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The Russian Military Merged Thread- Army

Blackadder1916

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Half Of Deaths In Russian Army Down To Suicide In 2007
http://en.rian.ru/russia/20070416/63718260.html

MOSCOW, April 16 (RIA Novosti) - Suicides accounted for more than a half of all deaths in Russia's Armed Forces so far this year, the Defense Ministry said Monday.

According to the ministry's official Web site, a total of 110 servicemen have been killed in crimes, accidents and suicides.

The deaths were mainly due to suicides (65), accidents (24), murder through negligence (7) and hazing (5).

Four soldiers were killed with only one being a combat casualty in the North Caucasus republic of Chechnya in February-March, where illegal armed groups have continued operating since the active phase of a war ended earlier in the 2000s.

The ministry said last December that a total of 514 servicemen had died in 18,198 accidents and other non-combat-related incidents in the Russian Armed Forces since the beginning of 2006.

A report posted on the ministry's Web site said the majority of the deaths - 211 soldiers - were caused by accidents, while 193 servicemen had committed suicide. Twenty-two deaths were caused by abuse of rank and hazing attacks.

In addition, 56 soldiers died in traffic accidents and 20 were killed by civilians.

The elevated number of casualties and hazing incidents became high-profile issues in the Armed Forces last year following a scandal involving Private Andrei Sychyov, who had both legs amputated after allegedly being beaten and tortured during the New Year's holidays in his Army unit in the south Urals city of Chelyabinsk.


 

3rd Herd

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The usual disclaimer:
http://en.rian.ru/russia/20070820/72627624.html


Half of deaths in Russian Army suicides
18:50 | 20/ 08/ 2007 

MOSCOW, August 20 (RIA Novosti) - Suicides continue to be the main cause of death in Russia's Armed Forces, the Defense Ministry said Monday.

According to the ministry's official Web site, a total of 262 servicemen have died from crimes, accidents and suicides so far this year.

The deaths were mainly due to suicides (147), accidents (60), traffic accidents (27), murder through negligence (15), hazing (7) and mishandling of arms (6).

The ministry earlier said a total of 554 servicemen had died in 21,252 accidents and other non-combat-related incidents in the Russian Armed Forces in 2006.
 

retiredgrunt45

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Here is a good article by "Global security org. on the Russian military, it explains alot.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/russia/army-intro.htm

Here is an excerpt from the article.

The two most compelling reasons for the failure of conscription are the unfavorable living conditions and pay of soldiers (less than US$1 per month at 1995 exchange rates) and the well-publicized and extremely unpopular Chechnya operation. The Russian tradition of hazing in the ranks, which became more violent and was much more widely reported in the 1990s, also has contributed to society's antipathy toward military service.
 

razorguns

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we have a huge # of suicides here too.  So it's not that different.  And Russian soldiers are even poorer, have less rights, less benefits and less educated than our soldiers.  Which adds to their depression.

You gotta take in account also, most suicides are by teens - and many enlisted teens may not handle military duty well either.  Just like many teens can't handle the pressures of school.  You don't change schools in response.

r
 

Spencer100

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razorguns said:
we have a huge # of suicides here too.  So it's not that different.  And Russian soldiers are even poorer, have less rights, less benefits and less educated than our soldiers.  Which adds to their depression.

You gotta take in account also, most suicides are by teens - and many enlisted teens may not handle military duty well either.  Just like many teens can't handle the pressures of school.  You don't change schools in response.

r

Any Stats on that?  Are suicides in the CF higher than the general pop?  I think that is a very general statement.  I would think that you need to back that up. 
 

Spencer100

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Oh....looking at the poster do you mean Canadian Forces or the US Forces?  I would think there maybe a difference between two also. 
 

razorguns

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Spencer100 said:
Oh....looking at the poster do you mean Canadian Forces or the US Forces?  I would think there maybe a difference between two also. 

us

r
 

Blackadder1916

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Razorguns,
You do have a valid point.  However, as the stories don't have any stats concerning the Russian Armed Forces other than the number of deaths, it is difficult to compare the incidence of suicide in the US military with the Russians. 

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?alias=us-army-suicides-highest&chanId=sa003&modsrc=reuters
U.S. Army suicides highest since Gulf War 
By Kristin Roberts August 16, 2007 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Failed relationships, including marriages stressed by combat deployments, helped push the number of suicides in the U.S. Army last year to its highest since the Gulf War, the Army said on Thursday.

