The soul of the army can and must develop

The soul of the army can and must develop
The soul of the army can and must develop

Without spiritual renewal, the armed forces will not acquire a new look


The Russian army was traditionally famous for its high morale, military art, and patriotism. Russian commanders have always believed that the main strength of the army is in the people themselves. Developing their personality, they created a victorious army, spiritually strong, believing in God, capable of "doing great things" with small forces.

The authors of this article have already presented a "historical perspective" on a number of key moments of modern military reform. It was about the fact that the new Russian armed force must be built taking into account the "old precepts", "not on sand - on stone", on a solid historical foundation. Our point of view on the Officer's Code of Honor was presented. Now let's consider the next most important issue - the spiritual strengthening of the troops.


The Russian army has never been a soulless machine. It has always been a living organism, the soul of which has been forming for centuries. Russian military writers have emphasized a thousand times that "the rooting of the military spirit in the armies at all times has been recognized as the main task of the military system", "the proper education of soldiers is the cornerstone of the entire huge, powerful military organism." While emigrating, Colonel Nikolai Kolesnikov, developing a “strategy of the spirit,” wrote: “People are appropriating millions of pounds sterling, dollars, francs. They build cannons, submarine cruisers, armies of the air fleet, tanks, which are fortresses. But they forget to allocate for the most important thing - for the education of the soul of those who stand by these guns, who drive submarines, who are hidden behind the armor plates of tanks and who, without this education, will turn against them both tanks and guns, and all the power of weapons.

Until this truth, more than once confirmed in history, we do not heed. In the course of achieving a new, promising appearance of the Armed Forces, it was as if the soul of the army was forgotten.

Meanwhile, it is a meaningful spiritual reform that should become the most important direction in the creation of a new Russian army. It is unacceptable and dangerous to postpone it. To this end, part of the appropriations for defense should be directed to the moral, mental and cultural elevation of troops (personnel), to the revival of the spirit and soul of the Armed Forces. This requires incomparably less funds than military equipment. True, you need to make the most of your efforts and intelligence.

Many reasons motivate us to look at the spiritual side of military development. First of all - indications of history, behests and advice of outstanding statesmen and military leaders of the Fatherland. It was obvious to them that Russia survives, lives, fights, and wins thanks to its spirituality, culture, steadfastness, and honest loyalty. That without the development of personality and the cult of spiritual values, the country does not have a full-fledged existence, a national face, a sovereign future.

For centuries, simple but important axioms of Russian military affairs have been affirmed: military power is the totality of not only material, but also spiritual forces; in a healthy army, "morality" and "technology" are twofold - without creativity (the manifestation of the spirit) there are no material achievements, which in turn determine moral superiority, and with it victories; in military affairs, as in everything else, spirit moves matter (mens agitat molem), prevails over it. This is what the Russian army was famous for - “the Christ-loving Russian army”.The education of the warrior was considered the most important "department" of national defense, and the spiritual and moral revival of the army was supposed to be the most important of the military reforms.

In the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, the Russian army gained victory for Russia for victory, did not lose heart in case of failures, possessed a distinctive military art, was the best in the world. Its commanders led troops into battle, armed with the "science of victory" based on faith in God, love for the Fatherland and military affairs, dignity, honor, and other military virtues.

Kutuzov wrote with pride at the end of 1812: “There is no higher honor than wearing a Russian uniform. I am happy leading the Russians! But what commander did not defeat the enemies, like me, with this courageous people! Thank God that you are Russians, you are proud of this advantage …”The same courageous firmness of the Russian soldier, multiplied by the art of war, saved the country in the Great Patriotic War. Let us remember this.

But we must not forget about the sad examples. When the spirit of the Russian army was belittled and extinguished, it came to defeats, unsuccessful or bloody campaigns, state collapses. The Crimean War (1853-1856), the Russo-Japanese and the First World Wars, the catastrophes of 1917 and 1941, the Civil War, the collapse of the Soviet Union (historical Russia) in 1991 are examples of this. The tsarist and Soviet armies, and together with them the regimes, empires perished because the rulers and elites were losing their fortitude, there was no creative intuition … "The extinguished spirit avenged itself, avenged Rumyantsev, avenged Suvorov," noted military historian Anton Kersnovsky …

In the conditions of the weakening of Russia, in the era of wars of the "sixth generation", "insurgencies", information wars and wars for resources, one cannot rely on the salvific role of mass mobilizations of the people, on "geographical armor", on the "strategy of starvation", on nuclear deterrence, on peacefulness neighbors. These factors need to be considered and used. But you can really rely only on "brave hearts", on people who are ready and able to sacrificially defend the Fatherland. And it also prompts us to seriously and urgently tackle the organization of the spirit of the army.

Alas, the degradation of society, especially during the "wild capitalism" of the 90s, pseudo-reforms, endless humiliation of officers did not for the better influenced the military man's desire to serve the Fatherland honestly, consciously, and with initiative. They forced him to adapt, to get out, to look for benefits. All this is disastrous for the one who follows the military path, mortally dangerous for the army and the country.

