Department has recently estimated at the level of 3 mln, should exhaust within next two or three years. The above data allow assessing both current challenges to, and meager future opportunities for, filling in 700,000 positions with conscripts; as well the exercise can shed some light on magnitude of the corruption potential the system engenders.
Let us start with economic incentives potential bribe-givers may have. With the average nationwide monthly salary currently in the region of Rb. 19,000, while in service, the conscript can “earn” a miserable Rb. 500 a month, plus another Rb. 3,000 (cash equivalent of other kinds of military allowance combined). Hence, what the conscript and his family loose annually is: (19 – 0.5 – 3) * 12 = Rb.186,000. The total loss of all the conscripts’ families combined will make up astounding Rb. 130 bln. Let us note that in the past, when the bulk of conscripts was formed by fresh higher school graduates, the IET calculations assumed their salaries would account, on average, for just 70% of the average salary nationwide. This adjustment can now be dumped, as we see the tendency to compulsory recruitment of fresh university graduates to the army. It goes without saying, this material factor (alongside the fear of hazing) pushes prospective conscripts and their parents to check out conscription exemption “services”.
Now, let us depict interests of those who “facilitate” that under and beyond the legal framework. The past years’ record shows there are 1.4 mln. conscription notifications sent out annually. That is to say, they fail to cover (due to various reasons, including corruption) 3-1.mln.=1.6 mln. young men of conscription age. Consequently, provided only a half out of 1.mln. of recipients of conscription notifications is actually enlisted, it means that the other half of them, i.e. 0.7 mln., will be exempted from conscription because of some reasons (possibly, corruption-based ones), too. So, the number of individuals who have dodged the annual conSection 6.
Institutional Problems scription campaign will total 1.6 mln.+07 mln.= 2.3 mln. The Military Prosecutor’s office, INDEM foundation and media reports estimate the costs of conscription exemption “services” rendered by medics, lawyers and staff at military commissariats within the range from Rb.
300,000-more in megapolises to 30,000 in regions1.
Assuming the amount of the bribe per each given conscription dodger averages Rb.
60,000, the criminogenic capacity in the area can very roughly account for 2.3 mln. * Rb.60, 000 = Rb.138 bln. The figure is way greater than budget expenditures required for transition to draft, which by the IET estimates, do not exceed Rb. 90 bln, or less than 1% of the defense budget (Rb. 1,276 bln.)2. Meanwhile, the annual increase in defense spending accounts for some 20%, but all the funds are spent on procurements and R&D.
So, while saving on a decent pay service to draftees, the government de-facto withdraws the same amount from budgets of conscripts’ families, which form the most disenfranchised fraction of the society. At the same time, while resorting to the illegal “services”, other citizens are stripped of an amount roughly matching the one needed to transit to the draft system.
From the military perspective, such a policy can engender the following outcomes: on request of the Defense Committee of the State Duma, the Head Department of Military Training (HDMT)of AF RF ( outgoing letter ref. ¹ 533.3.1211 of 16.09. 2002) unveiled expert comments in this respect. Proceeding from the model “professional” (ie. basing on at least a fiveyear military training program) soldier’s combat capacity (which equivalents 1), after months of military service and training the respective index accounts for 0.1 and after months in service – 0.3. As a reminder, while drawing its comparisons across different nations’ military capacity, the UN experts disregarded troops in service for less than half a year.
Notwithstanding the above HDMT’s assessments and failing to officially produce their own, the present military leadership argue that 2-3 months is a period sufficient to train a modern soldier.
While commenting on results of the spring stage of conscription, the SOMD head asserted that “ enlisted between April and May, already in June the soldiers took part in “Vostok2010” strategic exercise and performed not that bad”3. However, there exists absolutely polar evidence: “While gearing up for the exercise, a simple decision was made – that is, against any law, to halt dismissal of conscripts by deploying any qualified soldiers just to prepare training areas, rather than to even partake in the future exercise”4. Assurances of a “credible level of military training” were also been shrugged off by the current head of HDMT and Troop Service5: “there is a question no one so far has produced a clear answer to: how to make a qualified troop out of a conscript in the span of one year”. He also added that without modern training capacities, this is an unrealistic objective in principle. AF RF have no such training capacities, nor the troops’ military efficiency matters at the end of their service- rather, the are needed earlier than that. At this juncture, commanders of military units and detachments are doomed to a constant renewal of their troops (while some of them are booties, Web-page of the RF Ministry of Interior, 27.10.2010: http://mvdrf.ru/news/49341. - Access date 07.02.2011.