The Army reported 99 confirmed suicides in 2006, up from 87 in 2005. The Army also listed two additional deaths last year as suspected suicides still pending confirmation.

Army suicides last year hit their highest mark since 1991, the time of the Gulf War, when the biggest branch of the U.S. military recorded 102 soldier suicides.

"The primary reasons for suicides, when we examine the completed suicide, is failed intimate relationships, failed marriages," said Col. Elspeth Ritchie, a psychiatrist and consultant to the Army Surgeon General.

"What we have found is not a direct relationship so far between deployment combat and suicide. However, we do know that frequent deployments put a real strain on relationships, especially on marriages," she said, noting failed relationships are a factor in as many as 80 percent of Army suicides.

"So we believe that part of the increase is related to the increased stress in relationships."

More than 1.5 million U.S. troops have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. The Army has been particularly stressed by multiple and extended deployments.

The suicide data follows a string of studies showing an increase in mental health problems among soldiers and other U.S. troops. According to those studies, including a Pentagon assessment, the military has not provided adequate mental health resources to its service members.

Last year, 30 of the 99 confirmed suicides occurred in war zones -- 27 in Iraq and 3 in Afghanistan. About 62 percent of the soldiers who killed themselves in 2006 had served at least once in Iraq or Afghanistan.

So far this year, 44 soldiers have committed suicide, including 17 in war zones, the Army said.

"This report is heartbreaking, and it's a warning that unless we attack the stigma around mental health care and boost our outreach, we're going to continue to lose even more service members on the battlefront and the home front," said U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington state.

CIVILIAN RATE HIGHER

Viewed in the context of the total population of soldiers, the Army recorded 17.3 suicides per 100,000 soldiers in 2006, including the two deaths still pending confirmation. That is up from 12.8 suicides per 100,000 soldiers in 2005.

But it remains below comparable rates in the general U.S. population, according to Col. Dennis Dingle, head of the Army's human resources policy directorate.

The United States records about 10 to 11 suicides per 100,000 people annually. But when adjusted to match the Army's age and gender characteristics, the suicide rate in the general population rises to 19 to 21 per 100,000.

The Marine Corps, also strained by the wars, said its suicide rate was lower than the Army's -- 12.4 Marines per 100,000 in 2006. The Marines reported 24 suicides in 2006, down from 26 in 2005 and 34 in 2004.
 

razorguns

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no.  But humans ARE the same, and the reasons for suicides in both countries are also similar.  Depression.

No one kills themselves cuz they're too happy :)

r
 

Blackadder1916

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Russian army chief vows to boost officers' pay

19 Oct 2008 12:17:31 GMT  Source: Reuters
 
MOSCOW, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Russian army officers' pay will soar under a modernisation plan, the head of Russia's general staff said about reforms which aim to improve morale and drive out corruption that has undermined the Soviet-style military.

Army general Nikolai Makarov was giving details in media interviews of the country's most radical military reforms yet, which were announced last week and follow Russia's brief war in Georgia in August.

"If we optimise, we can exponentially increase pay, which is very low for officers and contract soldiers serving in our army," Makarov said.

Interfax and Vesti television quoted Makarov as saying on Saturday a lieutenant would earn at least 70,000 roubles per month ($2,700 at current exchange rates) within three years after the number of officers in the army is halved.

Most of Russia's officer corps survives on pay that falls below the national average of about 16,000 roubles per month.

A lieutenant colonel, the deputy commander of a mechanised infantry brigade and a graduate of a top Russian military academy, make less than 15,000 roubles per month.

Poor morale and corruption have sapped the army and the campaign in Georgia in August -- while achieving Russian military goals -- exposed its obsolete weapons, lack of precision missiles and old communications systems.

Russia will have no more than a million men under arms by the end of the three year reform, including 150,000 officers, or half the current number, Makarov said in the interviews.

Analysts say the reform plan, which aims to turn Russia's top-heavy and bloated army into a more compact force that is permanently combat-ready, will face resistance from generals who stand to lose their jobs.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 Russia slashed funding but it kept the structure essentially intact. That has led to units still existing on paper but not being capable of combat.

(Reporting by Melissa Akin and Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Charles Dick)
 

Red 6

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It's hard to read this story and not write something sarcastic....  :warstory:
 

dapaterson

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Blackadder1916 said:
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 Canada slashed funding but it kept the structure essentially intact. That has led to units still existing on paper but not being capable of combat.

