WHAT KIND OF ARMY NEEDS RUSSIA
Before giving respond to the question stated in the title I should explain what kind of army Russia has now. Can it meet the modern demands and perform the tasks set before it. If it can’t (it seems like it is really so), then only after that we could consider the reforming of our army. However, every consideration precedes the historical analysis, because every present state/situation is the result of the past, as well as it is impossible to built up the future without consideration of the present. That is why I will start my reflection from the history.
For some ignorant persons it might be the revelation and even might seem nonsense, but the fact remains the fact: the modern Russian army and its principal regulations were founded as far back as by Peter the first’s reforms. In order not to be groundless I will remind you the school history.
It’s a common knowledge that Peter the First was made twice stifling the Rising of Strelets that made up the basis of Russian army. Strelets were permanent Russian army that from the very beginning was recruited among the free population (in the 16th century).
However, later on the army became life long and hereditary and was paid by the state. Traveling around Western Europe and having learned their customs Peter decided reforming the Russian army to the western pattern. He started with the abolishment of Streets troops in 1705 and creation of the regular army consisting of slaves who had to be the common soldiers under the command of the officers belonging to the noble class. In Western Europe the mercenaries were enrolled among free people. However, Peter the first rejected the mercenary system, because he had the cheap cannon fodder - slaves who already were not existed in Western Europe. He enrolled his slaves to the army under compulsion without questioning their will (peasant – serfs had to provide a certain number of recruits from among their community). This reform allowed Peter the First to create the lager army bearing far lesser material costs. In order that the recruits didn’t try escaping and undeviatingly followed the orders of their commanders he introduced the lifelong military service with the severest rod discipline. Thus, the soldiers had no other choice, but to go like a lamb for death that would come sooner or later. And if someone could escape it then maybe he would have luck to plunder the enemy's town. As an encouragement the winners were always allowed three days for plundering the conquered towns.
When in the 30th of the 18th century Field Marshal Minikh bust with this kind of army to Crimea he made there the slaughter by the hands of his slave-soldiers. However, because of the epidemic which followed in the result the army almost completely died, but these losses were easily wrote off, because the slave cost nothing in Russia. The Army restored its number soon.
Unfortunately this attitude to the soldier preserved until now. Traditions are amazingly firm in Russia. More than three centuries had passed, but the doctrine to win not by quality, but by quantity preserved until now, though the times changed greatly. During the World War Two there were 10 died Soviet soldiers per 1 died German one. This is the official data. In reality this ration was far bigger. The human life still costs nothing in our country.
Peter the First was an inborn slave-holder that is why he didn’t regard the slaves for people. He even built his capital literally on the slaves’ bones. Though, his attitude to the noble men was as to equals. And the term of their military service was limited by 45 year-old age. Our officers today retire at the age of 45 as well. However, the attitude to the soldiers is the same as it was set up by the Great Emperor. Though, today these officers are made of the same material as the soldiers (revolution ousted the nobility represented by non-Slavs from the army), but the traditions are above all.
Dealing with the slaves Peter the Great reduced the soldier to the level of a mute cattle or cannon fodder demanding an implicit obedience of the soldier to the commander’s order, whatever senseless it might be. “The commander’s orders are not discussed”. In other words, the soldier doesn’t belong to himself. He is the military unit, he is not a man. So it went since Peter’s time. Such attitude preserved until now. All these are the echoes of Russia’s slave period. The soldier today as well as three hundred years ago must not think. He must just carry out the orders of his commander, may even at the cost of his life. In case the new recruit will try to resist this system – he would have his rebelliousness “beaten out of him” with all the approved by many-centuries practice measures; where “dedovschina” is one of the ways of so called reeducation of recruits. The purport of this “reeducation” is preventing of any attempts of independent thinking. “The orders are not discussed, the orders are carried out!” This is the main principle of Russian soldier, the principle that came to us from Peter’s times. The perfect soldier according to Russian, Soviet and the Army of Russia is the soldier that responds to every order “Yes, Sir!” and who carries it out right away like a robot.
It’s natural that this army of robots could perform the military tasks… though, on condition that there is uncountable number of these robots. Such is the system that we have inherited. And it was quite effective because it was the army of kamikaze. The difference between kamikaze and the usual soldier is that the first one does not think about the future.
It is clear that Peter’s system – inhuman system that deliberately presupposed that a soldier is not a man. It appeared and could exist only in the conditions of slaveholding Russia. However, under the communist governance it was safely revived, because Stalin, murdering the people of Russia, got rid of that part of population that decided considering oneself as human beings. He preserved live only to those who got afraid and agreed to slavery existence, and who repeated dully after the official propaganda that they are the happiest people in the world, and that they are ready to die for the bright future of the humankind. Under the guise of this propaganda Stalin’s supporters restored the orders of Peter’s times in the army by issuing on August 16, 1941 the Order # 270 according to which every man who gave oneself up to the enemy and his family, which remained as a hostage in the rear, had to be punished. On the battle fields in order to stimulate the competitive spirit of the soldiers behind the attacking troops there were troops of People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs shooting everyone who stopped before the enemy’s forces. Thus, the communists achieved the military efficiency of Red (Soviet) Army. The goal is everything, the man is nothing.
