Yet, even if double failure of the submarines’ strategic missiles during the exemplary 2004 naval maneuvers, attended also by V.V. Putin, RF president, was indeed quite acci dental but at that accidental rather demonstrative. It once again graphically showed that with their de facto results being neither compared against the respective costs nor esti mated with regard to the economic expediency, the administration system of the “power bodies” is simply liable to have low efficiency. Another significant factor was lack of due civilian control.
A number of facts are leading to a conclusion that the military political leadership of Russia began at last to understand this situation which in turn brought about the appear ance of political will to overcome such. So it is not by any chance that early last year a group of top ranking Defense Ministry officials, for the fist time during many years, made a special trip to visit their colleagues in Great Britain just in order to study their practical ex perience in the area of defense financing. However, there was something more important here – the RF administrative reform which started in April, did not pass the “power bodies” by. So the necessity of their participation in this reform once again graphically demon strated unlikeness of the defense ministry’s thesis that the military reform had already been fully, successfully and finally completed.
Results of ensuring RF military security on the international arena in the last year do not at all seem to be unambiguous. On the whole, these may be considered as successful with regard to foreign countries. For instance, Russia was able to preserve its principle po sition in the Iraqi question and rejected insistent invitations to join the US military effort in this country. At the same time, however, because of its own national interests, Russia con tinued to support international forces in Afghanistan by providing for transit of military and other respective cargo through its territory. Stronger became its cooperation with the NATO: 34 joint actions took place during the year, including military games in the head quarters of NATO in Brussels, joint naval maneuvers in the Ionian Sea and the Northern At lantic Ocean, the first entry of a Russian A submarine into the French sea port of Brest and maneuvers simulating defense of nuclear objectives on the Kola Peninsula.
Steadily maintained is a sufficiently high level of Russia’s military and technical coop eration with foreign countries. As officially declared, the volume of military exports for the said year exceeded 6 (six) bln US dollars. In the same period, however, claims were for the first time openly made to Russia in connection with her inability to complement all the sup plied armaments with the necessary spare parts. Besides, there still remains the problem of money deductions for the intellectual property in the Indians made Russian armaments models.
Quite positive results were also achieved in both military and military and technical cooperation with the former Soviet republics. Successful were the “Border 2004” anti terrorist maneuvers conducted in Kirghizia within the framework of the Agreement on the CIS Collective Security. At the same time, however, a number of observers openly ex pressed their opinion that Russian peace keeping forces did not at all act in the best way during the aggravation stage of the July 2004 international conflict in the Southern Os setia.
In the Russian Federation itself, in 2004, its armed forces were used in Chechnya, In gushetia and the Northern Ossetia. The special forces and anti mine engineering units combat operations in Chechnya are considered as sufficiently efficient. The troops own Section 3.
The real sector losses somewhat decreased as compared with the previous years. Yet, any attempts to free the territory of this republic from the terrorist bands and catch their leaders were rather unsuccessful. And although withdrawal of the airborne units from Chechnya by the end of November basically completed the reduction process of the troops strength on its territory, almost simultaneously plans were published to form two mountaineering rifle bri gades in the Northern Caucasus. It is noteworthy that stationing one of them on the terri tory of the mountainous Daghestan was confronted with active protestations of the local population caused, as reported, by plans of the military to alienate certain agricultural lands.
Of particular significance is the fact that actions of all “power bodies” during the criminal sally of the terrorist fighters in Ingushetia on June 22 and the Beslan tragedy on September 1–3 were extremely unsuccessful. The latter were in both cases able to take initiative at least for a certain period of time.
Last year, the composition, organization and functions of the Defense Ministry were significantly changed – the General Staff of the RF Armed Forces lost a number of adminis trative functions as regards direct control of troops and was placed under the authority of the Defense Minister which, as expected, should enable him to concentrate on matters of strategic planning and perspective development of the RF Armed Forces.
Practically completed is the change over to a unified inter departmental supply sys tem under which the Armed Forces Logistics Services were made responsible for supply ing the troops of all the “power bodies” with the Defense Minister controlling financing of the nuclear defense system.
In July, 2004, the system of military education experienced another change of names which, on the one hand, to some extent returned it to its former state (with military acad emies and military schools) but, on the other, it was accompanied with the lowest gradua tion rate of officers from the respective military institutions for the recent years. In the course of three years alone, this graduation rate decreased from 24 thousand down to thousand military servicemen. Accordingly, plans were worked out to draft 15 thousand graduates of civilian higher educational institutions to serve as officers. At that, the De fense Ministry considers the resultant full strength of officers in the RF Armed Forces to be about 88% of the “optimum”. The Defense Ministry also started a three year experiment on the competitive distribution of the respective funding between civilian educational es tablishments intended for training officers with humanitarian specialization. Although the main funds of the Federal Target Oriented Program (FTP) for reforming the system of mili tary education in 2004 were allocated to certification of the military educational institutions, their connection to Internet and renewing the stock of the respective libraries’ educational materials.
One of really significant events in the area of military and technical policies and pur chases of armaments was the document: “Main Development Directions of Armaments, Military and Special Machinery for the Period of up to the Year of 2020” adopted at the De fense Ministry Collegium in late March, 2004.