That's better...
 

CougarKing

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The rest of you probably won't find this surprising, although I would have thought that Putin would be doing something about this with all the posturing lately with his air and naval forces. (and yes I meant to say Putin, because we all know who's really in charge of over there
:eek: as opposed to Medvedev)

On September 10, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov was scheduled to address the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, to inform the deputies about current military development and various problems.

Serdyukov had to explain why the Russian Army lacked modern weapons during the recent peace enforcement operation in Georgia.

The main elements of the North Caucasian Military District's 58th Army have already been re-deployed to Russia. The bravest officers and men have received government decorations. Those killed in action have been buried. And now it is high time to assess the operation's lessons.

Russian President Dmitry Medve­dev has senior Defense Ministry officials to do this, also telling Serdyukov to submit proposals on amending the state rearmament program. The Rus­sian Army primarily requires combat-support systems, rather than new weaponry, in order to become a genuinely modern and effective fighting force.

Those, who fought in Georgia this August, know that Russian peace-keepers sustained the greatest casualties during the first hours of the Georgian aggression because Moscow and Vladikavkaz, where the 58th Army's headquarters is located, failed to promptly order troops to repel the attack and to send elements of the 58th Army to South Ossetia.

Moreover, Russian forces did not know the firing positions of Georgia's Grad multiple-launch rocket systems, Gvozdika self-propelled guns and T-72 tank units.

Nor did the Russian Army have any dependable reconnaissance systems, including unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs).


Although Russian and foreign UCAVs are regularly displayed at the annual MAKS international aerospace show in Zhukovsky near Moscow, including at the MAKS-2007 show, the Russian Army still lacks them because the national Defense Ministry decided to stop buying them in 2006.

Consequently, the Russians had no choice but to send a Tupolev Tu-22M3 Backfire strategic bomber on a reconnaissance mission and to use Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoot ground-attack jets to hit Georgian MLRS batteries.

The Georgians downed four Rus­sian aircraft, which could have been saved if the Russians had the required UCAVs.

The destruction of three Su-25 attack planes, which had won a reputation for themselves during the 1979-1989 Afghan war, shows that they have not been overhauled since.

The Su-25s still lack radar sights, computers for calculating ground-target coordinates and long-range surface-to-air missiles that could be launched outside enemy air-defense areas.

Nor did they have any "smart" weapons for destroying Georgian artillery pieces and surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems. This is quite surprising, because such weapons have been repeatedly displayed at various exhibitions.

Although some companies are ready to install interchangeable state-of-the-art radio and electronic equipment on the Su-35, the Defense Ministry prefers to deal with (and handsomely pay) its favorite contractors.

These companies were not up to the task, and are responsible for the loss of four aircraft and the capture of two pilots. Several more pilots were killed as a result of their incompetence.


A similar situation holds in the sphere of radio-electronic warfare. It turns out that Russian electronic counter-measures (ECM) systems are unable to jam and suppress enemy SAMs and reconnaissance systems, radars and UHV communications and troop-control networks.

This is rather disturbing, especially as the Georgian Army lacked modern systems. As a result the 58th Army sustained unnecessary casualties, and also lost more combat equipment than it should have.

The Russian tank force has been suffering from major problems for a long time. The North Caucasian Mili­tary District, for instance, still operates T-72 main battle tanks without night sights. But not even the more sophisticated T-80-U and T-90 have such sights, either.

Moreover, their explosive-reactive armor was not filled with explosives and could not therefore deflect high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) weapons.

The Dzerzhinsky Ural Railroad Car Works (Uralvagonzavod), which has developed all post-Soviet and Russian main battle tanks except the T-80, unveiled its Tank Support Combat Vehicle (TSCV) over 20 years ago.

The TSCV featured nine weapons systems, including guided anti-tank missiles, large-caliber machine-guns, SAMs and 30-mm and 40-mm automatic rocket launchers, and was intended to be used against Muja­hedin forces in Afghanistan.

Most importantly, the TSCV had effective target-acquisition systems for detecting and killing enemy soldiers long before they could fire the first shot.

Although the TSCV has passed all state tests with flying colors and has also been displayed at numerous exhibitions, it has not served with the Russian Army to date.

