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Мichael Delyagin: What Does Russia Need Army For?

Мichael Delyagin: What Does Russia Need Army For?
Anna Ivanova 10.08.2009

Exactly a year ago the Russian army won in "five-day war" with Georgia. Estimations of that war and especially its reasons and consequences will for a long time be polar, depending on a mood of this or that expert. However in the light of the first anniversary of new "victory day" (like power, like victories), it is important to talk also about army-winner. We tried to interrogate known political scientist, Doctor of Economics, director of Institute of Problems of Globalization Michael Delyagin.

- Anniversary of war in South Ossetia, - Michael Gennadevich said, - visually shown (despite of final success) absence of fighting ability of the Russian army, threat of a new attack from the part of Georgia, new murders of recruits in military units and, at last, shameful failure of being hysterically advertized "Bulava" draw attention to army problems. Thus the basic attention is given to various private questions which are simply senseless till decision of a key problem of the Russian army - absence of the real military doctrine - will be made.

- If there's no doctrine in general or there's one but unreal?

- The Russian military men till now have no answer to main questions of any army:

1. Who is the potential opponent? Whom the army should protect the Native land from?

2. What exactly the army should protect? Who is its ally - in particular, whether Kazakhstan (and other states of Central Asia entering CSTO) and Belarus are military allies of Russia? It is clear that defense inside the borders including Belarus and Kazakhstan and also their resources (including a part of the Soviet defensive infrastructure) qualitatively differs from defense only inside the borders and with resources of the modern Russia. These two variants demand different approaches.

3. What military operations the army should be ready to? The army of the USA, for example, according to the old military doctrine, should provide simultaneously strategic nuclear restraint and waging of two local wars. The Russian army has no such requirements and consequently already two decades is in the state of uncertainty.

4. What resources are necessary to the army? Roughly speaking now huge means are still spent for maintenance of army stocks in abandoned condition. Whether we need tanks for a capture of Berlin? Whether we need obviously out-of-date types of arms (like Т-55 which are written off even by Georgia but were brought into South Ossetia during war) - especially in situation when we simply don't have modern ones?

- What is necessary to answer to it? No, no and no?

- Real answers to these questions will hardly meet the requirements of "tolerance" and "political correctness", however without them not only successful military building but also preservation of defensibility of the country on minimum level is simply impossible. Aggravation of destruction of military-industrial complex of Russia (which, it seems, lost ability to produce a number of even old planes and tanks, not mentioning the ships), decomposition of officership (retirement of officers explaining as the reason "I cannot steal as it is required" became almost a norm) and definitive transformation of army from the defender of Fatherland into concentration camp for unlucky youth is inevitable.

- Whether Minister of Defense knows the answer?

- Well, there are fears that management of Ministry of Defense, it seems, found out the answer to a question about the aim of existence of armed forces. Its actions create sensation that the army is considered by the Russian bureaucracy mainly as object of "optimisation of financial streams". It is enough to glance at military education sphere. Yes, it was focused on old, still Soviet tasks and in this respect, apparently, was superfluously powerful. However its prompt liquidation causes chilly sensation of fear for the future. In a course of Serdyukov's army reform the army is already destroyed.

Academy of Chemical Defense, Engineering Academy named after Kuibyshev, Malinovsky Military Academy of Armored Forces. When it's impossible to abolish the academy itself because of resistance of military men, Minister of Defense reduces extremely entrance into it: thus, in 2009 entrance into Air Force Engineering Academy named after Zhukovsky and into Military Academy RVSN named after Peter the Great, as it could be understood, is reduced up to 32 people. At that there will be no cadets - only retraining of officers.

- What is the aim of these actions? Is it work on the part of the probable opponent which is not even mentioned in the military doctrine?

- The real aim of abolishing of military academies is, most likely, vacation of expensive real estate in the centre of Moscow. This vacation proceeds despite of redundancy of commercial real estate appeared as a result of crisis and deep crisis of this part of the market. Absence of experts for maintenance of difficult systems of weapon (the same intercontinental ballistic missiles) even before these systems will fail out because of natural physical deterioration will be a consequence of destruction of significant segments of system of higher military education. Thus, liquidation of military academies without any SNF-3 contracts provides advancing and, the most important, complex disarmament of Russia - certainly, unilateral.

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