Rus Articles Journal

Service in the Russian army: protection of the homeland or draft chimera?

At the moment one of the most painful questions of the Russian public life are the continuing existence of a compulsory military service. Numerous statements for transition to professional character of troops and remained statements.

Supporters of a general compulsory military service refer to the objective, in their opinion, reasons: historical and economic. Mass character of military service is characteristic of Russia allegedly from time immemorial.

It is economically specified that professionalizing of troops is absolutely impossible from - for unavailabilities of economy and scarcity of the budget. Let`s try to look as far as it is true.

For thousand-year history of the Russian state, armed forces were its integral institute. Since the time of the Kiev princes the basis them was made by the professional teams including a team “senior“ and “younger“. Combatants carried out very broad functions except military, participating in taxation, maintenance of an order and management.

The service in a team was honourable. It was formed quite often of representatives of noble families, but, at the same time, the way to it was opened also for natives of the lower class. Combatants were friends (“druga“) of the prince and were connected with him personal contracts. The combatant was free in the choice of a syuzeren and at any time, except war, could or leave to other prince, or replace a profile of the activity. Teams of many princes were considerable and reached several honeycombs or thousands of people.

Except teams in Ancient Russia there was a national militia convoked in case of need according to the solution of “veche“ - people`s assembly. Quite often princes also attracted on service of nomads. Thus, during the early feudal period we cannot see in Ancient Russia of other motives of revenues to service or participations in military operations, except personal desire or conscious need.

Compulsory attraction on service existed in the period of the Mongolian yoke when the Russian teams were forced to participate in campaigns of the Horde khans.

In the period of the Moscow state it is also not looked through compulsory character of military service. Armed forces of this period were formed by several principles.

The basis them was made by noble local army. Receiving lands with peasants on the terms of service, noblemen were obliged to act “konno, is crowded and oruzhno“ according to the first requirement, giving with itself group of peasants - “fighting lackeys“. The peasant had a choice: to enter in “fighting lackeys“, to pass other owner to lands, or to bear “ň˙ăëî“ - to pay taxes.

At Ivan the Terrible streletsky regiments are formed. Sagittariuses earned a small salary and had the right to do in the spare time craft and trade, without paying taxes. In Sagittariuses persons interested from various segments of the population were taken and, often, there it was very difficult to get.

There was a group of sluzhily people “on the device“. Their situation was similar to Sagittariuses. Sluzhily people “on the device“ were the volunteers wishing to serve at a small salary and their tax exemption torgovo - craft activity.

The service on borders and in the cities (sluzhily people of “zasechny“ towns, gunners, collars, policemen Cossacks etc.) was their main function . Quite often on service to the Moscow state also groups of foreigners were attracted. In the 17th century regular regiments begin to be formed: soldier`s, reytarsky and dragoon. For the volunteers serving in them the military science was a major activity with payment of a salary.

Traditionally on service the Cossack groups for which “the monarchic salary“ was important incentive, especially bread and gunpowder were attracted.

Thus, up to Peter I, the Russian armed forces were under construction on voluntary basis . Conditions made a reservation “row“ - the contract of both parties.

In the 17th century the total number of troops reached 200 thousand people at the maximum population in 10 - 12 million, i.e. 2% of all population. At the same time the treasury bore though heavy, but feasible expenses, shifting the main weight to shoulders of the “tyagly“ population.

Military reform of Peter I which value is strongly exaggerated made changes to an order of formation of troops. Actually, during the pre-Pertine period, armed forces began gradual evolution towards professionalism. However the Petrovsky interest in the western loans led to introduction in Russia of strongly changed Swedish model.

Having laid the recruitment foundation, Peter I more than for one and a half centuries defined process of troops. The Rekrutsky system turned into a duty, hated and burdensome for the people. The period of carrying out recruitments was considered as heavy disaster. To the recruit said goodbye, as to the dead man.

The recruitment reached the apogee in government of Nicholas I who got Nikolay`s nickname “Palkin“. At this time in army died of diseases and a beating about 40% of all soldiers who came to the office that many times over exceeded all fighting losses. The total lawlessness of soldiers attracted attention and cultural figures. Let`s remember the story “After a Ball“ of Lev Tolstoy. The Crimean accident personally showed all ephemerality of the military vehicle created by Nicholas I.

The tsar - “liberator“ Alexander II who cancelled a serfdom within two decades did not decide on carrying out military reform, such is there was force of inertia and resistance of a military top. The Minister of War Dmitry Milyutin when carrying out reform leaned besides on the western samples.

It took as a basis model of the mass army which arose during Napoleonic wars and took the most finished form in Prussia. Its sense consisted in reduction of service life with the purpose to increase the number of a stock and to reduce the number of troops in a peace time. To World War I the number of troops made 1 million 100 thousand people at a considerable share of Cossacks.

After revolution Bolsheviks tried to construct Red Army on a voluntary basis, but in 1918 refused this invention. However finally RKKA accepts mass character only on a threshold of World War II.

In general, the system of mass armies, perhaps, was justified within the 20th century, in connection with two world wars. However in connection with development of arms of new generation to 1960 - m to years its need is called into question. There are armies which are completely constructed on a professional basis.

The Soviet Army by the end 1980 - x totaled years more than 1 million officers and ensigns in the structure, and in the most high-technical types of military forces they exceeded the number of soldiers. It was quite enough for formation of professional frame of armed forces.

The analysis of a modern situation shows the following picture. According to the plan only the small part from total number of youth of military age is subject to an appeal. Thus, the statement about a role of troops by preparation of a stock is not confirmed by practice.

Total number of troops fluctuates within 1 million people that is comparable to the number of militia or private security guards. Considering that the total number of law enforcement agencies surpasses number actually of troops, the statement about impossibility to economically contain professional armed forces also does not find confirmation.

In this case it is about the consciousness rudiment characteristic of part of the military elite which is not realizing the value of human life in general and soldier`s in particular. Relative “low cost“ of mass army in the Russian Federation is possible only at the existing lawlessness of the person when the value of soldier`s life is brought to naught. At change of the attitude towards the person, awareness of uniqueness of the personality and value of life professionalizing of troops will be incomparably more acceptable.