Unlike most advanced foreign armies, including the Israeli Army, Russian tanks are not supported by attack helicopters. There is no regular radio communication between Rus­sian tank, motorized-rifle, helicopter, attack-plane and tactical-bomber units either.

Although experts have been discussing the creation of an integrated combat-control system for many years, such a system remains on the drawing board.

The Russian Army and its commanders have not yet realized that all units and weapons accomplishing a joint objective must become part of an integrated combat-control system.


Russian officers and soldiers have to compensate for the current lag in combat-support systems with their selfless heroism and bravery. But this costs the country and its armed forces dearly.

It is high time we learned modern fighting skills. The system for awarding state defense contracts must also be modified accordingly.

Unfortunately, the Russian Army is unlikely to receive new weapons and combat-support systems after the South Ossetian conflict. Although Russia has once again paid a high price for victory, its generals and politicians often prefer empty talk to candid and sober-minded assessments.

Nikita Petrov



http://www.mnweekly.ru/comment/20080911/55345897.html
 

CougarKing

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I thought they turned into a volunteer military a few years ago? I was obviously wrong.  ???

From Time magazine:

http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1888238,00.html?iid=digg_share

Monday, Mar. 30, 2009 How to Dodge the Draft in Russia

By Marina Kamenev / Moscow

(...)

Dmitri (not his real name) paid $2,500 to be certified with his mental illness three years ago. He is just one of thousands of young Russians who have gotten out of military service (or are trying to) as the country comes up to the April 1 beginning of its biggest peacetime draft in history, one that hopes to enlist 305,000 new soldiers.

Russia considers itself a nation of patriots, but when it comes to defending the motherland, men over the age of 18 aren't quite ready to lay it on the line.
This age cohort was born in 1991, the year Communism collapsed and the Soviet Union became moribund, and may not be as indoctrinated into the old patriotism as previous generations. The year 1991 also had a particularly low birth rate, which makes a huge peacetime draft even more of a challenge. The young men are also entering employment and working age - and families in the middle of Russia's economic crisis, which is sharper than the rest of the world's, may not be so willing to give up their potential breadwinners. (Soldiers are paid a minimal and "symbolic" amount for service to their country, the equivalent of about $10 a month.) Moskovsky Komsomolets, a daily newspaper in the Russian capital, reports that 45,000 Muscovites, out of the 60,000 eligible to be conscripted, are currently trying to avoid military service.

All men between 18 and 27 years of age who meet minimal health requirements must present themselves for compulsory army service. University attendance allows people to be exempted only if the school requires military training in order to graduate. Men who do not serve (and do not have a good reason for being exempted from duty) do not qualify for international passports and related documents issued by the government. It's easy to be caught and summarily sent off to service because government-issued documentation must be carried at all times. "They checked my papers at the metro station in Chisty Prudy," says Alexander (who chose not to give his last name) who was drafted to the navy. "I had waist-length hair. The next day, when I was on the phone to my mother, I was shaved bald and trying to explain to her what was happening, I was with dozens of other boys none of them knew where we were going."

Many people go to the International Movement of Soldiers' Mothers to find out how to prevent their children from getting drafted.

(...)


But there are other ways to get around the law as well. Some people tinker with birth certificates; others pay bribes, though that may not always work. Yuri, who also declined to give his last name, had a family friend who was a colonel. "He signed a medical certificate which says that I am weakened from my childhood meningitis," he says. "It's valid until I turn 27." He didn't have to pay a thing. But he says he knows friends in Moscow that paid $10,000 for similar papers. "Draft-dodging is a national pastime," says Alexander Golts an independent military analyst. "In Russia it's a million-dollar industry." (See 10 things to do in Moscow.)

Boris Titov, a human-rights activist, told radio station Ekho Moskva that young Russians who can afford to should be allowed to pay their way out of service - provided that the money goes towards improving army conditions in Russia, which are notoriously low.

Others, however, point out that may only exacerbate class divisions and affect the quality of the country's soldiery. "The army is already made up of Russia's poor," says Kuznetsova. "With this kind of system, it will be full of alcoholics and invalids."
While her organization advises...
(...)

