Let us recollect what was achieved as a result of “the First Chechen Campaign”. The mission of the Ministry of Defense as it is specified in the existing Law on RF Defense, that is to ensure “the integrity and inviolability of its territory”, has been fulfilled. And all the unjustifiable losses, such as the senseless deaths of many RF servicemen and much more numerous deaths of civilians, the destruction of towns and villages, and an enormous material loss inflicted on the population turned out to be just collateral damage and a side effect of achieving the main objective. Shall we see this again and again Or yet another question: what was used by the armed forces in the course of that military campaign, and how was it used They used the means intended for war with an external aggressor. There was absolutely no emphasis on using special, non-lethal or high-precision means and weapons. Even now, judging from the information on the ongoing consideration of armament programs and their implementation, we can detect no interest toward such weapons. The objective of aero-space defense also appears to be secondary under the present-day formulation of the concept of defense. It is not by chance that S. Ivanov has recently said that it should be necessary to strengthen defense against air attacks on military and industrial objects, as well as objects of state importance, and did not mention defense of the population 53.
Likewise, no proper attention is given to the issue of manning regular forces on a genuinely voluntary basis, to upgrading the status and the legal protection of citizens in uniform, and to ensuring the security and safety of military service in time of peace.
At the present stage of Russia’s development (not only as a state but also as a country), the issues of preserving sovereignty and territorial integrity are, of course, important but not urging enough to dwindle the formulation of the Ministry of Defense’s and the RF Armed Forces’ mission needed by the people, and, most importantly, the need for an efficient RF policy with regard to modernizing the army. The rights of a serviceman as a citizen of the RF implementing the crucial task of safeguarding military security, and the rights of all citizens to control the activity of the agencies which organize the fulfillment of this task, to enforce a rational spending of budget and off-budget funds, and to eradicate corruption in this sphere should become a priority in both the future concept of national security and in the country’s military doctrine. And the most important conceptual elements of military development should be the RF military organization’s being manned on a voluntary basis. State of the art weapons should be entrusted only to professionally interested Facts about the Finnish Defence Forces 2004 – 2005. – Helsinki: Public Information Division of the Defence Staff, 2004. – P.7.
Tsymbal, V.I. Osobennosti modernizatsii voennoi organizatsii Rossii, obuslovlennye voennoi reformoi ( The Peculiarities of Modernizing Russia’s Military Organization Conditioned by Military Reform) // Vooruzhenie. Politika. Konversiia (Armaments. Politics. Conversion). 2005, # 4, P. 30 – 35.
Gavrilov, Yu. V kol’tse zenitok (In the Ring of Flak) // Rossiiskaia Gazeta, 30 April 2008.
servicemen who are properly trained to maintain and use them. Can the citizens being forced to sign contracts of “voluntary” service be capable of becoming such professionals The previous RF President used to say a lot with regard to these issues. His messages were mostly correct, but quite frequently things did not budge an inch. The justness of this conclusion is amply illustrated by Table 2. The list of instructions issued over the past 8 years should be addressed, because they were characterized as policy markers at the recently completed stage-by-stage re-election of authorities in the RF.
Table The content and the results of implementation of some instructions of the RF President The content of instructions (or demands) of the RF The degree of implementation and the future topiPresident cality of the instructions On 9 November 2000, the RF President summoned the On the basis of a number of substantiations and feasiRF Security Council and instructed the Government bility studies (produced by the Academy of Military and the General Staff to develop “the program of Sciences and the IET), it was decided that the switchswitching over to manning the State’s military organi- over to manning the RF Armed Forces exclusively by zation exclusively by servicemen serving under con- contractees should be postponed until the economic tracts”. situation improved and that, for a time being, the objectives should be limited to achieving a considerable increase in the number of contractees serving in regular forces and a sharp reduction (to 6 months) of the term of service under the draft (in the training centers).
Judging from the assessment made by the RF President The experience of implementing military reform indiin his 2001 Message, the corrupted officialdom had so cated that the corruptness of both the draft system and much compromised the idea of authority in the eyes of service under the draft did not visibly diminish, and the people that the President was forced to acknowl- that the facts of violation of law were hushed up, as edge the existence of “a chronic mistrust of the State was indicated in the reports issued by the Office of the which has repeatedly cheated the citizens”. Military Prosecutor General and by the Plenipotentiary for Human Rights in the RF.
From the 2002 Message: “One of the indisputable In the process of developing the concept of the FTP, priorities is the continuation of military reform and the the IET’s proposals were distorted. The interests of transition to a professional army with the simultaneous citizens and society were practically ignored.
reduction in the term of service under the draft. This The switchover to the contract was planned by the reform is needed by society, but first of all – by the General Staff only for units of permanent readiness;
army itself”. military units on continuous alert were not included in In August 2002, the RF President confirmed “The the list of units being switched over to the contract.
Fundamental Principles of the RF’s State Policy with The reduction of the term of service under the draft Regard to Military Development for the Period until “up to 1 year” was now interpreted only as 12 months.
2010”. This document prescribed that a federal target The purpose of service under the draft remained tradiprogram (FTP) for the switchover to the new system tional, which was much broaider than that of training of manning, starting with military units of permanent the necessary mobilization resource. Therefore it is readiness and those on continuous alert, should be absolutely imperative to resume addressing the issues developed in 2003, while service under the draft of taking society’s interests into consideration, as well should be reduced up to 1 year for the purpose of train- as the issues of social control and elimination of coring the necessary mobilization resource. ruption.