The current transformations of the Armed Forces are already very significant. But at the same time, the situation in the spiritual sphere is extremely alarming. In the minds of servicemen there are still no reliable worldview, ideological, moral guidelines and clear ideals. Instead of the Marxist-Leninist doctrine, no modern doctrine has been developed about war and the army, the defense of the Fatherland. The old system has almost been destroyed and a new system of military education has not been created. Under the influence of the “market” environment, traditional spiritual values ​​and national consciousness have been largely supplanted by consumerism and pragmatism, turning into overt cynicism.

All this can eventually blow up the situation in the Armed Forces, nullify positive innovations. This cannot be allowed. It's time to listen to common sense, to the precepts of the classics. Since the time of Suvorov, his denunciation of the "evil-minded" military system of Paul I, they have continuously been impressed: "Do not quench the Spirit!" This is death for the army, dangerous for the Fatherland. Equip the troops with new technology, new weapons, modernize their organization, but above all improve the spirit, military virtues, elevate man - the decisive factor in war and military affairs. This is the guarantee of the quality of the army, its combat value and technical excellence.



An army without national consciousness is not an army, not a "shield and sword of the country."National consciousness is the basis of the spirit and soul of the army, its worldview, understanding of the situation and its actions. Belief in God and Russia, the idea of ​​selfless defense of the Fatherland (service), historical memory, respect for the past and culture of the country, traditional spiritual values, national interests and needs should be systematically rooted in it; domestic studies (knowledge-understanding of Russia, its state and military forces); ideology - cherished, patriotic, moral, human, cognitive, informational (not political, not party, not consumer, not propaganda); national security strategy; Russian geopolitics; the doctrine of war and the army (both cherished and modern); "The science of winning" as a spiritual martial art; creative military thought as the basis for the progressive development of the army; national military doctrine, which is the "daughter of history"; the ideal of the army as the healthiest and most united institution of society, the school of honor, "the central citadel of the nation"; military spirit (military consciousness, "military energy", moral and combat qualities).

Without such an integral military-national consciousness, there can be no modern and reliable army. Consciousness of the specified type must be developed, collected together, brought into a system (into an integral). The task is difficult, but it is facilitated by the fact that historically significant work has already been done. The main ideas are outlined, the ideals are outlined. They need to be synthesized only by supplementing them with modern knowledge and ideas.

The most important - Suvorov's primary source - should be taken as a starting point. In particular, the ideological attitudes of the "Russian Army of the Victorious": "The Lord Patron is vigilant over Russia. We are Russians, God is with us. I am proud that I am a Russian … My honor is dearer to me than anything else. A good name is the property of every honest person. But I concluded my good name in the glory of the Fatherland, and all my deeds tended towards its prosperity. I forgot myself where it was necessary to think about the common benefits … I am not a mercenary, but a native. I, God save me, never against the Fatherland … Russia fed on my service, it will feed on yours …"

On this patriotic basis, other spiritual traits of a military man are also formed, which Suvorov formulated poetically in his letters of instruction (we reduce it to a small fragment): “Read diligently Eugene, Turenne, Caesar's and Frederick II's notes … Languages ​​are useful for literature. Learn a little dancing, horse riding and swordsmanship … Be frank with your friends, moderate in your needs and selfless in demeanor. Show sincere zeal for the service, love true glory. Train your subordinates carefully and set an example for them in everything. Be patient in the labors of the military and do not be discouraged by failure. Do not despise the enemy, whatever he may be. Try to know his weapon and the way it acts and fights; know what he is strong and what weak …"

"Education of the spirit" is the most important element in the formation of the military-national consciousness. Today, as, indeed, 200 years ago, among the Russian army, the following military virtues (properties of the military spirit) should first of all be developed: morality, patriotism, service, dedication to military affairs, love for the army and its unit, dignity and honor, knowledge of national history, adherence to the best military traditions, striving for victories, conscientious discipline, military comradeship, a complex of moral and combat qualities.

Methods and methods of education, basically, also do not require special updating. We must return to the “fatherly” upbringing cultivated since the times of Peter the Great and Suvorov. Indeed, to form the necessary qualities, and not to imitate activities, not to gossip.To educate not only and not so much by word, but above all by deed (in the process of education, combat training, service - by the very exemplary military way of life, order), by the personal example of the chief, by implanting a culture of relations, by creating a favorable environment. Respecting the personality of the educated person, rely on the positive properties of his character, not on fear, but on conscience. Reward more than punish.

And one should abandon the lazy delusion that it is too late to educate adults who come to the army. The army is a school of character education for life and military victories. And every reflective person forms himself, develops his creative powers all his life.

Nobody hinders us from living, serving and fighting according to Peter's and Suvorov's behests, creatively applying them to modern reality. As well as in general to use the richest spiritual heritage of the Russian army.

NOW Fighting … IN MIND

Social progress is increasingly determined by mental labor, the volume and quality of information, technology, innovation. Moreover, this applies to the army. It is largely becoming a mental force using not only military, but also non-military means of struggle. Although it has always required not only strength, valor, but also art, skill, creativity, thought.

