Why the program of recruiting parts and formations by contract soldiers stalled
Back in the mid-90s, Russia, following the example of the advanced countries of the West, decided to acquire a professional army. The idea itself is good. This became especially clear during the first campaign in Chechnya, when boys who had just been dressed in military uniforms, untrained and not fired, were sometimes sent to fight hardened mercenaries and militants.
However, the federal target program (FTP) "Transition to the recruitment of a number of formations and military units by military personnel performing military service under contract" was approved by a decree of the government of the Russian Federation only on August 25, 2003. What did it include? Among the main measures are improving the conditions for quartering professional military personnel, increasing the level of combat training and material and technical support of formations and units, increasing the salaries of people who have decided to devote at least several years of their lives to the army, and a number of other social benefits.
It was planned to systematically replace conscripts with contract soldiers and eventually increase their number to 300 thousand. And with growing dynamics in the future. It was envisaged in the course of 2004-2007 to transfer to a contract dozens of formations and units of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, the Federal Border Service, and the Internal Troops.
But the program did not pass the test of the "social sphere". At the training grounds and in classrooms, even with a shortage of modern simulators and other teaching aids, it was somehow still possible to train professionals. However, apparently, our military leaders have forgotten that these are no longer boy soldiers, but adult men who wanted to start a family, get an apartment, and a decent salary.
And can you really call the 7-8 thousand rubles allowance, which was then given to the first contractors, worthy? Naturally, except for poorly educated people from low-income strata of the population, declassed elements, almost no one was flattered by these "carrots". As a result, the army gradually filled with people who just did not see their future in it - temporary workers.
Of course, the Ministry of Defense took certain measures. The old barracks were reconstructed (converted), turned into military hostels of a simplified type, new buildings were being built in military camps, their social and engineering infrastructure was developed, differentiated allowances were paid for special conditions of combat training and housing rent. But contract military service never became more attractive. The hostel is the same barracks. Monetary allowance is scanty. The working day is not regulated. As for sanatorium-resort treatment, compensation for it, receiving free higher education, it was extremely difficult to take full advantage of these benefits.
In a word, the idea of a professional army turned out to be good, but, to put it mildly, not fully thought out. The Armed Forces were in a fever from the massive early termination of contracts by soldiers and sergeants, which, by the way, was especially typical for hot spots. According to the Sociological Center of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, up to 13% of servicemen decided to take this step (early termination of the first contracts). Only one in five renewed their contract for a second term. Another 20% believed that they were disappointed by the military service, 15% were concerned about the inflated demands of their commanders, 29% did not want to stay in the army because of the poor organization of recreation and leisure (lack of clubs, gyms, etc.).
But the majority explained the forthcoming return to "civilian life" by the unresolved housing problem. And here we are not even talking about separate apartments, which the officers are provided with with difficulty. Not all military units still have at least dormitories for small families. Many contract soldiers live in converted barracks, their working hours are irregular. How, then, do they differ from "conscripts"? Nothing. Moreover, from the latter, often after six months of service, other commanders of contract soldiers did, simply exerting pressure. The main thing is the plan.
But it is the contract servicemen who should form the basis of units and formations of constant readiness today. But it turns out that in the next two or three years, the troops may lose the professionals who signed the contract, for example, in 2006-2007 or earlier. And what will then be the new look of the Armed Forces? This is a very difficult question to which there is no answer yet.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Ground Forces, Alexander Postnikov, assessed the situation in the following way: “Unfortunately, it must be admitted that the Federal program for the transfer of permanent readiness units to manning under a contract has not fully achieved its intended goals. We failed to make contract service so prestigious that the selection of the most worthy candidates was carried out, those who are consciously ready to link their life and the life of their family with military service. Alas, there were quite a few mistakes in this regard, quite often it was necessary to carry out additional equipment of these parts to the required level at the expense of quality."
And the head of the department of the Main Military Prosecutor's Office, Major-General of Justice, Alexander Nikitin, explained this conflict to the military-industrial complex: “Society placed too high hopes on something that had no real basis. Thank God, we have gained some experience, a vision of who a contract soldier is and what he should do. That is, it was just a restructuring on the fly …"
However, there are law enforcement agencies, for example, the Border Service of the FSB of Russia, which have done well and are not going to return to the call. At one of the recent meetings of the Minister of Defense with representatives of the media, the "VPK" correspondent asked: why did the federal target program stalled in the army, while the border guards did not?
- Do you know how much an ordinary contractor gets there? - a counter question was asked. - Three times more than ours.
This is indeed the case. The monetary allowance of contractors in the Border Service is much higher. There are no problems with the set. There is even a competition: for one place - up to 30 people! But the soldier does not care what color his shoulder straps are - green, red or blue. After all, everyone takes the same oath, they serve the same Motherland. Why does the Motherland assess their military work so differently? It is impossible to explain this by simple logic.
“In fact, I think this is a systemic problem,” Anatoly Serdyukov developed his thought further. - Everyone, when the FTP was being developed, apparently really liked how it all works abroad. But it seems to me that they just did not think it through to the end. A contract soldier in the West has almost the same status as an officer. The service is regulated: from 9.00 to 18.00, after which he is a free person. We have everything turned upside down. Why is an officer in one status and a contract soldier in another? There is also a huge gap in monetary allowance: 7-8 thousand rubles is not that kind of money.
The Minister of Defense cited the Finns as an example. If a soldier serves them normally, then on Saturday and Sunday he can go home on leave.
Meanwhile, the development of means, forms and methods of armed struggle puts forward new requirements for the professional training of servicemen. The introduction of advanced information technologies in the main links of combat control, the need to significantly increase the combat potential of both military units and each serviceman in conditions of resource constraints raise the question of the professionalization of military service. Therefore, there is no way to get away from the contract army. This is the demand of the times.
And this is well understood in the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff. That is why they do not cancel at all, but only postpone the terms of transferring units and formations to be manned by contract soldiers. Since 2012, their salaries will increase. By July 1, 2010, the General Staff of the RF Armed Forces should develop a new Concept for the transfer of the Armed Forces to a contract basis. It will also be coordinated with the Border Service of the FSB of Russia, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and other departments.
What will it give? All complex specialties will become contractual. As the Minister of Defense said, “today we need to rethink everything. And we are currently preparing such a program. By reducing the number of contract servicemen, we want to raise their salaries to at least 80 percent of the lieutenant's. That is, contractors will fall under the new system of material incentives, which will be introduced on January 1, 2012. In the meantime, the level of their salaries is uncompetitive. For example, in Eastern Europe, it averages $ 700 per month. Therefore, in order for the service to be attractive, it is necessary, we repeat, to increase the salaries of contractors by about three times. This is what Anatoly Serdyukov is now proposing.
You just need to understand: even with such radical measures, the army, alas, will not immediately become a contract army. Real professionals are nurtured and raised for years. This means that in the shortest possible time it will also be necessary to solve the housing problems of all categories of servicemen, to guarantee them employment or retraining after being transferred to the reserve, and retirement benefits.
The main thing is that contractors must believe in the importance and necessity of military labor, in its social significance and state demand. Only this will create conditions for the formation of professional Armed Forces in Russia, whose personnel will be ready to serve not only because of the big money, but also because they are well aware that one of the most honorable deeds in the world is to be the defender of the Motherland.