While her organization advises families how to avoid conscription, Kuznetsova says she wants Russia to have a professional military. "I want the boys to actually learn proper military training, and also to be paid, it should consist of people that want to be there." At present, however, the military is a nightmare zone. The Russian army is infamous for hazing. One horrific incident in 2005 left a 19-year-old without legs or genitals. But countless beatings are believed to go unreported. The New Times, a weekly magazine, reported that 471 people serving in the armed forces died in 2008, half those deaths being suicides. Says Kuznetsova: "The boys there aren't occupied enough with learning the so-called art of war. Hazing happens because a bunch of boys in their prime are piled together and don't know what to do with themselves."

Says Golts: "Already, half the conscripts are not actually healthy enough to serve." Golts worries about the drafts to come. In the next few years, he says, the situation will become worse because of the poor birth rates of the 1990s. "I am not sure what the army will do to maintain the quota."
 
 

Mike Baker

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CougarDaddy said:
I thought they turned into a volunteer military a few years ago? I was obviously wrong.   ???
IIRC, they still used conscription for border guards and other such posts, where they wouldn't be put into a role where they were in combat.
 

Yrys

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Also on Russia military  :

Russian soldier shoots comrades

_45660551_russia_chechnya_grozny_226_0409.gif


A soldier in Russia's southern republic of Chechnya has shot dead three fellow servicemen before
attempting to commit suicide, security officials say. The soldier killed the commander of his
platoon and two others before trying to shoot himself in the head, they added.

The incident took place on Sunday night at a military post near the village of Borzoi in southern
Chechnya.

Separately, a Russian soldier was killed by an explosion while on patrol in central Chechnya on
Sunday.

Russian forces have fought two major campaigns against separatist rebels in the predominantly
Muslim republic since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Last month, Russian President Dmitry
Medvedev said life in Chechnya was returning to normal and that it might be time to end the
security restrictions imposed there.
 

CougarKing

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Seems that all those private military corporations (like the now defunct Executive Outcomes of South Africa, IIRC) which hire former servicemen fron different countries might have another source of skilled recruits to draw from:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/12/world/europe/12russia.html?hp


Russian Military Cuts Leave Soldiers Adrift
Sergei Kivrin for The New York Times
CLIFFORD J. LEVY
Published: June 11, 2009
KUBINKA, Russia — Next to a parking lot here is an orphan of a building that could be mistaken for a large toolshed. It was once used as a flophouse by transient workers who put up nearby apartments, but was then deemed by health inspectors to be unfit for humans. Mold coats the walls like graffiti, ceilings are crumpling and rats skulk about.

The dismal condition of the assigned housing for the officers is a telling sign of the state of the armed forces nearly two decades after the Soviet Union’s fall. And now, the officers are facing what they view as a final humiliation: they are to be discharged in the coming months as part of the most significant military overhaul in generations.

The Kremlin wants to revamp a top-heavy institution by sharply cutting the number of officers and carrying out a long overdue transition from a cumbersome military machine designed for a land war in Europe to a lithe force that would handle regional wars and terrorism.

Though praised by military analysts, the plan seems likely to create a corps of tens of thousands of disgruntled former officers who are entering an economy suffering from the financial crisis.

With Russia’s economy strong in the years before the crisis, the Kremlin tried to improve the military by increasing spending on equipment and training. But senior officials acknowledge that the war in Georgia last August exposed severe deficiencies, despite Russia’s easy victory.

The armed forces have 1.1 million people now, including 360,000 officers, and the plan is to cut the officer corps to 150,000, officials said. The reductions, first announced last year, have stirred sporadic demonstrations by officers, and some longtime generals have resigned in protest or been pushed out.

Officers who served in East Germany or fought in Afghanistan in the last days of the Soviet empire, who waged Russia’s ferocious campaign to suppress a Muslim insurgency in Chechnya — no matter, they are being let go.


And the men here in Kubinka said they were convinced that the government, which had already let them down by housing them in the shed, would completely abandon them by refusing them the benefits that they deserved.

“Everyone is very upset,” said Col. Yevgeny S. Ugolnikov, 49, an aviation engineer who joined the military in 1983. “There are no prospects for our futures. We have no apartment, no possibility of finding a job. How are we going to get by? It’s totally impossible to know.”

His neighbor, Col. Oleg G. Malgin, 46, said, “Everyone feels that way in our generation of officers.”

The defense minister, Anatoly E. Serdyukov, has become a particular target of officers’ ire across the country, in part because he once ran a furniture company and has little military background. Officers in Kubinka, 40 miles outside Moscow, referred to him as the “stool salesman.”