Even at the end of the 19th century, Dostoevsky advocated the development of "his own science, independent," and not subscribed from abroad. Especially in the army, where advanced creative people and “brains” are required, not just a sword, but a mind: “People, people are the most important thing. People are even dearer than money … Take again the fact that nowadays they are fighting not so much with weapons as with their minds."

This is even more relevant today, when the most important operations are carried out on information and psychological fronts. By now, the "war" has confidently passed from land, sea and air into the fourth dimension - the spiritual. This was noted in the 50s of the twentieth century by the outstanding analyst of the Russian diaspora Evgeny Messner. Today confrontation takes the form of information and network-centric wars.

All these changes require a serious mental development of the armed force, high-quality military education, the cultivation of military thought, the selection and training of genuine military professionals ("good, learned and skilled").

And in this respect we have an example of national military geniuses. They fought not by number, but by skill, reason, relying on the conscience of the soldiers. Their creative thought did not develop in the form of scholastic theory, but as a practical "science to win", molding into a military art adapted to Russian conditions.

Pre-revolutionary Russian military thought as a whole retained this scientific and practical orientation, was focused on finding solutions to the pressing problems of Russia's military defense. After 1917, this line was continued in the Red Army by military experts, and in the Russian diaspora by military exiles.

All this rich (in many respects topical) heritage, this example of mental work for Russia, should be guided in the revival of creative military thought directly in the army, and not just outside it, as is happening today.

The Russian General Staff strove to be the "brain of the army", the organ of the "revolution in military affairs." The current General Staff is trying to preserve and maintain this tradition. But in the interests of studying the spiritual heritage of the Russian army, collecting and generalizing the sea of ​​modern military-political information, it is advisable to create a special "creative laboratory" ("brain corporation"). She would work, for example, on the implementation of the following projects: "Russian military classics" (still in oblivion), "Spiritual heritage of the Russian army" (not studied in a holistic manner), "Strategy of Russia's national security in the past, present and future" (we have a very weak idea), "The modern revolution in military affairs" (the topic is over-current), "Wars of the future" (knowledge is needed), "Caucasian wars of the Russian army" (the activity of an entire military-historical commission is required), "White paper on the national defense of Russia "(It is high time to prepare and publish it for self-knowledge and enlightenment of the public)," Military Russophony "(we do not know our military culture, we do not propagate it in the troops, our society, in the world).

In our era, a military man can no longer remain a "semi-intelligent campaigner." He is obliged not only to “know how to wage war,” but to have deep knowledge and understanding of the world around him, his country, the army, the task entrusted to him. I must engage in self-improvement, including the "incessant science from reading", which Suvorov demanded from his officers. Raise your military specialty to skill and art.


In all spheres of military life, the central place is assigned to the one-man commander. Spiritual is no exception. But its modern content is extremely complicated.

Yes, our command staff has long been in need of more solid humanitarian training. Taking into account our specifics, we also need qualified deputy commanders (starting with the company) who would deal with the issues identified day and night. As well as the corresponding services and apparatus.

The consciousness, psyche of modern conscripts, contract soldiers, professional sergeants, young officers, the psychology of military collectives, their state of mind and mentality, like all of the above, is the field of their activity.

They should also engage in military-historical education, political, ideological (military-ideological) training (without these, the army degenerates into a "security structure"), increasing legal literacy, information, moral and psychological support, personnel (selection and education of personnel), social and cultural and leisure work.

All this "functionality" is required to be implemented by deputy commanders for work with personnel (as you can call it) - general managers, professionals of "spiritual affairs".

They must be seriously trained in a purely military sense. Have all the necessary skills and abilities to support or replace a commander in battle. Note that in the company, battalion level, many political officers in Afghanistan, deputy commanders for educational work in the North Caucasus, often competently, even heroically, led the actions of subunits. And of course, they must be equipped with scientific and practical (we emphasize this) philosophical, historical, political, psychological, legal, social and other knowledge and skills necessary for their extensive activity. Including foreign languages, which is not yet typical for most officers.

Any experienced commander will confirm the need for such a deputy. Instead of the current reduction of "officers-educators" (there are still very few of them), the structures responsible for morale should be strengthened in every possible way, a new system of training the troops should be built, the work on the spiritual revival of the army, the development of its moral and mental principles should be intensified. To do this taking into account the indications of national history, foreign experience, and modern requirements.

There is also an educational institution capable of training a qualified specialist of this broad profile. We are talking about the Military University, which has an appropriate educational and scientific potential and material base.

It is gratifying that the question of the military clergy has finally been positively resolved (in this case, one should not rely on the omnipotence of the priests, they will not solve all the problems identified). This is an age-old tradition of the life of the Russian army. But it will take time until it can take root practically again.

It is important to think deeply and widely expand work on the spiritual revival of the army, the development of its moral and mental strength. “The soul of the army,” wrote Major General Vladimir Domanevsky in the emigration of the General Staff, “can develop as well as its technical value. But for this, the “spirit” must be cultivated both in peacetime and in wartime."

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