According to the “Red Star” newspaper, more than 300 armaments and military ma chinery models were added to the RF armory in the period from 2001 which somewhat contradicts frequent complaints about insufficient financing of the R&D by the state. But the situation, possibly, is rather reverse. The said R&D problems, it seems, are primarily caused by exceptional privacy of R&D, poor connection with requirements of different army branches, flourishing corruption and excessive abuses.
In the year of 2004, there still was no positive solution of the defense industry prob lems. To somewhat facilitate its reforming process, the list of strategic industrial enter RUSSIAN ECONOMY in trends and outlooks prises was cut down from 3 thousand to 1059. Attempts were also continued to administratively introduce vertical structures: for example, the end of the year saw setting up of a helicopter construction corporation headed by the “OPK Oboronprom” Open Joint Stock Society and consisting of the Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant, the Ulan Ude and Kazan aviation plants which “Rosvertola” (with 51% federal share in the corporation) is expected to join in future. However, a number of observers have strong doubts that such measures are capable of positively solving of the so called “disproportion” problem. Besides, of major significance is becoming the quality of the armaments and military machinery produced – the number of claims for product replacement has grown 10 times on the domestic and 20 times on the foreign markets.
Not everything is going well enough with transition of the RF military organization to the new system of recruitment for the army.
The previous year of 2004 was the first to see the start of implementing the “Transi tion to Recruiting Contracted Servicemen for a Number of Military Units and Formations” FTP for the period from 2004 to 2007. Besides, an attempt was made to attract the CIS citi zenry to contract servicing but so far with little positive results.
Fully contracted in the Defense Ministry already is the 76th Guards Airborne Division (the city of Pskov). Intensively being re equipped are the barracks and hostels where the military units and formations are stationed which are preparing for transition to the new re cruitment system for the army in 2005.
As has been officially declared, there are no more drafted RF Defense Ministry ser vicemen in Chechnya. Yet, there still remain in Chechnya 3.8 thousand Ministry of Internal Affairs Forces (MIAF) drafted servicemen and that contributes neither to better efficiency of the troops nor to decreasing negative attitudes of the public as concerns the draft sys tem of recruitment for the army.
As different either from the RF Armed Forces top officials who do not intend to give up draft recruitment in full, or the MIA Internal troops which have not yet determined their position on this matter, the Frontier Troops have already firmly decided in favor of such transition to contracted service of all their servicemen by the year of 2008 and in 2004 even rejected 6 thousand of drafted servicemen.
On the whole, the situation with compulsory drafting in the Russian Federation does remain rather problematic. Abundant is corruption which fact is graphically evidenced by bringing to criminal account of a number of functionaries from the military registration and enlistment offices: all in all, 27 men were brought to criminal account during the year of 2004 alone.
No more joyful were the social results of 2004 for professional military servicemen.
Not everybody was quite happy with regard to abolition of privileges. Attitudes towards the mortgage system to provide living accommodations for military servicemen remains rather suspicious since such a system does not directly concern most of those with no living ac commodations. There is a lot of criticism regarding indexation of servicemen’s money al lowances and wages of the civilian personnel.
It is quite difficult for military servicemen to understand the Defense Ministry policy in this respect – it is neither sufficiently transparent nor any logically consistent. Which is, in particular, evident from analyzing the situation concerning practical implementation of the above said FTP. Appearing in the mass media means, Yu. N. Baluevsky, the new Head of the RF DM General Staff, frequently noted the low quality of the citizenry who agree to serve on the contract basis, explaining it by the fact that “most of our countrymen consider payment for military labor as definitely insufficient” – 6200 roubles a month (outside Chechnya) including all the due bonuses. Obviously, this is too little, particularly so if ac Section 3.
The real sector count is taken of the fact that the average monthly wages/salaries in the country already comprise something about 7000 roubles. However, fully in accordance with Article 13, Clause 9, “On the Status of Military Servicemen”of the Federal Law, any increments to the basic money allowance are determined by none else than the “Defense Minister of the Russian Federation (Head of another federal body of executive power in which the federal law provides for military service)”. As stated in the said law, “within the limits of the funds allocated” but nevertheless by these very persons. It is their direct duty to strive for alloca tion of such funding.
However, actions of the Defense Ministry during the last two years insistently dem onstrate quite a different policy. As far back as early 2003, when the inter departmental Working Group was set up to prepare the FTP, all members of the Group were given a document signed by the Defense Minister. This document set up the calculated level of the money allowance for the contracted servicemen – 4000 roubles a month. Any reasonable objections of some Group members that this level does not correspond to the results of the respective sociologic polls and is grossly understated were simply ignored. Moreover, while the RF Government were preparing a Resolution on the FTP (the formal approval took place on August 25) the Defense Minister signed Order No 245, dated 9.07.03, on estab lishing monthly extra pay “to certain categories of military servicemen for the importance degree of the tasks performed”. Such “certain categories” included officers of the DM central bodies of administration and the said extra pay comprised 75% of their basic sala ries.