Some of the officers conceded that the military overhaul had merits because Russia must contend with threats far different from what the Soviet Union faced.

Yet they said their housing situation, which their superiors had repeatedly promised to remedy, showed that the military could not be trusted.

They said they had been forced to spend their own money to make the place barely habitable. Each family has two small rooms, with showers and other facilities shared.

The officers, who are assigned to an air force base in Kubinka, said they were no longer reluctant to speak out, despite military restrictions on going public with their problems. They said they suspected that the only way they would receive proper benefits would be to pay bribes. Corruption is widespread in Russia, and the military is considered to be especially afflicted.

Salaries in the Russian military have long been low — some of the officers here said they were paid $600 a month — but one perquisite that seemed to compensate for the pay was a rule that long-serving officers received a proper apartment when discharged.

Col. Anatoly N. Zhuravlyov, 46, a tenant in the building until recently, said his superiors told him that he would get an apartment only if he paid a kickback of $18,500.

“It’s like this: an officer, some stooge, approaches you and whispers in your ear, ‘Do you want to get an apartment? O.K., just pay a certain amount of money and you’ll get it,’ ” Colonel Zhuravlyov said.

Colonel Zhuravlyov said he had sent evidence to prosecutors proving that apartments were being kept empty so that bribes could be collected, to no avail. Now on disability because of hypertension, he said he finally received an apartment recently only because the military wanted him to stop complaining.

Military officials and prosecutors did not respond to written questions about the housing in Kubinka or military reform. In April, Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin said the overhaul was clearly necessary, though he emphasized that the government would abide by its obligations to officers.

“Everywhere in the world there is a triangle: at the bottom are soldiers and junior officers, and higher up the pyramid there are fewer positions, generals, admirals, etc.,” Mr. Putin said. “In this country it is an inverted pyramid. At the lower level, those who fight and make critical decisions on the battlefield, there are not enough people, and the top is overcrowded.”

Military analysts said the government was taking no chances about the possibility of a backlash. They said it was sparing an elite division, the airborne troops, from reductions in order to have a loyal group of soldiers.

“These reductions could create a lot of social instability,” said Pavel Y. Felgenhauer, a military analyst who writes a column for Novaya Gazeta, an opposition newspaper. “They are making a pragmatic move to single out the airborne as a Praetorian Guard, to have no serious discharges there. They then can have those troops put down any resistance from inside.”


Most of the officers in Kubinka dismissed talk of revolts, saying that they wanted only a proper discharge and to move on. Still, some of the officers and their wives said they would never forget the shock of being transferred here and ending up in a shack next to a parking lot.

“For two weeks, I cried when we arrived,” said Nina V. Solyakova, 54, Colonel Solyakov’s wife. “And here we have lived, without any help from them, without anything. Can you imagine it?”
 

blacktriangle

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Well I think now would be a perfect time to buy up some Eastern Bloc hardware from some bitter Snr Officers...Akula SSN's anyone?
 

George Wallace

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popnfresh said:
Well I think now would be a perfect time to buy up some Eastern Bloc hardware from some bitter Snr Officers...Akula SSN's anyone?

You do have quite the imagination.  >:D
 

Yrys

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Russian Military Cuts Leave Soldiers Adrift

12russia.xlarge2.jpg

Col. Oleg G. Malgin and other Russian officers are housed in a former flophouse near Moscow.

KUBINKA, Russia — Next to a parking lot here is an orphan of a building that could be mistaken
for a large toolshed. It was once used as a flophouse by transient workers who put up nearby
apartments, but was then deemed by health inspectors to be unfit for humans. Mold coats the
walls like graffiti, ceilings are crumpling and rats skulk about. Yet for the last seven years, the
building has been home to several high-ranking Russian Air Force officers, their wives and their
children. “In truth,” said one of them, Col. Vyacheslav V. Solyakov, “the military has turned us
into vagrants.”

The dismal condition of the assigned housing for the officers is a telling sign of the state of the
armed forces nearly two decades after the Soviet Union’s fall. And now, the officers are facing
what they view as a final humiliation: they are to be discharged in the coming months as part
of the most significant military overhaul in generations. The Kremlin wants to revamp a top-
heavy institution by sharply cutting the number of officers and carrying out a long overdue
transition from a cumbersome military machine designed for a land war in Europe to a lithe
force that would handle regional wars and terrorism.

