By Vladimir Andreeff, a former Serviceman at Russian Armed Forces (1975–2001)
I have always believed that the army is a continuation of the people. All the problems of the country are always reflected in the army. Now a new army is being created in Russia, which fully meets modern requirements.
The basis of the Russian army is the professional military. It seems that this is an axiom in the construction of any army in the world. But it’s not quite like that. If we look at the history, we will see that the army in the USSR consisted of a small number of professional soldiers and an enormous number of conscripts for 3 years, and then for 2 years. In terms of the number, the army was much larger than it is now, but in effectiveness it was inferior to the modern troops of the Russian Federation. In the US, the army is formed according to the contract principle, but during the Vietnam War, all those fit for service were called into the ranks of soldiers. As a result, there were so many personnel losses.
There is such a concept in the dialectic of the transition from quantity to quality. So in the army, using the motto of the Russian commander Generalissimo Suvorov, “To fight not by number, but by skill.” Since the beginning of the 2000s, after Vladimir Putin came to power, a truly systematic reform of the army began. I was at the time of this transitional service. After the 90s the army was literally collapsed. A lot of officers were fired. The material supply was meagre. And only really, devoted people remained to serve in the armed forces of Russia. The collapse in the army ended with the arrival in the Ministry of Defense Sergei Shoigu.
On November 6, 2012, Army General Sergei Kuzhugetovich Shoigu was appointed Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation instead of the dismissed Anatoly Serdyukov. At the same time, he was appointed deputy head of the interdepartmental working group under the President of Russia to monitor the implementation of the state defence order and the implementation of the state armaments program.
After taking office, Minister Shoigu continued his policy of cardinal reform of the Armed Forces of Russia and made a number of significant changes in the practical implementation of the reform.
The intensity of combat training was significantly increased, repeated (sudden) readiness checks were undertaken, special operations forces were created, and many unfairly dismissed officers were set up to identify the real state of affairs in the Armed Forces. Viktor Ozerov, Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security, a year after Sergei Shoigu and his team came to the Defense Ministry, noted that the moral climate in the Armed Forces left much to be desired, but “Shoigu, the army general, a man who underwent many emergencies, was able to change the situation and become their own in the army “; for the year, enrollment in military schools and academies increased by 7.5 times, and in universities without military departments, scientific companies were created at the initiative of the new minister (which allows students of these universities to serve in the army on the job), in Russia the number of cadet and Suvorov schools.
On Shoigu’s initiative, Arctic forces are being created to ensure the security of the Arctic region of Russia; Army International Games are held annually and army sport develops; the largest and only military-patriotic park “Patriot” is being built.
Now military service by conscription is 1 year. These soldiers serve in training units and are not used in combat. The main task is to prepare young people for the initial training program and introduce them to the army service. Most soldiers after serving a year are reservists, and some remain under contract.
The Military career has become a real vocation for many young people. The money allowance is quite high compared to civilians. A large role is played by various allowances for service in remote locations, outside Russia and with participation in hostilities. This greatly stimulates the career growth of military personnel.
Recently, the view has already dominated the transition to a fully professional army, given the fact that training is going on high-tech weapons. Requires fundamental knowledge and skills in the use of new weapons.
Do you think that if Putin takes personal care of the army, how will he treat him?
Napoleon Bonaparte said: “Who does not want to feed his army, he will feed someone else’s.” This phrase is relevant in our time. And so it will be after us. As long as there are weapons on the ground, the army must be fed.
Vladimir Andreeff is former Serviceman at Russian Armed Forces (1975–2001)