However, after the revolution of 1991 the slaveholding system was put an end. After 1991 the new generation appeared. It didn’t come to know slavery neither Tsarist, nor communist one. With this generation one couldn’t restore the slave army. However, the generals thinking by the outdated categories in no way could understand this. They still draft to the traditional army the youth that do not want to serve under to the slave regulations. The country has changed, but the army remained the same.
And if the recruitment to the army is yet possible for the present, then only among those retrograde layers of population that are still preserved in the thickets of Russian remote. These are mainly morons and dystrophics. The sane young men don’t want to serve in the army that lives according to old, outdated traditions and rules. New Russia needs new army with new principles of its forming. It is quite hard to put again in slave irons the people who have tasted freedom. To force young generation serving in the army by repressive decrees means acknowledge one's own helplessness because of the incomprehension of the historic reality. The acute need in the military reform is the problem of yesterday. However, we still fail to solve it. What we are waiting for? What we are count for? One should start from changing of the very principles of training of the military expert, in other words the soldier.
The first principle is: the soldier is not a slave, but the expert in military art, armed not only with the means of physical force, but first of all with knowledge that he applies depending on the situation. In other words, the solder first of all is a thinking man who could professionally evaluate the battle situation, and only in the second turn – the trained man executing what was planed.
The second principle is: the military schemes have to be solved not by quantity, but by quality.
However, it appears that these elementary principles are beyond the Russian generals’ comprehension.
In this respect the military operations carried out by some states abroad already after World War Two could serve as an edifying example. Frankly speaking, for me personally being the Moscow State University graduate who was taught as the reserve officer on the military chair the basis of the military art, these military precedents of foreign armies hesitated us, because they were conducted contrary to the rules of conducting of military actions we were taught to. In particular, when there was a conflict between Argentina and Great Britain concerning Falkland (Maldives) Islands located near Argentina in the Atlantic Ocean, which were occupied by Argentina considering that English would submit with its loss due to the remoteness of their colony from metropolis. However, in order to restore the status quo the “Iron Lady” Margaret Tetchier sent the military expedition to the southern hemisphere. At that time I was shocked by the number of marines by means of which the Great Britain intended suppressing the armed forces of Argentina that flooded the islands. The number of English marines comprised 500 men. Though, according to our military canons in order to make the advance effective the attackers must outnumber the defenders at least in three times. That is why for us - Sovoks – taught according to our military principles, it was very funny to follow the course of this military conflict. And yet the English military squadron crossed the Atlantic from north to south we didn’t stop laughing at the self-assured Englishmen undertaking this senseless journey to the world's end.
However, what was our surprise when this brave fellows who busily landed in the islands and within few days forced to their knees eleven thousand well-trained soldiers of military junta that ruled Argentina at that time. The war was finished almost in a week and Argentina surrendered with disgrace. It was the victory of the new army that qualitatively differed from the traditional one, whose apogee and at the same time decline fell on the middle of the 20th century. In modern conditions the course of military actions depends not on the quantity of armed tin soldiers, but on the technical means and intellect of the professionals that could nullify the numerical superiority of the enemy. This very idea in no way could break through the hard foreheads of our numerous generals.
That is why the intellectual youth won’t go to serve to our archaic army. It wouldn’t go there even at gun point. It would run abroad, feign illness and feebleness, and find thousands of ways if only escape the slave humiliation, and in general, trampling on human dignity. Is it possible that the dull-witted generals in no way could understand it? Why American young men even long for serving at first few years in the army and then on money earned on military service to enter the university? The thing is that there is no humiliation of man in American army, no turning him into cattle, no knocking out of the last ability to independent thinking. On the contrary, all these abilities are developed, thus preparing the young man to meaningful existence in the future. In addition he is also paid quite big money before going out to Civvy Street. Is it so hard to our generals and officials to understand all this? To my mind, one shouldn’t have a prominent mind for this. Nevertheless, “things are right where they started”.
I remember the interview in newspaper “Comsomolskaya Pravda” on January 6, 2006 with the President of the Institute of Political and Military Analysis, PhD in technical sciences, candidate of military sciences, Professor Alexander Sharavin, in which he commented the statement of Minister of Defense Sergey Ivanov that the military reform in Russia was accomplished, objecting that the reform didn’t even started. I completely agree with colonel-professor. There is only one thing though, that isn’t understandable for me: who Minister of Defense thinks we are? He thinks we are similar to him?
Does he really think that calling the black white he would convince us in this nonsense? To my mind he lives somewhere in the middle of the 20th century. One should recall him that it’s already the 21st century coming up. In connection with this a reasonable question arises automatically: is it the right man holding the position of the minister of Defense of Russia? Maybe A. Sharavin would be more suitable candidature for this position? Well, Sharavin is not from St. Petersburg, he wouldn’t get to Kremlin or White House. Is it possible that there isn’t any sane person in St. Petersburg who is not indifferent to the fate of Russia and its army? Any lucid minds, where are you!