From the 2003 Message: “In accordance with the ap- The initially approved list of positions to be transferred proved plans, we will continue to form units of perma- to the new system of manning was later revised and nent readiness on a professional basis in the ground reduced, while the expenditures were simultaneously forces, in the airborne forces, and in the marines. This increased. But even in the reduced form, this “work” work must be completed in 2007. Apart from this, has not been completed in accordance with the plans.
service in the internal service forces and the frontier- Only the Frontier Service of the FSB is transferred to a guards forces will also be based on professional prin- professional basis, while the Internal Service Forces of ciples. <…> only well trained professional units shall the Ministry of Internal Affairs are not.
be engaged <…> in the hot spots and local conflicts. The draft is abolished only in Chechnya, and all the <…> the NCO personnel of our Armed Forces will be other servicemen serve there exclusively under conswitched over to a professional basis at a priority rate. tracts. But the possibility of draftees being dispatched From 2008 onward the term of service under the draft into the combat zone still remains. This entry in the will be reduced to one year. The first half – year will Regulation on Military Service is preserved.
be spent by the draftees in mastering military special- There was no priority rate with regard to transferring ties in training units. After this, they will have to chose all NCOs to the contract. Only a draft of a new FTP between serving the other half – year in units of the designed to solve this issue is ready by now.
line or to switch over to professional service under The principle of sending all the draftees to training contracts”. units for half a year is being ignored. Officially, the category of “troops of the line” does not exist in the RF. The called up citizens will have to serve in the secondary positions which do not require prolonged training.
From the 2004 Message: The attractiveness of military service under contracts “I will repeat it again: the country needs a combat – has turned out to be low. In the years of the FTP being ready army. An army with intellectual officers and implemented, the special bonus was never adjusted for highly professional NCOs. And finally – with soldiers inflation. The number of those willing to sign contracts who are sincerely willing and ready to serve their is small, and, as a consequence, there are cases of Fatherland”. coercion to “voluntarily” concluded contracts, as well as instances of contractees going away.
The 2005 Message confirmed the long – term nature of The general public are still unaware of any program of the previous directives: “<…> I want you to consider further actions concerning the issue of manning the last year’s and the present messages to the Federal army, and therefore are incapable of analyzing it. The Assembly as a coherent program of action, as our joint Program of solving the social problems of servicemen program for the next ten years”. for the period until 2020 implies that the draft to RF regular forces will be preserved.
The 2006 Message on personnel policy reads: “<…> As a result of the failure to implement a number of an important requirement is that the process of man- measures envisaged in the FTP, its objectives were not ning should correspond to the aims of creating a pro- achieved in full.
fessional and mobile army. As a result of implement- The number of contractees in the units of permanent ing the Federal Target Program <…> the Armed readiness did not reach the requited figure, and there Forces will already become two – thirds contractual was a simultaneous outflow of them from other miliand professional. And the term of service under the tary units.
draft will be reduced, from 1 January 2008, to 12 The term of service was reduced, but a number of months. We will indeed perform this task”. deferments were abolished, which increased the corruptness of the draft system and resulted in discontent on the part of many citizens, young fathers in particular.
The 2007 Message formulated the final directives Quite a lot was achieved with regard to providing concerning military – personnel policy: “Service in the servicemen with housing. Allowance in money is also Russian Army should become up to modern standards on the rise, but for the majority of contractees it is still and truly prestigious. A person defending his Father- below the national average. As regards the corresponland shall have high social and material status and dence of the terms of service in the RF Armed Forces solid social guarantees”. And, further on: “What is to modern standards (adopted in the G-7 countries), the most important for us People at the Ministry of De- RF clearly lags behind. The draft is preserved in Gerfense know what is most important for us. The case in many alone, but the duration of service there is only point will be love, women, and children. And the fam- months, while the terms of service under the draft are ily. And the most acute problem of contemporary such that even our contractees can only dream of them.
Russia is its demography”. The contribution of young officers and contractees to the solution of RF demographic problems is minimal.
Many of them remain bachelors or childless, or have just one child.
Table 2 indicates that the algorithm “Putin’s words are the program of future action” will not work. The case in point is the flaws in the views transmitted by the top military commanders to the former President, which were then reflected in his pronouncements, as well in as the inadequate performance of duties on the part of top brass, and even their open disobedience. The case in point is also the inadequate “feedback” and corruption. In short, the origin of all the failures is the low quality of state administration. This characteristic is especially justified with regard to the excessive secrecy in the sphere of military security and to the concrete issue of manning the army, which gives rise to so much anxiety in society.
It should be equally appropriate to say a few words about the present President’s attitude to the problem under consideration. It was expressed by him on extremely rare occassions, because in the past he was not one of the persons responsible for solving the problem. For example, when D. Medvedev was signing, on August 2001, his instruction to a number of RF officials with respect to considering the IET’s proposals concerned with this problem, he simply performed his duties as head of the RF Presidential Administration.
Nevertheless, his assessment of these proposals was as follows: “<…> they were considered at the corresponding departments of the Administration of the President of the Russian Federation, and it was acknowledged that they contained a number of ideas which could be used in the practice of military development. In particular, the case in point is the combination of the contractual and the draft-based systems of manning the RF Armed Forces, with the term of service being simultaneously reduced to 6 months, the system of training the mobilization reserve of the RF Armed Forces, and some other issues”.