Though praised by military analysts, the plan seems likely to create a corps of tens of thousands
of disgruntled former officers who are entering an economy suffering from the financial crisis. With
Russia’s economy strong in the years before the crisis, the Kremlin tried to improve the military by
increasing spending on equipment and training. But senior officials acknowledge that the war in
Georgia last August exposed severe deficiencies, despite Russia’s easy victory.

The armed forces have 1.1 million people now, including 360,000 officers, and the plan is to cut
the officer corps to 150,000, officials said. The reductions, first announced last year, have stirred
sporadic demonstrations by officers, and some longtime generals have resigned in protest or been
pushed out. Officers who served in East Germany or fought in Afghanistan in the last days of the
Soviet empire, who waged Russia’s ferocious campaign to suppress a Muslim insurgency in Chechnya
— no matter, they are being let go.

And the men here in Kubinka said they were convinced that the government, which had already let
them down by housing them in the shed, would completely abandon them by refusing them the benefits
that they deserved. “Everyone is very upset,” said Col. Yevgeny S. Ugolnikov, 49, an aviation engineer
who joined the military in 1983. “There are no prospects for our futures. We have no apartment, no
possibility of finding a job. How are we going to get by? It’s totally impossible to know.” His neighbor,
Col. Oleg G. Malgin, 46, said, “Everyone feels that way in our generation of officers.”

The defense minister, Anatoly E. Serdyukov, has become a particular target of officers’ ire across the
country, in part because he once ran a furniture company and has little military background. Officers
in Kubinka, 40 miles outside Moscow, referred to him as the “stool salesman.” Some of the officers
conceded that the military overhaul had merits because Russia must contend with threats far different
from what the Soviet Union faced. Yet they said their housing situation, which their superiors had
repeatedly promised to remedy, showed that the military could not be trusted. They said they had
been forced to spend their own money to make the place barely habitable. Each family has two small
rooms, with showers and other facilities shared.

The officers, who are assigned to an air force base in Kubinka, said they were no longer reluctant to
speak out, despite military restrictions on going public with their problems. They said they suspected
that the only way they would receive proper benefits would be to pay bribes. Corruption is widespread
in Russia, and the military is considered to be especially afflicted.

Salaries in the Russian military have long been low — some of the officers here said they were paid
$600 a month — but one perquisite that seemed to compensate for the pay was a rule that long-serving
officers received a proper apartment when discharged. Col. Anatoly N. Zhuravlyov, 46, a tenant in the
building until recently, said his superiors told him that he would get an apartment only if he paid a
kickback of $18,500. “It’s like this: an officer, some stooge, approaches you and whispers in your ear,
‘Do you want to get an apartment? O.K., just pay a certain amount of money and you’ll get it,’ ”
Colonel Zhuravlyov said.

Colonel Zhuravlyov said he had sent evidence to prosecutors proving that apartments were being kept
empty so that bribes could be collected, to no avail. Now on disability because of hypertension, he said
he finally received an apartment recently only because the military wanted him to stop complaining.
Military officials and prosecutors did not respond to written questions about the housing in Kubinka or
military reform. In April, Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin said the overhaul was clearly necessary,
though he emphasized that the government would abide by its obligations to officers.

“Everywhere in the world there is a triangle: at the bottom are soldiers and junior officers, and higher
up the pyramid there are fewer positions, generals, admirals, etc.,” Mr. Putin said. “In this country it
is an inverted pyramid. At the lower level, those who fight and make critical decisions on the battlefield,
there are not enough people, and the top is overcrowded.”

Military analysts said the government was taking no chances about the possibility of a backlash. They said
it was sparing an elite division, the airborne troops, from reductions in order to have a loyal group of
soldiers. “These reductions could create a lot of social instability,” said Pavel Y. Felgenhauer, a military
analyst who writes a column for Novaya Gazeta, an opposition newspaper. “They are making a pragmatic
move to single out the airborne as a Praetorian Guard, to have no serious discharges there. They then can
have those troops put down any resistance from inside.”

Most of the officers in Kubinka dismissed talk of revolts, saying that they wanted only a proper discharge
and to move on. Still, some of the officers and their wives said they would never forget the shock of being
transferred here and ending up in a shack next to a parking lot. “For two weeks, I cried when we arrived,”
said Nina V. Solyakova, 54, Colonel Solyakov’s wife. “And here we have lived, without any help from them,
without anything. Can you imagine it?”
 
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