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Army of Vagabonds

Army of Vagabonds
Victor Bulavintsev 23.05.2008

Primorski Krai - is a militarized territory. After the frontier conflict with the People's Republic of China on Damansky island the territory was turned into powerful fortified region: here you could find air defence, assault and strategic assignment aviation, Pacific military fleet with rocket - nuclear potential, intelligence - communication and infantry - tsarina of the fields as well as armoured formations, everything was present here. Even air assault units of special assignment of Joint Staff of GRU, Landing Forces and sea infantry of Pacific Fleet were present - not including both sea and overland frontier guards and internal security troops.

A part of those mighty forces of once great Power was barbarically flaked - out by reforms of times of "revelry of democracy" - that is it was simply liquidated: units were reduced or disembodied, unique technical equipment was taken away on spare parts and sold out as bar, garrisons were destroyed, air stations went crack and become overgrown with a tall weeds. But the part nevertheless remained - let it be in reduced and zipped kind but if there would be war tomorrow, if we would go tomorrow afoot, perhaps, they would fit for something ...

Frankly speaking - only for the digging of entrenchments if in conditions of new serious war entrenchments will be necessary in general for something to somebody. As the staff gathered for urgent service is completely of not former quality: here you can find former convicts and people without secondary education, far from sports but with harmful habits up to alcohol-drinking and drug dope, cases of dystrophia with deficiency of weight are frequent.

Well a quality of combat training of this staff matches: officers are occupied not with service but with struggle for a survival, including any fine "business" and other types of "extra earnings". Those who on inertia of the last years are ready to continue to serve, train and bring up soldiers and sailors, find themselves in position of "outsiders" who "need more than others", who interfere "with living normally" to other in conditions of capitalism. You will think, regiment's commanding officer sent somebody on the neighbouring field of farmer - Korean to dig potato - so, well, is that the reason to write official reports? Affair is necessary, mutually advantageous: to fighters - entertainment, warm-up and plenty of baked potato, to the farmer - cheap working force in a harvest season, commander - is pleased. Is there nobody to soldier? Whom needs it in general, this service?

One of the military units deployed in the area of village Sergeevka of Pogranichny area of Primorski Krai became last year the talk of the town in press and object of steadfast attention of senior command. But not for a long time: check ups passed, orders were given, announced and shelved, the life went in due course. Problems remained, despite of their uniqueness and typicalness simultaneously.

The problem because of which the unit got into press looked really unique: local knackers levied tributes not only on contract soldiers of that unit, but also on their commanders, ensigns and officers! In neighbouring villages - jerker, drugs and unemployment, while they here, you know, get fat, and receive cash twice a month - what about a gang with its "cash common fund"? A large army unit appeared powerless before a group of knackers - because that the leaders of those knackers had friendship with fathers - commanders. Again - mutually advantageous friendship, obviously.

However covering this "fried" situation, the press overlooked the main thing - the reasons because of which such absurdness became possible. The main reason is simple: the status of officers, their lawlessness and hopelessness. This reason is just typical for a set of units in all arms of the service of Armed forces. The officer is dependent on the commander, a significant part of his monetary contentment - extra charges for complexity and intense conditions of carrying out of duty, bonus and lumpsum monetary compensation (equivalent of former "thirteenth salary") entirely depend on the commander - there is no reason to say something against or wash dirty linen on public. The most important - habitation in the chosen place after retire from military service.

This habitation though being obligatory under the law, actually are given hardly to everyone as there is its suffice. Then the officer retired from Armed forces or ensign becomes typical vagabond - all his "hardball" pension goes on payment of rented apartment, he does not have registration (which is cancelled in words long time ago and in practice it still makes lives of millions people difficult!), he will not get normal work, there could also arise problems with pension. Majors - colonels in roles of simple security guards, drivers or simply loaders in shops are not rare. Those who have fighting experience and skills - welcome to criminal path, that's also not a rarity.

Example of lieutenant colonel Sergey Smirnov from that same unit in village Sergeevka is more than evident: thirty calendar years of service, the son - young officer, the continuer of a dynasty, wife - contract soldier. And the result of his long-term service: service flat in garrison, physical inability, stenocardia and diabetes, retiring either on achievement of age limit, or on physical inability, in both cases - without habitation!

What should lieutenant colonel Smirnov do in a village where there is no work and the flat is service one? You are right, leave everything and move to the central areas of Russia where he is going, to Voronezh. But where could he live there, where could he get registration to receive pension and medical insurance, let alone work, study of the younger son, employment of the spouse?

The lieutenant colonel tried to receive habitation obligatory to him under law through court - failed! Half-dozen of official reports and packages of documents are not yet the basis for registration as the one who needs habitation. State housing certificate - fig leaf which the state uses to cover the shame before military men - in this case it's useless. His money's worth at present prices for real estate will not be enough even to buy a doghouse in any regional center of Russia, while there are the same problems with work as in Seergeevka in regional centers and villages - what is the sense then to move?

The president and the government of the Russian Federation, Ministry of Defence, deputies of the State Duma - all of them know about these problems. They try to solve them for many years - in words. While in practice - they enact laws and bills allowing actually to dismiss military men without habitation, by so-called "transfer at disposal of the commander" when retired military man has neither post, nor certain duties and is compelled uncertain quantity of years to sit in the unit pending a miracle. Thus to receive pure salary without any extra charges and without opportunity of extra earnings on the side - there is a risk that commander will learn something and will deprive of what he has?

Ministry of Defence has a lot of property, a lot of means, a lot of private residences of generals - admirals (in each regional city there is own "Rublevka"), there is enough money in the budget of the state but there are no money for those who a quarter of a century has serviced and has not acquired anything - as he served instead of stealing and hasn't sold "slaves" from the entrusted staff. One more time minister will come to Primorski Krai, one more time he will be shown that all's well, as the service is organized and as household is adjusted - and nobody will notice again officers - vagabonds. Who under such circumstances will master tomorrow a trade of the defender of Native land - that is the question they should reflect on at last.
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